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GWT showing many more links. How to use the information?
lucy24




msg:4372354
 5:12 am on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

Stop me if you've heard this one.

Is there any way to extract useful information from the "Links to your site" in gwt?

For a while I simply ignored the page because so much of it was garbage. Something sent me there today, and they're suddenly listing about six times as many links. (I pulled this number out of a hat. I can't remember what the previous range was.) Some of those are the identical page listed several different ways thanks to assorted parameters, so the numbers themselves are spurious. And some of them are the same old garbage: search results, hotlinks and so on.

Going by random spot-checking, maybe 1/3 to 1/4 of the list is real. And there is absolutely no way to tell which ones they are.* Meaning, no way to figure out how to get more of 'em.

So what are you supposed to do? Pause for a moment to say Well, that's nice, g### claims that so-and-so many sites link to me and then go back to trying to make your newest subdirectory index page look less horrible?


* I especially liked the one I had assumed was bogus but turned out to be a social-media type site. It categorized a particular page as "Inuktitut" "Morphology" and ... "Humour". With quoted paragraph to prove it ;)

 

aristotle




msg:4372390
 2:14 pm on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

I wish Google would filter out all the worthless spam links from these lists.

As for what you might learn from the real links -- You might be able to determine what types of sites tend to link to you. That is, are they mainly blogs, social media sites, independent websites, or something else? I suppose it's best to have a good mixture of different types.

nadavs




msg:4372285
 6:01 pm on Oct 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

The WMT link count just changed for me, and now it shows over 52K links (had 27K before) from 1,000 domains (previously 486).

I'm glad Google finally caught up with more links I had to the previous domain, but they missed all the .edu and .gov links I've been building recently.

Worse than that, they included some links that don't exist (like links from old WP blogs I had, and their account was closed).

Maybe it's time to remove the penalty? Only Google knows.

nadavs

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:03 pm (utc) on Oct 9, 2011]

vphoner




msg:4372414
 5:39 pm on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Something weird just happened in webmaster tools, under the backlink area today. I had noticed that backlink URLs had been gradually dropping over the last couple of months. It was down to about 50 domains with backlinks (down from about 150). Yesterday it jumped to over 700 domains (many with a lot of backlinks for each site). I noticed this happened in more than one domain (the increase in back linked domains). The increase occurred suddenly, no build up. Anyone else notice this?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 6:13 pm (utc) on Oct 9, 2011]

g1smd




msg:4372436
 8:04 pm on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

There's a massive change in the Google WMT "internal links" reports today.

The numbers of links pointing at each URL have grown massively and include internal site URLs which redirect to each page, not just those that link directly to it.

I'm not sure I like that, or at least it would be better if the redirects were in a separate list or were annotated in some way.

However, when clicking through and then looking at the "single URL" report listing the URLs pointing to a single page, some of the links are in blue and some are in black. I'm not sure what that means. It is possible that the URLs in black are those that redirect, but I'm not entirely convinced that is absolutely correct.

This comes a few months after Google has been heavily restricted in what they can crawl on the site and a large number of deleted URLs redirected to the correct new page.

The Google WMT "external links" report is also massively inflated, listing many more domains than it has before.

Robert Charlton




msg:4372448
 9:44 pm on Oct 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

There's a massive change in the Google WMT "internal links" reports today.

For the record, I've just changed the word "backlinks" in the thread title simply to "links".

This thread pulls together observations from three different sets of posts, and I've modified the title several times to accommodate what appeared to be the most specific description.

To further clarify... are people seeing the increase in reported backlinks, internal links, or both?

lucy24




msg:4372495
 3:53 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

However, when clicking through and then looking at the "single URL" report listing the URLs pointing to a single page, some of the links are in blue and some are in black. I'm not sure what that means. It is possible that the URLs in black are those that redirect, but I'm not entirely convinced that is absolutely correct.

With me it's mostly black and some purple, but if I hover over them each one goes to the same link-default blue. The purple is the "visited links" shade, but can't have that meaning here.

Random spot-checking reveals two specific pages that are purple wherever they show up, but I'm ### if I can figure out any connection. One has existed unchanged for, I dunno, months at least, with-- at a rough estimate-- zero visitors in that time. The other is a strong page that moved recently (new directory so it can hang out with its similarly muscular friends) and is therefore listed twice.* Both in purple.

The number of internal links has also ballooned. But I couldn't conclude anything about it since I've recently regularized my navigation and maybe it coincided with g### doing a proper count. They seem to do this very slowly. I got the distinct impression they didn't even start counting until I signed up with gwt. Same goes for keywords. That seems kinda sinister. Where's the nearest physicist? There's some rule about the act of observing changing the thing being observed.


* Yes, I spent time agonizing over whether the physical move or the redirect should come first, since either one would lead to a 404 if the googlebot stopped by at the wrong millisecond ;)

WillG




msg:4372500
 4:35 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have the same thing. Most of these new links are just junk sites.

Hissingsid




msg:4372648
 9:46 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing more crawl errors caused by sites, such as Ask, that truncate the url to a page on your site not in the <a> link but in text that does not have a link. Google seems to be increasingly crawling text that looks like a URL.

I'm busily writing rewrite rules in my .htaccess files as some of these backlinks might be useful.

g1smd




msg:4372652
 10:07 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing more crawl errors caused by sites, such as Ask, that truncate the URL
Yes, I am seeing lots of errors for stuff like www.example.com/The and www.example.com/If as well as www.example.com/a-post-abou... and www.example.com/how-to-calcu... etc.

I am annoyed that such URLs are being requested from the site in the first place, but I am glad to see them listed as "404 Not Found".

For some CMS and blog platforms, these broken URLs will return a blank page with "200 OK" status. Those sites will therefore look "technically broken". Since the URLs return "200 OK", they will not turn up in a report such as this (nor will they turn up when you spider your own site using Xenu Linksleuth or similar).

I can only hope that this is a scenario that triggers the Your site has an unusually high number of URLs message in Google webmastertools. If it does not, then sites may be being held back for their technical failures but without much of a clue that there is a failure in the design and implementation.

I think a number of people reporting substantial drops for their sites (in other recent threads) need to go check their sites to see if they suffer from this technical flaw, and then fix it so that non-existing URLs really do return "404 Not Found".

P.S. I am also seeing requests for
www.example.com/$2 and similar. I initially thought there was something incredibly broken in my .htaccess mod_rewrite RewriteRule code, but now see it is getting this from parsing Javascript code and extracting it from a path="/$2"; statement.

Google is getting WAY too nosey trying to extract every last potential URL from a site. I've built a new set of routines that send "410 Gone" to Google for everything they should not be indexing.

I am also working on dropping the links to /admin and other private and internal URLs when searchengines request public pages.

aristotle




msg:4372660
 10:52 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

These truncated URLs seem to have become much more common over the last few months. Even some relatively short URLs are being truncated now!

Hissingsid




msg:4372672
 11:31 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm sorry to have hijacked this thread that was not my intention when I posted above.

Is it not best to do a 301 permanent rewrite so that you benefit from them? Particularly if you point the rewrite to the actual page that the referring site is trying to take its users to on your site.

Cheers

Sid

aristotle




msg:4372677
 11:47 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is it not best to do a 301 permanent rewrite so that you benefit from them? Particularly if you point the rewrite to the actual page that the referring site is trying to take its users to on your site.


If this trend continues, you could end up trying to do hundreds, or even thousands, of individual re-directs. Might not be worth the time and trouble. Instead, I just have an error page with a link to the home page.

g1smd




msg:4372678
 11:47 am on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

When a real link on another site was blatently meant to point to a page of your site but the URL is truncated or malformed, go ahead and redirect it to the right page.

Where Google has "invented" a duff URL supposedly pointing to your site from a reference in a "non-link", i.e found in a non-clickable reference on another site, I would be very wary of redirecting. You're never going to get a real visitor requesting the malformed URL because there isn't really a link pointing at the malformed URL, it's just some text on a page that Google has mis-interpreted as being a real and full URL.

Indeed, creating just such a redirect might even be a signal of "over SEO-ing" a site.

However, this is one reason why I much prefer to have the item ID as the first item in a hyphenated URL. For
www.example.com/14238229-acme-green-widget-model-e422-large, as long as the requested URL contains at least www.example.com/14238229 the site will redirect to the correct URL. This occurs whether some or all of the slug text is missing or malformed, or there is extra junk appended on the end. If there are digits missing, the user will be redirected to the page for a different product; but at least there will be no duplicate content issues.
AnkitMaheshwari




msg:4373107
 6:54 am on Oct 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

Positive change in total links count seen today for our site which was not their till yesterday

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