Lost Links in Google Webmaster Tools

On Feb 7th, 2013 Google announced a known issue with the links counts
found in Google Webmaster Tools. It may appear that you have lost most of your links but its just a glitch and Google is working on the problem now. In the meantime, your traffic will not be affected.

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Above is a snapshot of the Links to Your Site page in Google Webmaster Tools and below is a post that Google made on the Webmaster help Forum a few days ago.

Known issue: links to your site data issues

Thursday, February 7, 2013 | 2:23 PM

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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 were shown there is informational and does not affect your site’s crawling, indexing or ranking.

SEO Troubleshooting | Algorithmic Penalty Identification

SEO-Troubleshooting-algorithmic

Einstein once said, The formulation of the problem is often more important than the solution and in the case of trying to figure out why your website has lost traffic or ranking, this couldn’t be more true!

The first thing to do in a dicey SEO situation is, Don’t Hit The Panic Button! One of the biggest mistakes people make is they start doing drastic updates to their site or their SEO campaign(s) and this is exactly the wrong thing to do because it could set into action, a chain of events, that can make the recovery process much more difficult. Furthermore, when Google punishes a site for a certain thing like let’s say, Link Scheming and then you all-the-sudden stop building links to your site, it will trigger another algorithm that confirms you were link scheming in the first place. Yes, don’t be surprised that Google with their top Ph.D. analysts and billions of dollars already thought of that.

Really, the best thing to do is absolutely nothing for at least a week, sometimes two, while you have time to fully analyze all the data from every angle and troubleshoot. Sometimes, websites recover on their own while the updates shuffle around.

Picture algorithms being stacked like a Jenga game and when you get smacked down by Google updates like the Panda or the Penguin, the last thing you want to do is make drastic moves that could cause the whole thing to collapse. This is why you MUST carry on as you were and identify the SEO problems before taking action.

google-algos-jenga

Where to Troubleshoot?

Out of my most recent 50 algorithmic penalty analysis that I conducted on websites for the Google Support Forum, I found most penalties were either because the website’s content was in violation or the backlinks profile was unnatural or spammy.

Content

Start by checking the website itself. Look at your content for keyword stuffing, duplicate or scraped content and coding issues.

Backlinks

Check Backlink Profile to make sure it doesn’t contain unnatural linking activity or what Google considers webspam.

These are two very broad places to start looking but if you have specific questions or want me to look at your site, just hit me up in the comments below and hopefully, you read this before making any drastic changes.

Tracking Multiple Domains and/or Subdomains in Google Analytics

blindfolded-man-subdomainTo Properly track the visitors of your site is the first and foremost critical step of collecting reconnaissance traffic data. Without it, you’re lost like a blind man in an orgy trying to feel things out. There are no clear instructions for installing Google Analytics to track multiple subdomains or two different domains in the same profile. Rather, there are several different ways to get the job done and the method you choose will greatly effect your reports and the ability to accurately monitor your traffic. To achieve the deepest crawling and render the most thorough report, I suggest the use of these two methods.

  1. Cross-domain tracking
  2. Filter modifications  

Step 1. Cross-domain Tracking Across a Domain and Its Subdomains

The default settings for Google Analytics are to track one single domain at a time so if we want to track any subdomains of the top level domain we will need to modify the GA code snippet so it will show which subdomain the visitor entered the site from or if they navigate to other subdomains within the site. Luckily, all subdomains share the same cookies making this easier to implement.

I will use the examples below in my demonstration:

www.example-testsite.com

newyork.example-testsite.com

california.example-testsite.com

For this setup, you simply put a . in front of the domain to enable cookie access to any and all subdomains. If using the traditional GA code use the modification I used below.

Asynchronous syntax

var _gaq = _gaq || [];

_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-12345-1’]);

_gaq.push([‘_setDomainName’, ‘.example-testsite.com’]);

_gaq.push([‘_trackPageview’]);

Traditional (ga.js) syntax

var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(UA-12345-1);

pageTracker._setDomainName(example-adultsite.com);

pageTracker._trackPageview();

Again, no changes to the forms or links will be needed as they all share the same cookies as the top level domain. If you need a working example, you can look at the GA code in the header and the code in the links of TheLeadTree.com and LeadTree.org to see how Ive set it up in the past.

Step 2. Modifying a Cross-Domain Profile With Filters

subdomain-setupWithout this step, you will only be able to see the URI in your content reports and not the domain or subdomain. So if someone visits newyork.example-testsite.com/females, you will only see /females/ in the report with no indication of which page is for which domain. This is why we want to tell GA to show us the full URL and not just the last part of the URI. We do this by adding a filter.

  1. Go to the settings page of the profile and select Add Filter.
  2. Select Add New Filter and give it a relevant name.
  3. Select Custom Filter and select Advanced on the Filter type settings.
  4. Under Advanced settings: FieldA should be set to Hostname and FieldB should be set to Request URI.
  5. Set the values for both Field A and Field B to (.*), which is an expression that captures all characters.
  6. Set the Output To > Constructor option to Request URI and provide $A1$B1 as the value for that choice.

You will now have the most comprehensive reports that will give you a deeper insight on how traffic navigates through the different subdomains of your site!

SEO Karma: As always, don’t forget to show some Google love and like, tweet, plus or Digg this page if you found the information to be helpful.