Latest Links to Your Site


Google Webmaster Tools Latest Links to Site

Google Webmaster Tools Latest Links to Site iconLatest Links to your site; something new from Google Webmaster Tools. It’s been a while since Google added anything new to their webmaster tools collection, but this new information tool is a “goody”. Latest Links to your site is a downloadable file, in CSV or Google Docs format, providing the site owner with a list of discovered backlinks, sorted by date and date-stamped.

Find Trackback Spam

The first practical use that comes to mind for Webmaster Tools Latest Links is to check for trackback spam. Trackback spam is a black-hat SEO technique to get you to publish trackbacks. The spammer sends a trackback to a post on your blog, hoping it will be published automatically, or approved if comments approval is required. But the black-hat doesn’t actually publish a link to the post – it’s a scam. And being friendly WordPress.com bloggers many of us see a trackback and think, “how nice, someone has given me a backlink, let me reciprocate”.

Now we have a tool to check whether a trackback is genuine, or just spam, without visiting the referer link. Which is great, because when we visit the spam link, the black hat has succeeded in his goal –  driving traffic to the spamming site. With Latest Links from Webmaster Tools, we just need to wait for Google to update the link report, and can see immediately if the trackback has really been posted.

There’s another, more sinister, use of trackback spamming; Negative SEO…

Uncovering Negative SEO

If one aspect of Positive SEO is building high value backlinks, The opposite, creating bad backlinks to a site from a spam site or other bad site is part of Negative SEO. Negative SEO is a black-hat technique we are seeing more of lately. The black-hat is hired to damage your site reputation by building links to a your site from a site known as a spammer or even a malware or phishing site.

This form of negative SEO is usually undertaken at the request of a business rival, or a person with malicious intent, with the sole intention of damaging your site’s ranking. Ali Shaikh writes about this practice in To Catch a Spammer: Uncovering Negative SEO

The Latest Links Report

The infographic below is an extract of the latest links report for my website, graphicline.co.za

google webmaster tools latest links report infographic

I highlighted a few examples of suspicious links. Firstly, line 4 is a Spam Trackback link – It only existed long enough to get indexed, then was removed. The two blocks of links at the bottom  that may or may not be suspicious… (tool.adminso.com) These are probably not Negative SEO, but I’m using them to demonstrate the principle. (I usually deny access to my sites from these spying tools when I find activity in the site logs – so this is another use for “Webmaster Tools Latest Links”).

me on google plus+Mike Otgaar

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About Mike

Web Developer and Techno-geek Saltwater fishing nut Blogger

Posted on August 13, 2012, in Google and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great info Mike…found the link to this article in Zemanta. I’ve been blogging for about a year now and the first 10 months I had around 2000 spam comments. The last 2 to 3 months it’s risen to 30,000. WTF, are the spammers getting desperate or am I easier to find? I’ll use this new tool in Google Webmaster to check my links, thanks.

    MK Shields

    • The price of fame! Seriously though, there are so many spam-bots targeting blogs, (especially WordPress because there are so many sites using it) it’s really hard to control.
      I’ve had 500+ failed attempts in a day from only 3 IP’s. Add the hacker bots and hotlinkers… A significant part of a day’s work is monitoring this sort of activity. I have a LONG list of banned IPs that gets longer daily blocking these scumbugs

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