How to Get 10,000% More Backlinks in Google, Without Doing Anything

SMS Text

That’s not a typo. You can actually get 10,000% more backlinks in Google, simply by doing nothing.

That’s the jittery reality of Google Caffeine, the new indexing system that Google rolled out in June. Billed as the “largest collection of web content we’ve offered,”, Caffeine indexes the Web more deeply and frequently, providing better real-time results for up-to-the-minute content like blogs and tweets. Google provides this diagram of how it works:

So, instead of a neatly stacked search index that’s refreshed in layers, the new one somehow involves all kinds of crazy flying objects.

Never mind the technical details. The most obvious change for SEO professionals is the “Links to Your Site” section in Google Webmaster Tools, which have skyrocketed wildly. (The change was recently verified by Google here.) Taking a sample of our clients at our SEO content firm Media Shower, plus self-reported data from other sites, we have seen an average 10,000% increase in Google-reported backlinks.

Your mileage may vary, of course. Some sites (particularly smaller sites) have seen a “modest” backlink increase of 400%, while others have seen their link counts explode over 50,000%! Here’s a partial list of sites we surveyed.

We’ve always known that Google only showed a fraction of indexed backlinks in Webmaster Tools. While this was not clear from the interface, the company always referred to link counts as a “sample.” Now Google appears to be revealing a complete count of backlinks, or as complete as they’re able to index. This looks to be the most accurate count of backlinks on the Web, which is great news for those of us who track month-to-month progress on building links.

So, who are all these new sites linking to yours? The bad news is that when drilling down into specific backlinks (not overall counts), Google is showing an even smaller sample than before. Worse, the sample may be lower quality than ever, since you will likely find hundreds of spammy sites that have simply scraped your URL off Google SERPs.

The “S”-word: Google will only tell you a fraction of the sites that link to yours.

While Bing has followed suit, only displaying a maximum of 1,000 backlinks to your site, it displays a more helpful sample of 1,000 high-quality links to your site. With Google, you have no idea what you’re getting from their sample; it could be from the fresh end of the link pool, or it could be from the part that someone just peed into.

In short, Google’s Caffeine-powered backlink reports are both a blessing a curse. On the one hand, we now have more accurate (and, we hope, stable) backlink counts that can be used to track monthly progress in linkbuilding efforts. On the other hand, downloading a specific list of backlinks gives us even less useful information than before.

Here’s how Google can make Webmaster Tools the “Bing-Killer”: simply provide more transparency in their “sample” of reported links. Is it a random sample? Is it weighted more heavily in favor of high-quality or low-quality sites? Is it based on an algorithm extrapolated from Sergey’s DNA?

The best SEOs want to know the highest-quality sites that are linking back, so they can find more sites like them. That’s also what Google wants. It’s good for sites, good for webmasters, and good for the Web.

We’ve always known that caffeine is a Web developer’s best friend. We hope that Google Caffeine will eventually become a similar friend for those of us working to make the Web a better place.

John Hargrave
John Hargrave is the Editor-in-Chief of comedy site, and author of the bestselling humor books Prank the Monkey and Mischief Maker's Manual.
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Rebekah

    Thanks for the excellent article – I really don't understand why SE's (aside from Yahoo – who will shortly be Bing) are so against displaying a full backlink count It's very frustrating to the webmaster and SEO.

    • Kaushik

      Yahoo also limits viewing up to 1000 backlinks, AFAIK.

    • Matt

      I think you answered your own question with this one 😉

  • Milan

    Quick note: you have wrong links in a post.

  • annsmarty

    I have fixed the links – sorry!

  • Moosa Hemani

    nice article… well i noticed the webmaster while reading this article and actually you are rite!! and i think tht's great.

  • Phillip Ohren

    Lol, Clever title, not so clever content…. nobody is actually getting anymore banklinks… nice link bait i'd say…

  • Ricard Menor

    I have been Link-Baited 😀 never mind
    For those who can extract some real profit from the article, I miss a final paragraph saying “from this point on, better get you some licenses for Link Manager tools, then query the SEs and filter by PR or by whatever you want to sort by”
    Thanks for the article John

  • Myron Rosmarin

    This was a very helpful article in that it provided a much needed explanation to why I was seeing such inflated link counts in Webmaster Tools for my clients. If only it were good news. If the only thing that's changed is Google's ability to provide a more accurate count, the playing field remains unchanged and it's business as usual.

  • Pak Telecom

    its nice written article i hope that this will help me to get backlinks

  • fvrfund

    not bad !

  • saidur01

    Thanks john, for posting a nice article . i am suffering for few days for getting backlinks reward from Google. this is such a tough job. your article gives me good instruction for getting good traffic in Google for my site.
    Thanks again…..

  • Sanjay

    Thank you very much John Hargrave to sharing this important post that is really full of knowledge. Thanks keep it up…

  • Rekhilesh

    That’s intersting, What about the way of Pinging service after google updates.Is it still pinging works fine?

  • David

    Google factors growth of pages and backlinks into their ranking algorithm. While busy on another project, I stopped adding content to my site as well as building backlinks. Not surprisingly, my search engine rankings suffered a little. In the past month, I’ve added pages to my site and created more backlinks and my traffic has increased as evidenced by increasing position in search engine results.

  • Adnan Shahid

    A very nice written article, i hope it will help me a lot to get backlinks.
    Thanks for sharing with us

  • Sam

    I’m a self-proclaimed novice when it comes to backlinks but learning ever day & getting results. You’re article is really appreciated.

  • Aro Mukherji


    This is a magic number for any blog owner!
    Thanks John.

  • nat

    But with google penguin, what’s still need many more backlick or need quality backlink ?

  • sahun nelson

    dont know where to beggin with back-links to my site

  • riyaz

    the new google index system does not is hard to know how i get good quilty back links to seo my website.

  • Randy Smith

    Hmmm, so what are they doing about the fact that >60% of search traffic uses Google? This is a problem, because it creates a multi-million dollar profit motive for people to rig the deck, so to speak. And it gives them one search engine to focus on. Who uses black hat seo for Bing? Google makes itself a giant target, simply with it’s business model. The number of internet users and websites is growing faster than Google’s ability to keep seo abusers in check. Throw in the increased use of sites with multiple languages, a unified search site for shopping, images, news, etc and it becomes a game of catch up.

    Inexperienced Webmasters, and honest ones who just want to publish good content,, don’t think to study SEO until they get hit, Only experts (both black hat and white hat) do. So you have to either get a degree just to create an effective website, pay for SEO, cheat, or spend time doing things like getting links and likes- INSTEAD of writing good content. Or always be at a disadvantage, because the people who know the most about black hat tactics also know how to create new ones, usually faster than honest webmasters can get their sites cleaned up. Search “Black hat seo” the day after the next major shake up and see how well it worked. Maybe I’m wrong, and this is the spam-killer that every other update was supposed to be. Who knows?

  • Salman

    I have submitted several back links in various sites, but Google Webmaster is not showing the recently posted links? How much time it will take for showing up the links?

  • Akhil

    Excellent article. Well written and your points are really helpful to be to earn more backinks to my website. Thanks.

  • Mike

    This is quite interesting. Is this still valid after recent updates to the algorithm ?

  • Akhil

    Excellent tip, really a good step to build quality backlinks..