While the URL “strings” are present in the source code of the page, they are associated with onclick events and not within the href attribute of the <a> element. All three links above have been picked up and reported on within GSC appropriately. With this information, we now know as fact that Google has a larger understanding of what qualifies as a “link referral” in today’s digital ecosystem.
Unfortunately, these same links are not reported across the previously mentioned top data providers.
So, you probably have some questions…
Question 1: Is this really a concern?
Question 2: But Google is providing these links. Shouldn’t GSC data be enough to work from, since it’s Google’s own data?
Unfortunately, “Links to your site” data can’t show you everything that you need to see in order to conduct a thorough review of a given backlink profile. The data is limited, providing just 1,000 rows per Example and Sample report. As a matter of best practice, those attempting to review and monitor their backlink profiles are strongly encouraged to utilize multiple data providers — not just Google Search Console.
Question 4: How many backlinks could be impacted by this?
Question 5: So, what am I supposed to do with this knowledge?
It’s an honest point, and it paints a clear picture of just how difficult providing this level of data can be.
In the meantime, and despite the growing gap that exists in backlink data visibility right now, there is still a good amount of data to be had to make an honest effort in rectifying any webspam issues and showing due diligence to Google’s Webspam Team.
Closing the gap
Gathering as much backlink data as possible is a crucial component to ensuring the success of submitted Reconsideration Requests. Doing so enables backlink reviewers to analyze as close to a majority of a given backlink profile as possible, providing a more complete analysis of webspam patterns that may be relevant to the cause of penalty.
Be sure to keep an eye on top of data providing tools for when this functionality becomes available, as three out of four preferred backlink providers we spoke to confirmed that these developments are already in progress. (Thanks, guys!)
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