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Old 11-18-2004   #21
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If I find Matt Cutts, I will ask him personally for clarification. But I think you already know what to expect.
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Old 11-18-2004   #22
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Robert_Charlton: I think the quote is pretty common knowledge. I think if we make enough of a noise on this thread that either Matt Cutts or GoogleGuy with grace us with there presents and give us the word.

Mel: No one is expecting Google to setup a page and tell us how the Ranking Algo or PageRank Algo works. I think we all know that would not happen. But with the matter at hand we have already know what is happening. Googles OLD page is stating the link: command "shows you all the pages that point to that URL." We all know that is not true.

What is being asked here is not for them to reveal some hidden secret but to merely go on record and correct the misconception that thier statement on thier site is causing "some" people. While SEO/SEM market types for the most part know this, many webmasters don't.

Rustybrick: "Basically he did not say it is a statistically sound sample of all your links, but rather they are showing more links from a more diverse grouping of PageRank classifications." Was this during a talk that Matt said these things, and if so is there a quote available on what he said?

Last edited by bobmutch : 11-18-2004 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 11-18-2004   #23
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Google has said plenty of times, in plenty of on-the-record public places that the backlink tool does not show all the links it knows about.

As for the still fairly recent link change, I can confirm that Google has told me directly that they are showing more links than in the past, but they still aren't showing all of them.

The issue isn't that they haven't made it public that the link tool doesn't show everything. We know that. They've said that, over and over again. Honestly, we don't need yet further confirmation. It's a fact.

FYI, as for what happened above in SES Stockholm, this WAS another confirmation of it. The Google engineer didn't dodge the question of whether they show all backlinks or not. He dodged the question of why don't they show ALL of the backlinks. If they did show all backlinks, he would have answered that this was the case. It isn't. He knew that. And the reason he didn't answer on why not show them all is because, quite frankly, that's a question that goes higher up to Google's managment to answer.

In the end, the issue is really two-fold.

1) While they've admitted this problem/issue/feature plenty of times in public, they still do not say it on the site itself. The tool does not advertise as promised on their own site, as we've discussed over here: Google quirks summary (all lies...). They should fix that.

2) If they aren't going to fix the wording of how the tool works, then fix the darn feature and make it show everything.
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Old 11-18-2004   #24
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It's worth noting that the new MSN Search does a very good job of showing backlinks.

Example: SearchEngineWatch.com shows 165,722 on MSN Search (oh my head hurts). Google displays only 14,600.

Nice to know you can look this stuff up somewhere and get an accurate, current answer, anyway.
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Old 11-18-2004   #25
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Quote:
1) While they've admitted this problem/issue/feature plenty of times in public, they still do not say it on the site itself. The tool does not advertise as promised on their own site, as we've discussed over here: Google quirks summary (all lies...). They should fix that.

2) If they aren't going to fix the wording of how the tool works, then fix the darn feature and make it show everything.
I completely agree. Just because SEO/Ms know about this (usually - I keep running into ones that don't) doesn't mean that webmasters and the rest of the public know about it. You can't blame John Q Public for reading somebody mentioning something in a public forum, then reading it "straight from the source" off G's website and deciding that it does show all links. Why wouldn't they?

Don't lie on your website. If you make a mistake, or overstate something, or post something that could be misinterpreted, then fix it as soon as you find out about it. No problem. It happens.

But G has been on notice that this is the case for a very long time, and through several revisions of their website (from Olympic logos to new features) and nothing has changed.

This is especially important for a public company. I have some experience with this, and although the regulations are very strict for (and directly aimed at) things related to the decisions to purchase or sell stock, they also apply to other misleading statements as well.

Regulators know that investors make buy/sell decisions based on information outside of the prospectus, including product information, advertisments, forums, rumor and, yes, website content. An abundance of caution is in order, especially if you have care and control the information or statements in question.

Don't listen to me, just phone up your own lawyers and ask if you can put a known false statement on your website that many people rely on when making business related and competitive decisions and see what they say. Then take their advice.

Google gets reminders every SES (at least) that this is the case. That's every few months. If people didn't care, it wouldn't keep coming up! Why does this thread and hundreds like it exist if it isn't an issue?

For shame.

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Old 11-19-2004   #26
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dannysullivan: "Google has said plenty of times, in plenty of on-the-record public places that the backlink tool does not show all the links it knows about." Well how about an URL where this is recorded. I mean a direct quote like Cutts said "blah blah blah" on some site and posted by some one that recorded it that is credible.

Last edited by bobmutch : 11-19-2004 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 11-19-2004   #27
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Yah.

I'm pretty sure I've said it several times. Google's link: command shows some, but not all backlinks to the specified url. That's the first time someone has pointed out the wording on that link: page; I'll be happy to mention it to our webmaster. Was someone really expecting to receive 2.6 million+ links because of the wording of that page?
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Old 11-19-2004   #28
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Okey doke.

Alright, I just dropped an email to our webmasters about the features.html page. As I understand it, this has been explained to various degrees by Matt in San Jose SES, Magnus in Stockholm SES, and then Matt again in Las Vegas at the WMW conference, but I'll try to say it in one nice chunk so that people can have it as a reference.

Google doesn't return all backlinks in response to a link: command. In the ancient days, it was because there was a finite amount of storage space on the machines that served link: requests. So we only kept the backlinks for the top N pages. Later as we moved to a different indexing system, we kept backlinks for the top M% of pages. This was helpful for important pages, but it meant that Mom and Pop sites with lower PageRank wouldn't have as good a chance to see their backlinks.

At SES London, DaveN had a suggestion. He said: why don't you give all pages an equal chance of seeing backlinks? That's good for users, who will have a greater chance of seeing backlinks for a given page, and it's especially good for smaller websites--they'd have a chance to see backlinks. It seemed like a good idea, so we implemented it. In fact, in order to give each page a better chance of seeing backlinks (instead of just the top M% of pages), we doubled the amount of backlinks that Google exports to the outside world. So users now have access to twice as much link: data as before; it's just not all the top PageRank pages.

Q: Ah, you know, I hadn't noticed that all those "I don't see any backlinks for my site" threads were getting more and more rare in the last few months. So there are twice as many backlinks available, but from a broader spectrum of pages instead of just higher PageRank pages?
A: Yup.

Q: Isn't it possible that DaveN had some other motive behind his suggestion? Like he wanted to create a smoke screen so that other people couldn't see where he got his links from, or that he wanted people to move away from being so obsessed with backlinks?
A: DaveN is the best guy to answer that question. The part that really resonated with me when I heard the suggestion was that people with smaller websites with less PageRank could have a better chance of getting useful results when they used link: on their domain.

Q: Can you see all the backlinks internally at Google?
A: Yup. Given the large amount of data involved, and the fact that remarkably few people use the link: command, we don't show all backlinks externally, but we can access them internally.

Disclaimer: I've kinda assumed that most people know about me from WebmasterWorld, but in case anyone wasn't sure, I'm a Google employee but I post as just myself--someone who wants to answer questions and clear up misconceptions. But I'm not officially speaking on behalf of Google. (Or at least if I am, no one has bothered to tell me or, you know, give me a little framed certificate that says "Official Voice of Google for Webmaster-Related Stuff" or anything.) So: your mileage may vary. The author should not be held responsible for correct or incorrect interpretations of the words "link," "domain," "PageRank," "DaveN" or "one nice chunk" in this or any other time-space continuum, dimension, or reality matrix simulation. May shrink when dried. Do not fold, mutilate, or spindle, etc. etc. etc. Does anyone know what spindling is, other than something terribly postal and probably very cruel to packages?
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Old 11-19-2004   #29
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Quote:
I just dropped an email to our webmasters about the features.html page
Very much appreciated, as is giving everyone the rundown.
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Old 11-19-2004   #30
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Spindling GG, I believe, is a hold over from long ago when the grandfather who ran the country store kept a nice sharp pointed nail or other pointed metal object sticking up form a block of wood and onto which all recipts, orders, checks, whatever were stuck until such time as he got around to handing them over to whoever did the books (if anybody). This really didn't much hurt anyone until people started using data processing with punched holes (like government checks used to be) and the extra holes played merry hell with the data processing, hence the goverment prohibition against folding spindling or mutilating thier checks.
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Old 11-19-2004   #31
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GoogleGuy: Thank you very much your post. I now have something that I can point people to. If it gets change on the Google page that would be even better. Thanks for you good input!
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Old 11-19-2004   #32
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Happy to help, bobmutch. Mel, thanks for the visual on spindling!
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Old 11-19-2004   #33
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Thanks Googleguy for your reply, Those things clear a bit, But your reply is more similiar to the way you reply in webmasterworld.com, Most of the information in that is pretty confusing and is No way related to what google is showing currently in their link: command,

As you say I agree google used to show top M% of pages before and now top R%(random) of pages,

But this top R% of pages is very low percentage a site possess,

When google showed M% pages they showed most of the PR4+ pages, Now the random backlinks are very low compared to the real backlinks a site possess,

Also it is not true the crying for backlinks has come down in forums, It has increased more from the day you planned to show these random backlinks,

Quote:
Official Voice of Google for Webmaster-Related Stuff"
When some one thinks like that they will be left blind in a dense forest
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Old 11-19-2004   #34
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o

Last time I emailed Google about backlinks (over a year ago) they replied to say Google only ever shows a sample. Isn't that official confirmation?
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Old 11-19-2004   #35
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Dave Hawley: Official yes, public no. What we now have above we can point people to. Not that Google has not said this before and dannysullivan has pointed out.

I think Mike Cutts has made a simular statement as GoogleGuy just did. I have seen it quoted on the net here and there but could never find a source where he posted such a statement. While GoogleGuy is claiming unofficial status, and it is a bit harder to explain to a client who GoogleGuy is, his statement is better than what we have had before.

Perhaps Mike Cutts will login and post on this thread also. I am sure GoogleGuy and Mike commuication with each other from time to time.
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Old 11-19-2004   #36
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I have found Google quite good at replying to emails, albeit cryptic at times. Why not fire them an email and use the reply to shove..er I mean show, your clients? Or, post it on your site?

I have also noted that many of the links they do show, account for little, to no, PR. Intentionally I would assume.
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Old 11-19-2004   #37
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Dave Hawley: Well seeing that the Google site states the link: command show all links I think some thing posted on the web that I can't change or make up has more weight. A copy of an email I claim I got from Google, while is better than nothing, will not replace a post by a Google employee or even better yet the statement changed on their web site to reflect there position.

The first step in getting their web page changed to reflect what the link: command is really showing is to get Google to make the statement in public, this they have done a number of times. The next step was to have them go on record with the statement on a forum or blog. This they have just kindly done. The next step will be to have them change their web site.

When their website is changed there will be no need for an email from Google. We can just point people to what Google says on there site about the link: command.

I have a feeling with GoogleGuy and Mike Cutts working together on this they have the weight to get this done for us. GoogleGuy said he would tell the web master about the needed changes and if we can get Mike to point it out also I think this will get cleared up. (I understand that Mike Cutts has been following this thread according to rustybrick.)

Last edited by bobmutch : 11-19-2004 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 11-19-2004   #38
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Well seeing that the Google site states the link: command show all links I think some thing posted on the web that I can't change or make up has more weight.
So true!

I have a feeling though (although a 30 sec job) this will be down the bottom of any list. I guess the Link: command is rarely, if ever, used by their customers (searchers). Altough Webmasters, SEO etc are also searchers, there reasons for wanting all links shown are undoubtedly the reason why Google don't
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Old 11-19-2004   #39
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Dave Hawley: Webmasters are their customers also and they use the link command all the time. I am expecting to see the web page changed. I have faith in GoogleGuy that he has enought weight to have it done. Watch and see!
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Old 11-19-2004   #40
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Yes I know Webmasters are also customers and I stated that in my post above. I also know they use the command all the time. As I said, it is their (Webmasters) reasons for using the link command that is likely the reasons why Google only show a sample.

I hope the text does get changed to become true. I cannot see any point in making false statements in writing.....unless one has something to hide
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