Sudden Change In The Number Of Links Reporting In Google Webmaster? Don’t Panic.

google-webmaster-tools-video-1330350240Over the past week or so, we’ve been hearing reports of the number of links being reported within Google Webmaster Tools drastically changing from what it was days before the change.

Last week, we received some reports of Google increasing the number of links being reported in the tool. This week, we are seeing dozens of reports of the link count dropping significantly. Some suspect Google has a data display issue specifically with reporting on home page links, while others are not sure.

Google’s John Mueller, who I believe is currently on vacation, responded to the concerns in one Google Webmaster thread saying that this looks like a data display bug. He wrote:

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!

Two days later, it is still not resolved, and webmasters are getting nervous.

The deal is, I would not worry, and do not panic. This is impacting a ton of sites now, and it seems like a data display issue. Once Google fixes it, the numbers should return back to normal. As John from Google says, it most likely has no impact on your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking within Google.

Postscript: Google has posted an update on their status blog:

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.

Postscript: There are new reports that a week after this bug was first reported, Google is now fixing the issue.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Webmaster Central


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Jason Fritton

    The 140,000 links to my corporate page turned into 4. I certainly *hope* it’s just a reporting error.

  • Frans Rehl

    Thank you Larry for this sharing! For a moment I was a little concern, because suddenly we have lost over 60% of our links, particularly in the home page. I guess we have to wait so see what happened.

  • daveintheuk

    Why doesn’t Google put notices up on the affected pages like normal companies would do? Surely they can understand the concern that honest webmasters must feel wondering if they’ve been hit by pengiun or some other aggressive blunt algo update that could wipe their business out?

  • Yan Reznikov

    you have 140,000 backlinks??? how, how long did that take?

  • Skylights

    The first time I’ve seen it I’m like, oh my gosh! Where did my links go? Google must at least notify us. Webmasters worked for our links so it’s really a nightmare seeing our number of links significantly drop in a matter of days. Thanks for this article, I can finally breathe now

  • Hare Esha

    Hey….how long did u take to get the links??

  • Jason Fritton

    Years. The site is for a nationwide corporation with hundred of retail stores. We have put a lot of effort into vertical search and content marketing. Best of luck to you with your site!

  • Hafis

    I’ve noticed it, Hope that it will get fixed soon.

  • Keith Davis

    Thanks Barry
    I spotted it this morning and was beginning to panic.
    Thanks for checking out what Google are saying and letting the rest of us know.

  • Rubberecycle Playground Mulch

    I also see Page Rank adjustments like Amazon was a PR 9 and it seems like now they have a PR 8

    Any comments on that? Is it possible related to the link drop with in Google.

  • UltimateTraffic

    So we work our buts off, and Google repays us this way. How do we fix the problem then. Any help would be good.

  • Selvam T

    I was very much worried in checking one of my client’s site backlinks in Google Webmaster. Initially it was around 1,95,000 backlinks in GWT. At the time my site rankings are very well in and Almost 75 keywords are in top 5 or 10 position. But after the recent Google panda update on January 17th 2013. The keywords are dropping and most of the keywords are pushed down to 3rd or 4th page and some even above 10 pages.

    I sent request for site reconsideration in GWT. But i got a reply there is no spam links found in your site. But links started to decrease day by day. I was shocked to see my links dropped huge. Last week it was around

    Total links (52,759)

    And Now it was much reduced,

    Total links (1,373)

    I don’t know what is happening in Google algorithm. Recently many of such issues were arising and many were still not finding the exact reason. Google also not sending any messages after any update in GWT.

    If these things happens frequently then i am sure that Google will not be the No.1 search engines of the all. Google must take action on this.

    I also have posted the same issue in one top forum.

    Please check the reply which i have got. Post your contradictions over here.

  • Andy Hughes

    Glad this is a global problem and the link data returns soon. Thank you for informing us all! Google should put a message up within Webmaster Tools with perhaps progress updates….

  • Selvam T

    I was very surprised on checking the backlinks in GWT. It now showing

    Total links (149,663)

    Akash, you can check in your google webmaster account now. But the keywords are not coming up, instead dropping every time i checks.

  • Milan Stojkovic

    Yesterday finally i have got my links back on just one of my sites. 12 days ago 15000 links turned into 440, and now i have 9200.

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