A question I have been asked a number of times is “Why doesn’t Google show all my links?”
It’s not unnatural for people to check on how many links are being seen and counted by Google if their site is undergoing a link building campaign.
So when Google reports a much lower than expected number of links this can set the alarm bells ringing.
However, there is no need to panic.
Google doesn’t display all the information you have requested. Google doesn’t even display all the links associated with your site that it knows exist.
Carry out a “link:www.example.com” command and you will see, at best, a collection of returned links but nothing near the number you may be expecting to see.
So does this mean they don’t count?
Not at all. Google simply don’t volunteer this type of information. Never have and never will. It’s part of the game.
There are however a number of ways that you can get a more acurate number.
Staying with Google, creating a Google Webmaster Tools account will give you a far more acurate report on the number of incoming links your site is receiving.
It is worth noting that although this is a better source of information you may still find that some expected links aren’t included.This could simply be down to the fact that some links are yet to be crawled and found.
Another free tool is Yahoo’s Site Explorer. This is also a good source of link information and you can check backlinks without having to create an account. However this tool is on the verge of being closed down. Latest reports suggest this could be as soon as December 2011. So make the most of this excellent free tool while you can.
Free 3rd party tools are also available but it is important to bare in mind the level of information these are capable of reporting back.
Again I have had queries from customers who have used these type of tools and have had a low figure returned.
If you are going to use free tools, stick to Google and Yahoo for a close reflection and a majority of others for a passing interest.
If you are willing to pay for some deailed results then tools such as Majestic SEO and Linkdex are excellent.
As much as it’s important to keep an eye on your link profile it is just as important not to become obsessed.
In some cases links may not be crawled and indexed for months.
So just be aware that an exact report on how many links your site is receiving isn’t guaranteed but if your rankings continue to move in the right direction then your certainly doing something right.