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Official word here [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com].
We've extended our support for querying links to your site to much beyond the link: operator you might have used in the past. Now you can use webmaster tools to view a much larger sample of links to pages on your site that we found on the web. Unlike the link: operator, this data is much more comprehensive and can be classified, filtered, and downloaded. All you need to do is verify site ownership to see this information.
To make this data even more useful, we have divided the world of links into two types: external and internal. Let's understand what kind of links fall into which bucket.
[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 1:21 am (utc) on Feb. 8, 2007]
[edit reason] added quote [/edit]
I was checking the external links to one of the internal pages on one of my sites and strangely enough google shows external links to that internal page coming from one of the other sites that I take care of.
I checked the coding on the pages from the other site and there is not a single reference to the particular internal page in question so I do not see where google is seeing the link.
Paranoia hat -- Google could start penalizing your site if you use Yahoo search too much! Or if you're looking up or visiting spammy link farm sites or affiliate programs they don't like.
Benefit hat -- this is a required step to starting true, use-based rankings of results. Identifying personal biases will help Google provide better results once they switch to a Netflix-style ranking algorithm.
Hey Google, 1 tiny request that would make a HUGE difference in Webmaster Tools (not to mention the AdSense admin), serve everything from a secure server so we don't get the "This page contains both secure and nonsecure items" popup "error" message.
[edited by: LifeinAsia at 6:04 pm (utc) on Feb. 6, 2007]
Why is it bad to be able to check anyone's back links?
I'm just guessing but I assume that, if you could query Google for a million tons of data about all the sites in the world, somebody would. Multiple somebodies would. Everybody would.
A Google API Key allows you to check your rankings through different interfaces (which IMO is not something they should ever take away from us!) but if you could use your API key to check out all the link relationships for your competitors, that'll run you up over the limit for your daily queries really fast.
Generally speaking, I think they'd rather you not exploit their resources like that. Vanessa?
As explained on the Google's webmaster central blog:
"Google knows about more links than the total we show, but the overall fraction of links we show is much, much larger than the link: command currently offers."
And, of course, Google isn't given any indication which links are considered important (given any weight) within Google's ranking algorithms.
Google... if you're reading this please make a way that we can report these spammy/undesireable pages from this external links list without us having to search for their types of results in google.com and then making the reports.
We are seeing links with dates after Nov06 , yet our sites had links recorded some 3-4 years previously, so I'm wondering what the significance of "last found" is. It seems like a term comparible with "last crawled" when Google last recognised that particular link.
Can anybody verify this?