Google Webmaster Tools to improve backlink data

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Google develops its backlink selection

Google has changed how it selects backlinks in order to provide webmasters with a clearer picture of a site's backlink profile.

When webmasters currently click on the 'download more sample links' button in Webmaster Tools, they are shown around 10,000 links arranged in alphabetical order. For certain larger sites, this means that they are provided with a skewed picture of their backlinks.

Matt Cutts announces Webmaster Tools change

During SES San Francisco, Google's distinguished engineer Matt Cutts announced that the decision to provide better backlink data was made to provide webmasters with a clearer representation of their backlink profile:

"Site owners looking for insights into who recommends their content will now have a better overview of those links, and those working on cleaning up any bad linking practices will find it easier to see where to spend their time and effort."

The alteration is due to come into action soon and result in more links from top-level domains and different domain names becoming visible. This is set to be a particularly valuable change for larger sites, as it will offer a broader, more diverse cross-section of links, as opposed the potentially misrepresentative lexicological selection.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, has said: "Google's decision to take on board the feedback from its webmaster community and change how it currently selects a site's backlink profile will greatly help webmasters. In particular, it is likely to prove valuable for those looking to clean up links to their site."