| 3:25 am on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I've worked with many clients, large and small. Some with a big ad spend, some with a small one and soome with no ad spend at all. I never saw any correlation between ad spend and ranking. In fact, I'm sure that if there was any such thing one of the larger agencies would notice it and THAT would kill Google. As soon as the lemmings stopped trying to cash in by buying ads, the agencies would shut down the flow of big advertisers and start talking to lawyers.
| 3:49 am on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I have to agree - I have great rankings with zero ad spend. I got the ranking from being well optimized and having an adequate number of backlinks.
This is a glitch in my opinion and not related to the toolbar PR update as we all know isn't a true reflection of "real" PR but in fact a canned number that was generated who knows when?
| 4:14 am on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I wonder if you can still use this glitch (and I'm sure it is a glitch) to still get some insight on the way Google treats links. Why have some links disappeared and not others? I said before in this thread that the ones left are all bad links.
Well, I went over a few sites of mine in WMT and looked at the top 10 remaining links. There's always something that's off about them. I cannot say in 100% cases that I know exactly what the problem is, but as you start looking closely, they turn out to be either nofollow or not even existing anymore. Another thing that summarizes them all is that they are always out of context - what I mean by that, most of them are scrapers using Google's of Bing's search results to "pad" their own doorway pages, and most of the time they did not quite built the query right and my pages linked are always about something other than the page on which the links are located. Another commonly found type of links is a sitewide blogroll from blogs that I don't really know about, and they look sketchy. One other type of links that are still there - links from pages other than English (my site is in English).
Anyway, perhaps it would be interesting to save the list of links that you can see on Feb. 06, 2013 and then, when the "normal" list of links returns, compare the two. I hope the diff would be a very interesting insight into what G considers "good" links. I'm saving the data now for future analysis - this may not last too long, get it while you can :)
| 5:53 am on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Scroll way, way down to the bottom of your links list. (This is assuming the list doesn't cut out after some number of items, so you can always get to the end. I wouldn't know ;) ) Do you find one from google dot com? The one from your profile that you created purely for proof of authorship? For most people this will link to your front page, since you're claiming credit for the whole site.
This would seem to be the ultimate no-brainer-- right up there with the piwik "links" which even google finally figured out aren't links-- but there it is, taking up real estate.
| 9:35 am on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|This would seem to be the ultimate no-brainer-- right up there with the piwik "links" which even google finally figured out aren't links-- but there it is, taking up real estate. |
Yup, I noticed too. I scanned and thought crap, crap, crap, google.... crap. If google show stronger links at the top which I assume they do, Pinterest were at the top of my list and google were last. I think I am in trouble !
| 10:21 pm on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Just noticed that one of my sites has had another huge drop. Yesterday only the home page was missing from the backlinks reports, but now all pages except one are missing, and that's probably the least important page on the site (out of a total of 42 pages). Both internal and external backlinks are affected, with only that one page still showing in the reports.
| 10:44 pm on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I originally had 2,616 links. It then dropped to 299. Today it is showing as 14 links!
| 10:57 pm on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Google Webmaster forum posted:
"Some Webmaster Tools users have reported missing data in the "Links to your site" section. We are aware of this issue and are looking into it; you do not need to take any action. We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data shown there is informational and does not affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking. "
| 11:26 pm on Feb 7, 2013 (gmt 0)|
| 8:09 am on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I read it has notining to do with rankings, but I keep loosing links even to inner pages, hardly none left, and yesterday was the day with less visitors of the month.
| 10:49 am on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
That scream you just heard was me strolling over to check for changes.
EVERYTHING is gone.
All right, not literally everything. Yet. But when the list contains a total of eight items, who's going to quibble about wording.
And yes, the survivors are all garbage links. They didn't even keep the one whose link text is "my mom's site" ;)
Is it possible they're tearing everything down and rebuilding from scratch? But if so, shouldn't the garbage have been the first to go?
Meanwhile, Bing's list doesn't seem to have changed. It was always much shorter, but there's a lower proportion of garbage.
[edited by: lucy24 at 10:53 am (utc) on Feb 8, 2013]
| 10:52 am on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|But if so, shouldn't the garbage have been the first to go? |
More garbage = more adwords clicks. Simple as that.
| 1:10 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I wonder if this disruption might be caused by another Google program (such as Penguin) temporarily using the same backlink database that WebmasterTools gets its information from. Is it possible that a Penguin "re-calculation" is currently in progress, and that when it is finished, a new update will be rolled out? Just speculating.
| 3:06 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|All links to my homepage are now missing from the report. |
There is a thread on the Google Forums discussing exactly this point. Google's JohnMu replied:
This looks like an issue with how the data is displayed in Webmaster Tools, it shouldn't affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking. I don't have any specifics at the moment, but the team is looking into the details to see what we can do here. Thanks for your patience & sorry for the confusion!
All links to my homepage are missing and the ranking for the homepage is affected.
| 4:42 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Yep... mine has gone 61,000>>1,900>>300
Maybe they are wiping the slates clean and backlinks will no longer count for anything. Wouldn't that be interesting?
| 5:03 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Um interesting - lost quite a few, but quite helpful as I see "nofollow" links from wikipedia to our site on our list !
| 7:00 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I have never seen any correlation at Google (or Microsoft/Bing) what so ever between buying ads and organic rankings. When we were spending $5 Million per month on PPC there were no increases in rankings. When we went dark for 6 months on PPC (from several million $$$ per month down to zero) due to the economy, we saw zero adverse effects to organic rankings. If spending millions per month on AdWord doesn't get you preferential organic rankings, I don't know how spending "only a small amount" each month would help you organically.
Yahoo! was a totally different story back in the day... Their old SSP (Search Submit Program) program where you could essentially specify a few site links that you wanted added to your organic listings and you paid per click when people clicked on those organic site links DID affect organic rankings. We used SSP for years and were ranking #1 on Yahoo! for very competitive terms (e.g. mortgage, refinance, home loans, etc.) the entire time. In Spring of '09 we let the SSP contract expire. The DAY it expired organic rankings for those phrases dropped to the 2nd page on Yahoo! 3 months later we renewed the contract. The DAY the contract was effective, we jumped right back to #1 for those keyword phrases. Of course, Bing chose not to implement SSP when they completely took over powering Yahoo! search, so SSP was retired.
[edited by: ZydoSEO at 7:01 pm (utc) on Feb 8, 2013]
| 7:00 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Is anyone seeing that a lot of the links they have left just link to their site ONE time? I had some sites with thousands of backlinks. Now I just have sites listed that link to me 1 time.
| 8:18 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Boy, I picked a great time to use their disavow tool. The same day it updated was the day I lost 90% of my links, lol.
No change in traffic, hopefully Google isn't planning more rank changing shenanigans.
| 8:22 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I think the best thing to do with this current 'problem' is to ignore it and come back in a week or two's time.. Google employee have publicly said there is a problem with the reporting.... who knows what the 'real' reason is...
| 9:24 pm on Feb 8, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|Is anyone seeing that a lot of the links they have left just link to their site ONE time? |
In my case I can pretty well count on my fingers the places that link to me more than twice ;) but yup, everything >2 is gone. Along with almost everything <= 2. (Still at eight. EIGHT.)
A particularly interesting detail:
My art studio's site-- which hardly had any links in the first place-- now shows nothing except the two links from my main site. But the one link in the other direction, from the studio back to me, is gone. (They're legitimate links: I hesitated about putting them in since both sites are mine, but in context it would have been more unnatural not to include them.)
My impression was always that "links to your site", like "content keywords", is purely a WMT function. If you don't use wmt, the lists don't exist. So the departure of all those listed links doesn't by itself tell you anything.
The above paragraph prompted me to take a quick look at the Keywords list* to see if anything weird was happening there. Doesn't seem to be any change.
* I stopped checking this list after I put the Paston letters online, because the texts are so much fatter than everything else that they've simply muscled out the rest of the site. Google clearly is not set up for Late Middle English.
John Paston the elder had two sons, both named John. I don't mean he recycled the name after the first one died. I mean concurrently: both lived to adulthood. It is therefore no surprise that the first two entries on my keyword list are "John" and "Paston" with three spellings apiece.
| 10:56 pm on Feb 9, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I now have 167 links down from 13K. My blog, which has 1/3 the visitors of my ecommerce site, had 29K links the day before yesterday. Today it has 263. No evil eye, visits seem to be holding.
ZydoSEO, all I can say is that for keywords I have bought ads for, whenever I quit buying ads for them, they dropped a couple slots. When I went back to buying ads, they went up again. This is with tiny spends. I have a friend who runs a site very similar to mine and who has had the same experience. It's a lot of coincidences if it is coincidence. This is over a period of about three years.
| 12:38 am on Feb 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I run a Wordpress site and there is something I observed which may (or may not) be related to links disappearing from WMT
For the last 2 days, on the Wordpress dashboard where it shows links coming from other blogs, it couldn't find a single link to display. Wordpress uses Google blog search to show these links.
Today these links are back showing. Interestingly it is only showing me links from 1 site in the 10 or so links Wordpress shows in the dashboard.
Not sure if other Wordpress site owners saw something similar. Can anyone confirm?
Looks to me that the WMT "bug" may be much more than a simple display bug. I have seen similar WMT link under reporting and also Google blog search failing to find links in the past. However I did not track these then and cannot say they are correlated or if they coincided with any of the major Google updates.
Like someone remarked earlier, they might be rebuilding their link graphs in preparation for a major update (Penguin?). Maybe WMT reports and a few other 'less essential' services are run off a redundant database which they are now working with and will do a switch over when the update rolls out. It is a speculation sure, but it is hard to believe the WMT issue is not fixed for days after Google admitted knowing about the issue.
| 10:31 am on Feb 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Look at the other list.
On the left is "Who links the most". That's where I normally look. On the right is "Your most linked content". That side's the jaw-dropper, because the survivors aren't the garbage links, they're the garbage pages. If I do say so myself. The backwaters of the site where nobody ever goes.
| 3:02 pm on Feb 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
|The backwaters of the site where nobody ever goes |
I noticed that too, Lucy. As I mentioned earlier, on one of my sites there's only one page left in that list, and it's probably the least important page on the site. Evidently the effects of this disruption are NOT random.
| 7:53 pm on Feb 10, 2013 (gmt 0)|
@lucy24: interestingly, the "Top Pages" in "Search Queries" still has all the proper top traffic pages, and I know for a fact that they also happen to be most linked to. There's no 100% straightforward correlation here but most of the time you would see the 10 top traffic pages in at least 20 or so top linked ones. Not so recently. As you pointed out, the linked pages left are the ones linked so rarely that I would normally not even pay attention, usually subject matters that fail to get any traction. Backwater indeed!
| 9:53 am on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Just to link Google's official response:
|We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data shown [in webmaster tools] is informational and does not affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking. |
| 2:18 pm on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
JohnMu reported in Google groups (see link on first page) of this topic)
"This looks like an issue with how the data is displayed in Webmaster Tools, it shouldn't affect your site's crawling, indexing or ranking."
So if it is not just a display issue it could possibly affect rankings.
BTW Any new news on this?
| 5:08 pm on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
I checked the Google forum late last night and they were still saying they are working on it.
| 5:23 pm on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Google has almost made WMT's useless. I'm just waiting for the day we login to WMT's and get the Adwords screen.
| 7:27 pm on Feb 11, 2013 (gmt 0)|
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