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Penguin 2.1 and "No Data Available" in WMT for Links

     
6:05 am on Oct 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

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One of the sites lost all ranks during Penguin 2.1. From what we know about Penguin 2.1 so far, there isn't anything in the site that doesn't conform to 2.1. However one development strikes me as a bit odd -

In WMT, under "Who Links The Most" and "Your most linked content" it says "No data available", which until the update was showing about 1100 links. Now, is Penguin 2.1 related to this bug, or is this bug responsible for drop in ranks and not Penguin 2.1?

Has this happened to anyone's Penguin 2.1 affected site?
3:42 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Not experienced anything like this before. Do you have both the www. and non-www verified in WMT?
4:32 pm on Oct 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Shai, in fact no! I just did. But, could it have anything to do with not verifying www and non-www? There are many sites that aren't verified for non-www and they show external links just fine.
11:22 am on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Could well be one of the few recent Google bugs that some people have noticed. It could be that Google temporarily got confused between the two sites. I would assume it would clear up in the next day or so if not already?
9:28 pm on Oct 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

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it says "No data available"

I noticed the same thing last night while looking up something unrelated (different thread). If other people have noticed it too, you have to assume it's a computer hiccup that will get fixed in due course.

Matter of fact, didn't the Links list previously disappear just a few months ago? Came back with exactly the same garbage links :( f'rinstance, it appears that any given blogspot page has four different URLs
5:37 am on Oct 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Shai, It happened when Penguin 2.1 came about and ranks/traffic was lost. Could this be a mere error or in some way related to Penguin 2.1? If it were just a glitch, wouldn't 2 weeks be too long a time for it to correct itself?

@lucy24, I remember it happening a few months ago, but during that time, this site didn't have any problem.
6:32 pm on Oct 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Shai, this has happen to me few months ago, but links were back in few days, although, I would watch out for any significant changes in traffic and conversions (if any at all).

In relation to adding both www. version and non-www version of the site to WMT, I strongly recommend to add only one version of the site, so if your site is forwarding to www version, you will only have to select your preferred version in WMT by clicking the gear icon in the top left corner and selecting site settings. Obviously, if site resolves to non-www version, you can do the same as above, but select appropriate version of your preferred domain.

If you submit both version of the site to WMT, you will start having an issue with duplicate content and that is something you really do not want to have.

Good luck!
6:48 pm on Oct 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi Alex, Thanks for the information regarding the bug in your WMT.

With regards to adding only one site to WMT: Im afraid its not what the common consensus is and Im not sure I understand what you mean when you say having both sites on WMT can cause duplicate content> (unless you are not redirecting one to the other, but considering that's done outside the boundaries of WMT then it is irrelevant).

You should always add both as otherwise you will not be able to set the preferred domain in site settings on WMT. If you try on only one version of the site it will say:

Part of the process of setting a preferred domain is to verify that you own http://example.com/. Please verify http://example.com/.

Here is some previous discussion on the matter:
[webmasterworld.com...]

McMohan - I am assuming you have redirected one to the other? Do neither still not show any link data?
7:29 am on Oct 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Well I've seen the occasional "No data available" for years; never thought anything of it. Sometimes stuff doesn't work.
12:12 pm on Oct 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I am assuming you have redirected one to the other? Do neither still not show any link data?


No, non-www is not 301 redirected to www. No data as yet. www is set as preferred version and Google hasn't indexed any non-www url.
12:23 pm on Oct 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I would do the redirect anyway regardless of this problem. Also redirect index to / while you are at it.
1:07 pm on Oct 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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@Shai, Do you actually see any difference in traffic before/after "losing" links in WMT as well as any difference in search queries that are generally bringing you traffic? Also what do you see when you type site:yoursitedomain.com to Google Search?
11:06 am on Oct 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Update - The data has come back! Now WMT shows data for external links. But that hasn't made any difference to ranks. So, it must have been just a bug that chosen the Penguin 2.1 update day.

Shai - I know it is a best practice to 301 non-www to www (or the other way round depending on your preferred version). There was a time when Google made a lot of errors with www and non-www, when redirecting was necessitated. I see a lot of websites without this redirect (including Matt's blog, which he doesn't want to do to prove a point), and it was Google that had to fall in line not the websites. How could doing 301 from non-www sort this kind of an issue?
12:00 pm on Oct 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

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McMohan, yes you are absolutely right, there 'should' not be any reason to do this these days but when troubleshooting, you start with the basics. Especially when you are dealing with WMT which has proved to be so buggy lately. I still do the whole add both sites, redirect and set preferred domain just in case. I sleep better that way. :)