Not many public experiments have been undeservedly conducted in the world of SEO in recent years. We tried to answer the question of whether links are taken into account if they are not in the Search console.
When we started exploring this issue, we realized that we have only an approximate understanding of how Google can work, so we came up with two basic hypotheses that served as the basis for our future experiment:
Besides them, we all heard several other assumptions on this issue from different sources:
Those opinions were not taken seriously by our team, as they have no evidentiary basis whatsoever but if their supporters have reasoned arguments, it would be very interesting to see them.
To obtain the most current data, we create 2000 backlinks (each link from a unique domain), on each page of which there is one unique anchor.
These links lead to 5 different projects/region projects that have not undergone work for some time and have been rather stable in terms of positions for the last couple of months.
For a good understanding of the results, each link leads to a separate acceptor page.
We were choosing the anchor semantics that did not intersect with the anchors of the links that were included in the Google Search Console for each project. This was to ensure that the interaction of old and new anchors would not affect the purity of the experiment in any way.
We describe the sequence of actions during this experiment in as much detail as possible so that everyone could repeat it.
To index and analyze backlinks and work with anchor list we used the LinkBox tool. We will show you a short manual for each stage of the experiment:
A chart of position change dynamics for indexed links and links in the Google Search Console:
Where a1, a2, a3 are anchor positions on the previous date before entering the Console or indexing; b1, b2, b3 are anchor positions on the date of entry; n is the number of backlinks that entered the Console or indexed on a specific date.
The dynamics of backlinks entering the Google Search Console:
Note that keyword position data is updated online, and link data in the Console is updated every 10-14 days on average. This should be taken into account for the experiment because you need to see updated links for the past period in the Console to be able to compare them.
One can see such versions of Google behavior:
About 400 links showed tangible positive dynamics in the target anchors.
In fact, on the day of indexation, only 37 links showed positive dynamics.
But these very same links also got into the Console on the first day (so we decided not to take into account all the links that intersected on the same day with the index and entered the Console).
But the position of the other anchors increased as soon as these links entered the Google Search Console.
Backlinks start working right when they enter the Google Search Console. We have established a direct connection between the target anchor of the link in the Console and its position on this keyword in SERP.
Links clearly pass the weight when they are added to the Console, not when the page was indexed. Which is logical since Google's resources are enormous but not unlimited and it still takes time to calculate the passed weight. We have also noticed that when a link drops out of an index, the probability of the link dropping out of the Console is quite high - more than 80%. This shows that for the link to work well, you need to have the donor page in the index.
Any experiments' results in SEO should have an applied meaning. We will try to give some potential applications of the results of this experiment:
Generally, the scope of such an experiment is limited only by your imagination, so share your ideas in the comments.
The sequence of links accounting, according to our observations, looks like this:
The lines of processing donor pages are not clear yet, as there are links that entered the index instantly and entered the Google Console a week later, and there are those that entered the Console almost immediately, provided that they were indexed simultaneously.
We hope our article helped you with this. If you have any questions, we will certainly answer them in our comments.
To work with backlinks, as described in this article, you need a minimum set of tools: