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Google New policy change for Backlinks: Reorganizing internal vs. external backlinks

Today we’re making a change to the way we categorize link data in Webmaster Tools. As you know, Webmaster Tools lists links pointing to your site in two separate categories: links coming from other sites, and links from within your site. Today’s update won’t change your total number of links, but will hopefully present your backlinks in a way that more closely aligns with your idea of which links are actually from your site vs. from other sites.

You can manage many different types of sites in Webmaster Tools: a plain domain name (, a subdomain ( or, or a domain with a subfolder path ( or Previously, only links that started with your site’s exact URL would be categorized as internal links: so if you entered as your site, links from would be categorized as internal, but links from or would be categorized as external links. This also meant that if you entered as your site, links from would be considered external because they don’t start with the same URL as your site (they don’t contain www).

Most people think of and as the same site these days, so we’re changing it such that now, if you add either or as a site, links from both the www and non-www versions of the domain will be categorized as internal links. We’ve also extended this idea to include other subdomains, since many people who own a domain also own its subdomains—so links from or will also be categorized as internal links for


If you own a site that’s on a subdomain (such as or in a subfolder ( and don’t own the root domain, you’ll still only see links from URLs starting with that subdomain or subfolder in your internal links, and all others will be categorized as external links. We’ve made a few backend changes so that these numbers should be even more accurate for you.
Note that, if you own a root domain like or, your number of external links may appear to go down with this change; this is because, as described above, some of the URLs we were previously classifying as external links will have moved into the internal links report. Your total number of links (internal + external) should not be affected by this change.

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