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What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site or page from the search engines using natural organic and algorithmic search results (SERPs).

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October 18, 2007

Google Bait - Checking Link Numbers

4 days ago, I wrote about Google's post to instruct webmasters about how to keep their Google Webmaster Tools data fresh and up to date. They were very clear and brief in describing exactly how to get the most up to date data from their tools. I was in fact happy to see them address the issue.

Back on 10/14/2007 Yahoo Site Explorer (signed in) was still reporting over 1100 more links for this blog. Today, that number has declined to reflect a gap of 951, which is still 36% of our links...Which Google fails to report. I really want to believe that Google takes this seriously, but 40% is a lot of missing links! We need this data to properly SEO / optimize our sites, and since links are clearly "no joke" to Google, you would think this issue would bear a certain priority.

There has been a great deal of talk regarding Yahoo Site Explorer reducing the number of inbound links it displays when a user is not signed in to Yahoo. I did my own little checking, as I have more than one Yahoo account. It matters not if the user is signed in to Yahoo, what appears to matter is that the user is the user of record for that account. So it would appear, that only the account holder can get the "real" numbers. I verified this with 10 sites.

So how big exactly is the gap? I can offer up a few "real data" case examples pulled from my own sites. Mind you, these sites are in all different ranks of what Google requires for "fresh data" to be displayed. I think obviously, the most accurate reflection is the backlink numbers for this blog...As it is indexed, ranking OK, gaining links at a good rate, and published everyday.

Google vs. Yahoo Inbound Link Data Reporting

Please click to enlarge data table image.

These sites range in size from 135 indexed pages to 255 indexed pages. All of these sites are crawled at least weekly. I really think Google is going to have to get after this. I don't understand the point of displaying half ass-ed data. It has been said that Google is preserving server space, why muck it up with useless data then? I mean site 3 with a 4 day old cache date, and weekly crawls...Should certainly NOT be reflecting a gap of over 50% missing data. That's just outrageous. The site is fairly new, only launched July 31st, 2007. However, it is pulling data in all areas of the Google Webmaster Tools....So I see no reason why the link data should suck so bad. Pages are added to site 3 several times a week, and it is in fact beginning to rank in Google's SERPs (search engine results pages).

I say this to Google....Put up or shut up. Creating guidelines / suggestions for webmasters to increase their data freshness, which equates accuracy in this case, without delivering the goods...Is a very fine way for you to attempt to increase the "freshness" of your own index.

Peace and SEO

Melanie Prough

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John Hunter said...

Good post, I like the testing and looking at the actual results. And calling Yahoo and Google on their shortcomings is good - they have some very nice features but they both have plenty of room to improve.

Melanie Prough "Baby" said...

Hi John,

Thanks =-)

Don't we all have shortcomings....Every day a new adventure!