[New Feature Alert] Historical Backlink Data

Tim Soulo
Tim is the guy responsible for marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs. But most importantly he’s the chief evangelist of the company. Learn more

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    Usually when we add a new feature to Ahrefs toolset, not many people will notice it right away (that’s the reason why I started writing these “what’s new” blog posts on Mondays).

    But last week we’ve added something that was noticed immediately:

    So let me tell you about this new feature real quick…

    Historical Backlink Data

    The backlink profile of your website is a subject to change. As time goes by, you build new links to your site, while some of the old ones pass away.

    That is why we were receiving many requests to start collecting historical backlink data, so that you could see all backlinks that a website used to have VS the backlinks that it has “live” at the present moment.

    TIP: Knowing which of your links are no longer “live” gives you an opportunity to restore them and improve your backlink profile.

    So, starting 13th of August we began collecting historical data.

    Which means we have two indexes right now: Fresh and Live.

    ahrefs historical index

    • Live Index — contains all links that were “live” on our last re-crawl;
    • Fresh Index — contains all links that we’ve seen “live” starting 13th of August (including those, that were “dead” on our last re-crawl).

    I’d like to point your attention to the “on our last re-crawl” phrase.

    Web pages are not carved in stone and they may go down and back up for numerous reasons:

    • hosting server downtime;
    • DNS issues;
    • website closed for maintenance;
    • high volume of traffic;
    • etc.

    So the fact that the page was “down” on our last re-crawl doesn’t guarantee that this page is still down at this very moment (and vice versa).

    And that’s the reason we’re calling our second index “Fresh”. The odds are that many of the pages/links that we’ve seen “down” may be back online already.

    Thus our “Fresh” index will most likely be limited to 3 months of data (we didn’t decide yet actually) and as you can tell, in the course of a few months we’re also going to add “Historic” index, that would include all backlinks that we seen live starting from 13th of August 2015.

    Right now the difference in Fresh and Live indexes can clearly be seen at the top of Site Explorer “Overview” report:

    live-vs-fresh

    Even though we’ve only started collecting historical data a little more than a month ago, the difference between the two is clearly visible.

    Dead” Backinks

    When exporting a list of your backlinks from “Fresh” index, you’ll see a new column, called “Backlink Status”:

    backlink-status

    We have three statuses of “dead” backlinks:

    • Not Found — the page with the backlink was not found for some reason (like I said earlier, this kind of link may be back up by the time you check it);
    • Removed — the page was ok, but we didn’t find the backlink that used to be there;
    • Dropped — we’re constantly improving our index and dropping pages that we think are gibberish (so the page and the link do exist, but the quality is so low that we don’t want to have it in our index).

    That’s it!

    This feature was just added and we still have tons of work as to implementing it across all our tools/reports/filters.

    In case you have any feedback or requests — please let me know!

    Tim Soulo
    Tim is the guy responsible for marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs. But most importantly he’s the chief evangelist of the company. Learn more

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    • That’s what I thought but better with a confirmation 😉

      • yup! let me know if you have any feedback, Florian 😉

    • Great work guys 🙂

      • thanks! still a lot of great stuff ahread 🙂

    • I cant see my backlink history more than 90 days. Is it possible?
      My web site is Mucizefikir.com

    • Also a nice way to force free users to purchase a subscription… I’d rather see Ahrefs let free users keep track of “Live” instead of “Fresh”, like in the old days.

    • Portal PR

      Guys… Your ahrefs spider can crawl jquery generated links?

    • Zoid Has Gone

      Hy Tim, great article you have here, and since currently i just using ahref as one of my favorite tools here, i want to ask something,

      with all the backlinks which have status not found and dropped, do i have to disavow it or not ?,

      • no! of course not!

        disavow should be used in 2 cases only:

        1) google sent you a message that you have a penalty for unnatural links

        2) you notice that someone is linking to you from spam sites, hoping to get you penalized

        These are the only two cases when you should bother about disavowing links.

    • Matt Varney

      Is this available through the API?

    • Pawan Jaiswal

      Which one is a better solution to use. The live index data or the fresh index data? What is the duration of the last re-crawl to get the live index data?

      • The ‘live’ version. It means “the most up-to-date”.

    • As an advertising agency, we are constantly following your articles, thanks admin

    • And this is why you guys are awesome… another great added feature to an already top tool.. Cheers!