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WMT backlinks dropped from thousands to only 10 - since April

 12:50 pm on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm just wondering if anybody else is having this same problem with Google Webmaster tools in regards to backlinks...

I am one of those poor innocent webmasters who has had a website for the past 10 years with all original/unique content and has had excellent position on hundreds of key phrases for years until April 2011 hit. The evil Panda changed everything. I have so many "issues" with this Panda update. For now I will only focus on one:

Google Webmaster Tool Backlinks. I have watched my backlinks in GWT come and go since they first implemented the feature of showing backlinks. However since April hit my backlinks (at least what GWT is showing) have virtually dwindled down to about 10 when I had and still do according to other backlinking tools have 1,000's of backlinks. Normally when there would be a big drop like this, eventually all the backlinks would show up again after a few weeks. But they have left for good it seems.

Here is the huge problem I have and what is making no sense and is very frustrating. Out of the 1,000ís of backlinks I have I would say at least 200 of those are very good quality backlinks. Solid! Exactly what google Panda wants to see in a backlink. However, the wimpy 10 backlinks that GWT is showing are the worst backlinks in the bunch! Really, they are picking up backlinks from the worst possible sites. It makes no sense at all.

One thing I have also noticed since redesigning and cleaning up my site since Panda hit is scraper sites are killing me. I had no idea how many sites out there were copying my content and placing it on their blogs/websites. I have spent the past 5 months trying to clean up this mess. However, all that said. I still have 100ís of solid backlinks GWT is refusing to see.

Does anyone have any insight on this?

I'm trying my best to ignore any backlink information shown in GWT tools and just go with the fact that Google is seeing the backlinks that I have even though GWT refuses to show them. I'm thinking GWT is no just horrible at showing backlinks since the Panda update.

Thanks for any help with this.



 1:33 pm on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think this is a very unusual report. Many of our members are seeing a huge flood of backlinks in WMT (see GWT showing many more links. How to use the information? [webmasterworld.com]).

My first reaction to WMT data anomalies is not to worry about it. WMT is an imported reporting function, but it doesn't offer a direct look at Google's back end data. The data import is often full off bugs. But to watch thousands of your backlinks vanish and niot reappear for 5 months does sound like something else is going on beyond buggy data.

I have I would say at least 200 of those are very good quality backlinks. Solid! Exactly what google Panda wants to see in a backlink.

There's no evidence that I know that Panda looks at backlinks. There's already a solid segment of the Google algorithm (query-independent factors) that deals with that area, and I'm not convinced that backlinks would even be needed in the Panda algo. I haven't ruled it out - Panda is a very complex beast, after all.

One thing I have also noticed since redesigning and cleaning up my site since Panda hit is scraper sites are killing me.

Many others who lost ground saw the same thing in the past, but with this recent iteration of Panda the problem seemed a lot less.

All this considered, I'm wondering if your problems are a true example of Panda's April 11 iteration (the international roll-out). Does the date your problems began line up very tightly with April 17?


 2:10 pm on Oct 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I guessed I should have rephrased (backlinks that I "think" panda is looking for). No certainty anywhere with this. Panda is a complex beast for sure! I am thinking that backlinks still play an important role in position/ranking etc... But that is just my best guess for now. Since April I have put in about 300 hours of site redesign, removing thin content, removing ads, fixing any grammatical errors. you name it, I've corrected it. All, mostly in vein so far. Just a "slight" recovery. A very small step back up the ladder to where I was before the Panda. The only remaining item I see that is still lacking in regards to what "I think" the Panda wants is a very poor representation of my actual backlinks. But just don't know if this is a factor or not. I just want to slap the Panda but instead he keeps slapping me.


 3:19 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Out of the 1,000ís of backlinks I have I would say at least 200 of those are very good quality backlinks. Solid!
My impression of Google's reporting of backlinks in WMT is that they are very careful not to show solid high-quality backlinks that they themselves use in ranking of the site.

I can usually see every spam/trash backlink there is to my sites (many so bad that would make your hair stand up) yet almost none of the good ones acquired through a mention in a trade magazine or another high quality editorial link.

I think when it comes to links, Google is so dependent on them that they actively engage in security by obscurity.


 3:27 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

yes, I so totally agree with what you are saying here. ..."many so bad that would make your hair stand up".. ha! yeah, totally! Can freak you out if you let it. I am learning to ignore "all" backlink information from WMT and just hope that google is actually seeing my quality backlinks and just hiding the fact that they are. Craziness!


 4:36 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Someone knows what is the time that WMT takes to see the imported information from the backend?

In other words, how many days or weeks takes to google show update of backlink information?


 8:12 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

It seems to vary, but a week or three is a good finger in the air estimate for some of the sites I look at. For the others, I don't actually know as the links rarely change.


 10:15 pm on Oct 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I saw a drastic drop and it was followed by a Panda slap during the next iteration. 7 year old established site with zero google would consider against it's guidelines(and a whole lot of highly praised, thorough, original guides). A reconsideration request was met with the standard there is no manual penalty on this website response.

Hopefully that's not what's about to happen to you. I actually feel somewhat relieved it happened to me, though I was frustrated at first, because it opened my eyes to the fact I wasted far too much time trying to ensure I was Google compliant. My earnings are back to normal with far less Google traffic thanks to improved time management, social networking and Google product removal (my already fast site is nearly 3x faster without adsense, analytics and the Google search box!).


 4:35 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

I lost even more backlinks now in WMT since the latest Panda 2.5.2 update. oh I mean "tweak". ugh! Now, instead of showing the 1,000's of quality backlinks I have it shows a grand total of 7 backlinks of which are the absolute worst of the worst out of all my backlinks. The Panda makes me want to scream continuously!

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