Google Adds "Download Latest Links" Button to Webmaster Tools
Way back in May, we reported on the aftermath of Google Penguin and how so many sites saw their rankings fall to the nether-pages of Google for apparent webspam offenses, examples of which include keyword stuffing, associating with content farms and engaging in shady link building practices.
A common complaint among Penguin-defeated webmasters and bloggers around this time was that they lost ranking not because of the things they did on their own, but because of inbound links they'd naturally acquired from less-than-reputable external sites.
Indeed, it doesn't bode well for your website if tons of shady entities from the darkest corners of the internet are linking to it, but what if you didn't acquire those links on purpose? Fear not, as a new tweet from Matt Cutts, Google's chief of webspam, indicates that website owners will have a new tool in their arsenal when it comes to the fight against unwanted inbound links.
Download Latest Links from Google Webmaster Tools
"You can now download links from Google *sorted by date*. Nice. Look for "Download latest links" in console UI. Pass it on!"
That's Matt Cutts posting on his Twitter account to announce the arrival of the new feature, which will allow you to download a spreadsheet of the links that point to your site. As Cutts mentioned, the links are sorted according to date, which is extremely convenient because it will allow you to compare your link profile over time with other metrics in Google Analytics, such as your bounce rate and your overall traffic patterns.
Did you experience a dip in traffic starting around July 5th? Download your links to see who started linking to your site on or shortly before that time. Is your bounce rate for a particular page just off the charts? Download the links going to that page and see whether they're coming from irrelevant sites.
Penguin Recovery at Last?
Is this what webmasters have been looking for on the road to recovery from Penguin? Not quite, though it's certainly a big step in the right direction. With the ability to easily download and analyze the inbound links you've acquired over time, you'll have the opportunity to see what sort of shady characters are directing traffic to your site.
However, in order to actually remedy your inbound link profile, you'll need to actually contact the owners of these sites directly to ask whether they'll remove the links. Not all site owners will be willing to just remove their outbound links upon request, since these have an impact on SEO just as inbound links do.
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