At SES San Francisco on Sept. 12, Matt Cutts of Google announced that Webmaster Tools was now changing the way backlinks are served to users. Google will continue to provide up to 100,000 backlinks, but they will not simply be provided in alphabetical order any longer, and this change is designed to provide users with a more representative list of backlinks.
For instance, large sites that have far more than 100,000 links may only receive a listing from A to C, as an example, before the list cuts off. The old scheme was not very useful when you could get numerous links from a one domain, and there wasn’t a mechanism for sorting them.
Google published a post that explains their changes, that basically says:
On the basis of feedback from webmasters, were have improved the way backlinks are selected in order to provide webmasters with a more complete view of the backlink profile of their site. The change that is most significant, is that now, the majority of links are uniformly sampled for the entire backlink spectrum, rather than simply providing an alphabetical listing. There is also a greater probability of obtaining sample links from various top-level domains, in addition to varying domain names. However, all of these links will still be alphabetically sorted.
When you download your backlink data, you will see a far broader link cross-section, and a link cross-section that is more diverse. Webmasters that are searching for data on who is recommending their content will receive an enhanced backlink overview. In addition, webmasters who are attempting to eliminate bad links in order to clean up poor practices in linking will discover that it is much easier to determine where to concentrate their efforts.
This change is quite helpful for webmasters, particularly when they are trying to clean up their link profile after receiving a warning of bad backlinks. This was problematic for large sites, particularly if a webmaster had to clean up thousands of spammy, low-quality backlinks.
This change is already live! So, you will be able to go to Webmaster Central straight away, and download your enhanced backlink profile.