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Google Backlink (and Page Rank) Update in Progress

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of September 2005 Search Engine Optimization 0 Comments

I had a hunch that Google would do an update this weekend and this morning I have logged on to find that an backlink update is under way. I had a feeling they’d use the long weekend to do it. Update: It looks like this could be a Page Rank Update also.

You’ll find that this takes a few days to really settle down and if you follow your backlink levels that they could take a day or two to settle down.

You can follow the forum discussions on this update at Webmasterworld and Digital Point.

What’s the significance of backlinks? In short and to completely over simplify it – backlinks are a measure of how many other sites are linking to yours. Each backlinks is like a vote for your blog – the more you have the higher your site should theoretically rank in Google. Of course there are many other factors that impact how high your site ranks – but its largely thought that backlinks are one of the most significant factors. As a result any update in backlinks is something that causes webmasters around the world to collectively hold their breath for a few days.

This update is already showing some strange results for me – I know its too early to tell (I’m ignoring my own advice of ‘wait and see’ here) but seems to have significantly fallen in its backlinks. This is really odd because the last two months have seen more incoming links pointing at this blog than I think I’ve ever had on any other blog. I guess time will tell.

Update: I’ve also noticed my page rank has changed on a couple of my sites so its a dual update.

Update II: I’ve already had people email to ask how they can check their backlinks. The simplest way is to go to Google and enter ‘’ in the search field as you’ll see in the following screen cap.


Press enter and you’ll be shown a snapshot of how many other sites Google sees as linking to you. It won’t include every one but is what Google is working with.

If you want to track your backlink count there are a variety of web tools out there for the job. I use a tool at digital point which tracks backlinks and page rank. You have to run it every day to get the best results but I include it as part of my morning routine.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • it’s possible that google is down-grading the value of backlinks from blogs, and since many of the links going to your site would be blogs……

    this is just a total random guess, of course. but if i was running a search engine, that’s what i’d do. take this very page, for example. since i’m posting a comment, a link will go to my blog… but it’s not an important link or one that google should really take notice of, when computing how important my blog is; the only reason the link is there is because of my comment, not because you think my blog rocks and are endorsing it by placing a link.

    hence, blogs = bad source of back-linkage data

  • Jon

    Interesting…that’s the first time I’ve seen anything ever remotely resembling a realistic total for number of links on Google. Usually I’d use Yahoo as the most accurate indicator of backlink count.

  • My main blog just went from a 5 PR to a 6. So good news for me. :)

  • Im not seeing any changes yet on Google but I did pick up last week that Yahoo had a massive cleanout, my backlinks there plumeted.

    this page provides a list of your PR across the Google pages that usually picks up any PR changes, but I’m still not seeing any yet. For memory there are some similar type site out as well, generally if there are changes you can pick them up on some of the non-main Google servers before they spread.

  • Pingback: » Google backlink and PR changes underway The Blog Herald: more blog news more often()

  • ~Dawn

    I second what Duncan said, I noticed yahoo did a backlink cleanup as well. I saw some good and bad changes in links to my sites.

  • Rimu, not burst your bubble, but the link to your blog on this page has absolutely no value since it’s a “rel=external nofollow”. It is possible that a lot of old blog links from before nofollow was added to WordPress and Moveable Type are just now getting reindexed and removed. Just a guess.

  • Maybe all the links that you provide on other peoples blogs are not counted as valuable anymore. Perhaps, Google is now looking at quality links? What would be considered a quality link then?

  • Interestingly now – 8 hours later – my backlinks have increased back to what they were and above. ie yesterday they were in the 4000 region, this morning they were in the 2000 region and now they are in the 6000 region.

    I was right in saying I should be more patient. Could be a few days before the dust settles.

  • Interesting theory from Tom, could be true. Certainly all the old links would get link=nofollowed with the later versions.

  • Rimu, not burst your bubble, but the link to your blog on this page has absolutely no value

    I thought that’s what he said…

    I know I’m taking Tom’s comment out of context, but a link from Problogger to me always has value, even if not in Google’s eyes. :)

  • How does this work? My strikes a big fat zero (has been up a good month or so) But I know there’s at least one link out there to it – embedded in an article I wrote for another website. When do the same on searchmsn, it gives 706 results (including that article).

    Any ideas?

  • backlink numbers and pagerank are not shown in realtime, but with a significant delay – so what you see is not what you get – especially as googles link command is crippled in order to cloud the best links and fool link swapper/traders.

  • Sorry, obviously I didn’t mean that the way it came out. FWIW, I’m not sure the statement is true either. Supposedly Yahoo respects the “nofollow” tag, too, but I just found a link from a comment I left here to one of my sites as a backward link on Yahoo in spite of it being marked “nofollow”.

    But you’re right, Andy, whatever Google says, a link here is worth a lot.

  • I am feeling very left out, no backlink update for me, PR still at a measly 0, but im still holding thumbs that the Google gods will take pity on my work…

  • I dropped a cool 1000 links in the update. PR is still a weak 7, but I’m okay with that.

  • Yup, I’m still at 0 backlinks from google, even though MSN is showing 2000+. It’s probably google’s “new site” penalty, I’m thinking I’ll have to wait for the next update. :( Oh well, c’est la vie.

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  • How long does it take for the dust to settle?
    I’ve still got zero backlinks and 0/10 PR atm my other site (which I tore down a couple of months ago is still showing a PR of 4/10 (would expect this to drop to either 1 or 0/10)

  • A couple of days ago i noticed that problogger page rank dropped from 6 to 5. Anyone can’t know exactly why this happened but i have two opinions about this. First, ’31 day to better blogs’ could cause this. Because darren linked a lot of site there and this is a big change for the problogger. I started to think about a ratio like In Links / Out Links . I think this ratio must be high for good PRs.

    Second thing is, if problogger lost a big sites link that can couse this. I suppose quality is important not quantity. You may think dropping from 10000 link to 9999 is not much, but if that 1 site is yahoo then it makes so much difference.

  • this is the first time i’ve run across a rel=external nofollow concept.

    very interesting.

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  • I agree,the wait and see attitude is the best as recomended.
    A good tool for checking PR is at digitalpoint . com (may have been mentioned in prior entry.

  • I agree,the wait and see attitude is the best as recomended.
    A good tool for checking PR is at digitalpoint . com (may have been mentioned in prior entry).

    John West ( Remote Support PC Remote Control Software )

  • Does anyone know why I get different results when I run link: my with a space after the word “link:” as opposed to no space.

    I get dramatically more backlinks when I put a space in for my website

    What gives?

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  • Hi guys,
    its nolonger a secret that backlinks are the main aspect for page ranking by search engines.
    I want to improve tha ranking for my index page from PR3 to PR4 see
    The big think is, whenever i try to ask for a backlink from a higher ranked website than me (PR7 PR8) i get ignored.
    Any cool idea? should i pay for links from very popular sites? If yes? How to approach them?

  • i’ve found that backlink tools return a ton of different resuts for me, is decent’y dependable tho

  • what is the best tool for checking backlinks? I’ve used yahoo site explorer and the SEO logs backlinks tool but they both give different results. I’ve done quite a bit of link building on my site of late and want to know how best to track these backlinks.

  • Does anyone know the best site to learn how to get a lot of .gov .edu and high PR backlinks (8-10) for free?

  • I’m with you on that one, cause if there are any guru’s out there with techniques or shortcuts to getting edu links… and better yet… dot gov links, then I’m interested also.,.