One of the common requests I hear from webmasters is “Why doesn’t Google show me most or all of my backlinks?” Well, as of today, Google’s webmaster console will now let you see your site’s backlinks. Major props to the webmaster console team for this new feature. A few things to know:
– The backlink tool doesn’t show 100% of the backlinks from Google yet, but I expect the number of links that are available to grow.
– In particular, for my site I was easily able to see more than 10x more links in this new tool than the link: command gave me. The link: command has always returned a small fraction of the backlinks that Google knows about, mainly for historical reasons (e.g. limited disk space on the machines that served up “link:” data).
– You can download the backlinks in a really nice CSV format, suitable for slicing and dicing and other analysis. I believe you can export up to a million backlinks if your site has that many backlinks.
– Do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight. I’m going to say that again: Do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight. Sometime in the next year, someone will say “But I saw an insert-link-fad-here backlink show up in Google’s backlink tool, so it must count. Right?” And then I’ll point them back here, where I say do not assume just because you see a backlink that it’s carrying weight.
I’m sure that there was more that I wanted to say, but why don’t people start playing with it and give feedback or post backlink tool-related questions? I know that the webmaster team reads to get feedback over here too; congrats again to that entire team for providing this. If you want to start browsing your site’s backlinks, sign up for Google’s webmaster console now.