Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Today we're making a change to the way we categorize link data in Webmaster Tools. As you know, Webmaster Tools lists links pointing to your site in two separate categories: links coming from other sites, and links from within your site. Today's update won't change your total number of links, but will hopefully present your backlinks in a way that more closely aligns with your idea of which links are actually from your site vs. from other sites.
You can manage many different types of sites in Webmaster Tools: a plain domain name
example.com), a subdomain (
cats.example.com), or a domain with a subfolder path
only links that started with your site's exact URL would be categorized as internal links: so if
www.example.com/users/catlover/ as your site, links from
www.example.com/users/catlover/profile.html would be categorized as internal, but
www.example.com would be
categorized as external links. This also meant that if you entered
as your site, links from
example.com would be considered external because they don't
start with the same URL as your site (they don't contain
Most people think of
www.example.com as the same site
these days, so we're changing it such that now, if you add either
www.example.com as a site, links from both the www and non-www versions of the
domain will be categorized as internal links. We've also extended this idea to include other
subdomains, since many people who own a domain also own its subdomains—so links from
pets.example.com will also be categorized as
internal links for
||External links||Internal links|
|Previously categorized as...||
|Now categorized as...||
If you own a site that's on a subdomain (such as
in a subfolder
and don't own the root domain, you'll still only see links from URLs starting with that subdomain
or subfolder in your internal links, and all others will be categorized as external links.
We've made a few backend changes so that these numbers should be even more accurate for you.
Note that, if you own a root domain like
your number of external links may appear to go down with this change; this is because, as
described above, some of the URLs we were previously classifying as external links will have moved
into the internal links report. Your total number of links (internal + external) should not be
affected by this change.
As always, join our Webmaster Help Forum if you have questions!