On August 8th, Google announced the addition of the Manual Action Tool in Google Webmaster Tools. This week, they have also announced another update to the way in which links are reported. It seems that Google is attempting to supply webmasters with the means to clean up their act—should they need to.
Last week, at the SES San Francisco conference, Matt Cutts announced another update to Google Webmaster Tools, which allows Webmasters to see a larger representation of their backlink profile. In concert with updates like Penguin 2.0, that have caused site owners to carefully monitor their link profiles, Google is making an effort to become more transparent in the way in which they report a site’s link data.
Prior to this update, users could only download a list of 100,000 backlinks in alphabetical order; now, a more in-depth report is being rolled out to Google Webmaster Tools. Cutts explains that they have made a radical move to the way that they are sampling links. Links are now sampled uniformly, which provides a broader, yet comprehensive, look at those backlink profiles. By reserving 70% of the report for random links, another 20-30% for random TLD’s (top-level domains), or random domain names, and sprinkled with some higher quality links, the report provides a more representative full-picture snapshot of the site’s backlinks. This is especially beneficial for larger sites that have more than 100,000 backlinks that may not have been visible on the previous alphabetical system.
Since these link reports are essentially, “from the horse’s mouth,” the Webmaster link reports may one day be all we need to assess a site’s quality, and not-so-quality, backlinks. With updates expected to Penguin always on the near horizon, the increase in transparency we’re seeing from Google will hopefully lend some much-needed direction to users in terms of their backlink profile clean up and reconsideration requests.