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Sudden Change In The Number Of Links Reporting In Google Webmaster? Don't Panic.

google-webmaster-tools-video-1330350240Over the past week or so, we’ve been hearing reports of the number of links being reported within Google Webmaster Tools drastically changing from what it was days before the change.

Last week, we received some reports of Google increasing the number of links being reported in the tool. This week, we are seeing dozens of reports of the link count dropping significantly. Some suspect Google has a data display issue specifically with reporting on home page links, while others are not sure.

Google’s John Mueller, who I believe is currently on vacation, responded to the concerns in one Google Webmaster thread saying that this looks like a data display bug. He wrote:

This looks like an issue with how the data is displayed in Webmaster Tools, it shouldn’t affect your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking. I don’t have any specifics at the moment, but the team is looking into the details to see what we can do here. Thanks for your patience & sorry for the confusion!

Two days later, it is still not resolved, and webmasters are getting nervous.

The deal is, I would not worry, and do not panic. This is impacting a ton of sites now, and it seems like a data display issue. Once Google fixes it, the numbers should return back to normal. As John from Google says, it most likely has no impact on your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking within Google.

Postscript: Google has posted an update on their status blog:

Some Webmaster Tools users have reported missing data in the “Links to your site” section. We are aware of this issue and are looking into it; you do not need to take any action. We hope to have the normal data shown again in the near future. The data shown there is informational and does not affect your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking.

Postscript: There are new reports that a week after this bug was first reported, Google is now fixing the issue.

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