Google seems to be doing a back link update at present. I’ve noticed significant changes in some of my blogs back links so far. Traffic changes and SERPs often follow such updates.
Update: Others are seeing it too
Update II : Sorry for my lack of explanation here – I’ve had two emails, a comment and two instant messages asking for clarification as to ‘backl inks’. I was in a rush to post the information and am about to dash off now – but put simply (or as simply as I know how), a ‘back link’ is simply another site linking to your blog.
Every month or two Google does an update to the number of other sites that it finds linking to your blog (and the posts within it). The amount of links pointing at your blog has an important part to play as to how highly they rank your site. No one really knows just how they rank sites, but we do know that backlinks play a major part in it. So when they do these periodic updates webmasters all over the web hold their breath to see what it will reveal and what impact it might have.
For example – problogger.net had no recorded back links to it two days ago because it was a brand new domain (only a month or so old). A few minutes ago I checked and found that Google now sees 2080 backlinks pointing to it (probably mainly from my old domain – but also from many of my wonderful readers who changed the links on their sites to the new domain). This should help me increase my readership in the coming weeks and months.
Note: Backlink Updates take time to take full effect. Google has many data centres and it takes time for them all to come into line (if they ever completely do). If you check your back links now they could well be different tomorrow (or in 10 minutes) – it takes a while for Google to stop dancing.
How do you check your back link numbers I hear you ask? There are a number of ways. You can use a number of online tools – I use Digital Point’s Back Link Tracker which is a free service. To get the most of it and track your back links over time you have to check it every day or two. otherwise you’ll just see how many back links you have on any given day rather than the changes in your back links over time. It will also track your page rank, how many pages Google indexes and other things like your ranking on particular key words.
You can also use the ‘link:’ command in Google. ie type in link:www.yourdomainname.com into the search field on Google. It will come back to you with sites that it finds linking to your site. Note: if you use this method your results probably won’t reveal all links to your site – I know doing it for me now the results omit ‘duplicate results’. But if you do this over time you’ll see changes. There are plenty of other tools out there for this type of thing also – my suggestion is that if you’re going to track it choose one tool and stick to it so that you can track your results consistently over time.