Google Doesn't Count Links They Do Not Trust

Nov 15, 2011 • 8:33 am | comments (23) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google linksA WebmasterWorld thread is discussing one point made by Google's Matt Cutts at his PubCon session last week.

In the session, he said that even though they show links in Webmaster Tools and a link command report on Google, it does not mean they count those links. He said, Google only counts links they trust.

Here is the paraphrase from the Q&A:

Q. Everyone says I need more links. How do links improve the quality of the site? I don’t want to play this game and I don’t want to do this.

A: What matters is bottom line. Links are a part of search – they represent online reputation. Although there are many tools that report links, none of the tools can tell you which links are trusted by Google (not even Google’s tools). While the link structure looks bad from the outside, the actual linkgraph that Google uses/trusts looks much better. When the New York Times complained about a site with 10,000 spammy links, Google investigated the site and not a single link had slipped through Google’s filter. Only the links Google trusts count.

So there is a discussion around which links Google trusts and furthermore can you trust what Matt is saying here.

People do not believe that Google is able to detect all spammy links or paid links. People do not believe that Google was not affected by the 10,000 spammy links the NY Times uncovered for the Mother's Day article with flower sites.

So Google doesn't trust your links and you do not trust Google.

Honestly, I feel as time goes on - more and more SEOs are trusting Google less when in my opinion, Google is being more transparent then ever before. Maybe that is the issue - too much transparency leads to more questions and more trust building issues?

Google displaying links that are nofollow and not trusted is nothing new but for some reason it has started a hot debate.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Previous story: Google Likes Linking To Google


Vic @ Business Tips Blog

11/15/2011 05:07 pm

Google sharing answers just to put more questions? That's a good strategy to hide more their system. But I do appreciate segregating quality links from the others.

Michael Martinez

11/15/2011 07:09 pm

The problem with the distrust expressed toward Matt's statement is that SEOs have been lying to themselves (and everyone else) about the weight and value that Google places on links for years, so now that the majority of the SEO community has been indoctrinated with nonsense, anything reasonable sounds questionable. People need to step back and accept two facts: 1) No one has ever caught Matt Cutts in a lie.  We have all sometimes disagreed with his opinions and interpretations but he is entitled to make those judgments just as much as we are. 2) Google has documented/disclosed its link filtering processes to a certain extent though conference presentations, technical papers, patent applications, interviews with the news media and SEOs -- the fact the SEO community didn't want to believe the truth doesn't mean it's not truth.

Roie S

11/15/2011 07:32 pm

1) Have you ever read or or numerous other sources that show clearly how Google and it's online sales rep (i.e. Matt Cutts) lie consistently? 2) What is this "certain extent" you are talking about? 5%, 55% or maybe 0.001%? What about Demand media, Google's own assets controlling result and numerous other SEO ranking factors that "certain extent" just doesn't cover

Michael Martinez

11/15/2011 07:45 pm

I've read the ridiculous, unfounded, unproven accusations on many Websites.  I'm still waiting for PROOF that Matt actually lied.  Accusations (especially badly written ones) don't prove anything. As for the "certain extent", that's quantifiable in terms of "1 example, 2 examples, 3 examples, etc" not percent.    Your question, of course, doesn't relate to my comment, which was about how much information Google has published concerning techniques for filtering out and ignoring links. Then again, if your reading time is limited and you spend most of it reading absurd accusations and less of it reading research papers, patent filings, public statements, and such I suppose your point of view is understandable.

Roie S

11/15/2011 08:07 pm

You're being a bit funny sir.. can you PROVE otherwise? Until you can the odds he's lying are 50% (i think this is quantifiable)  and i'd say a lot higher - since $30 billion a year are at stake.  And yes, my reading time is limited  - so i tend to read only the good stuff and not waste my precious time on PR stuff. Oh, by the way, English is not my mother tongue so pardon if this reply is badly written (maybe i'll use Google's awesome translation tool next time).

Isha Singh

11/15/2011 09:41 pm

Well, this arise a new question. which links Google trust? btw it's a good news that Google don't counts entrusted links. 

Michael Martinez

11/15/2011 09:49 pm

Nope.  The odds that Matt Cutts is lying can only be based on empirical evidence, and there is NO empirical evidence of his dishonesty. You're welcome to regard unsubstantiated conspiracy theories as "good stuff". As far as your English goes, it's far better than any of my non-English writing/speaking.  Take that as an earned compliment. I do recommend you treat the wild-eyed SEO bloggers with greater skepticism, however.  Their rants can be entertaining but are not very informative.


11/16/2011 02:50 am

After reading this post, it brought me back to a presentation that I attended at PubCon in Las Vegas.  The presentation was done by a woman in charge of Google Webmaster tools (completely forget her name, and no it wasn't Vanessa Fox). Anyways, she spent at least 10 minutes discussing how Google tends to devalue links algorithmically that are in suspect areas on a website (ie. sidebar and footer) and surrounded by irrelevant link text.

custom logo design

11/16/2011 05:55 am

A good article for me to understand google's policy that which links can get importance from google and which not?. However, after read this post i am more conscious about relevant, trusted and valuable links.

Rich B

11/16/2011 10:22 am

I don't think its a case of too much transparency that's the issue so much as the information revealed is frustrating in its ambiguity. "Only the Links that Google trusts count"? I would be more certain about going to a place on a map that's marked "here be dragons" than trying to make sense of that comment. Is it the site the link is on that raises Google's mistrust? is it the link text? is it the paragraph around the link that gives spam away? Matt has the opportunity to reveal a little more about it and doesn't, even though with a simple word he could kill off a huge range of misconceptions and spam tactics. Sorry for the rant here but I sometimes feel like Google is made up of the kind of people who leave the office at 5pm and their parting shot is "I have to talk to you tomorrow about something. Its very bad and you're not going to be happy..." and then leaves the office, giving you the whole evening and night to sweat about what horrible thing will happen tomorrow that you have no way to prepare for or counter. :(


11/16/2011 12:51 pm

This is BS. I have seen many sites which gets paid links from sites which can never be trusted by anyone, however they rank very well. I mean how do they even dare to say that.


11/16/2011 11:00 pm

Why are you reading this blog don't you have dissertations to comb over?

Ryan Critchett

11/23/2011 06:25 pm

Interesting post. So.. one could imagine the kind of links they trust, and just focus on building those links to a large degree, right? (with the small percentage of well respected directories, and blog commenting). I've been seeing a big delay in the credit of links being distributed, and effecting rankings. In other words, I get a really good, high quality link from a very reputable website, and a month later, it has done nothing for my rank. BUT, the site is 3 months new (which means the domain is as well), and I think the "aging delay" is actually happening to me. Very interrrreeesssting!

Black Cat SEO

11/28/2011 10:04 am

I think this really refers to forum profiles and links coming from the same type of sites hit in the Panda updates. Those type of links seem to do more harm than good these days. Also links on pages full of thousands of spam links seems to do more harm than good. Time for the noobs to go back to work. :)

Robin Williams

11/30/2011 12:19 pm

Links from unrelated do-follow blogs and do-follow forums as well as low quality web directories also lead to link devaluation.

SEO GescoMan

12/13/2011 04:10 pm

Thanks a lot for this Interesting post


12/15/2011 11:02 am

I see this as a Google wants to trust your site and therefore you have to build that trust with them.  Links that are built too quickly (automated) or links that are located on sites that are often used as spamming techniques (not checking quality, just hitting Link Building sales targets) will not build that trust with Google. Matt has an obvious reason for wanting to let us know certain bits of information but cannot give away what are their USP's in the search sector. We build links that will add value to our site.  We want our customers to find us the right way.  If that is via blogs then the blogs have to be appropriate to the content they see.  We want to work with Google rather than fight or disagree with them.  If we all did that rather than trying to take short cuts then there wouldn't be this issue in the firstplace.

Well being

02/02/2012 11:07 pm

Site age is one of the biggest factor for Google trust!


02/24/2012 09:23 pm

I take my time to build my links by commenting on blogs and forums that are doing well in ranking and leaving my website address there. I think hard work and patience are needed instead trying to get 5000 links or more at the same time time through one way or the other.


07/11/2012 09:07 am

Michael Martinez - ' No one has ever caught Matt Cutts in a lie'. Are you believe in what you talking. Almost anything him tell us is not true, but mostly him tells only how smart are him.


07/11/2012 09:09 am

research yourself or hire a investigator. that what cutts lie - it proven fact for anybody who long time in seo.

Santosh Mishra

07/14/2012 06:09 am

It takes 2-4 years to build trust with Google and it's not so easy, I think. One needs to be efficient and practical enough working on a blog. Be unique and original to get into Google eyes.


11/28/2012 07:28 pm

It must be a joke. Do you seriously believe that Google trusts RipOffReport, publishing their links on the first pages of Google search results? It is just business, nothing else - Google will "trust" links, which bring them profit, no matter what kind of information they carry.

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