Why Are My Backlinks Indexed in Ahrefs But Not Moz and Google Search Console?
Backlinks remain one of the most important ranking factors for SEO.
As a result, SEOs regularly check backlink indexing tools like Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Search Console to monitor their backlink profiles.
However, it’s not uncommon to find backlinks indexed in one tool but not others.
If you’ve noticed backlinks in Ahrefs that don’t show up in Moz or Google Search Console, don’t panic.
There are some valid reasons for this indexing discrepancy.
Backlink Indexing Takes Time
The first thing to understand is backlink indexing takes time. Ahrefs, Moz, Google Search Console, and other tools don’t instantly index a new backlink the moment it appears on a site.
Instead, they crawl the web on their own schedules, find new links, analyze them, and add them to their indexes.
This whole process can take weeks or even months.
Ahrefs tends to have the most aggressive crawling and fastest indexing of the major tools.
So it’s common for Ahrefs to find and report new links days or weeks before Moz or Google Search Console.
Indexing Lag Times for New Backlinks
Ahrefs Takes: 1 to 14 days
Moz Takes: 14 to 60 days
Google Search Console Takes: 30 to 90 days
So if you have a new quality backlink, give it some time to appear across all indexes.
Ahrefs will usually show it first, followed by Moz, and finally Google Search Console.
Don’t panic if it doesn’t populate instantly everywhere.
Google Prioritizes Its Own Data
Another factor is that Google Search Console specifically shows links as Google has discovered and indexed them.
Google uses its own web crawling, algorithms, and data sources when compiling backlink data.
So even if Ahrefs or Moz finds a link first, it won’t show up in Google Search Console until Google itself has crawled the page and validated that the link exists.
Because of this, Google Search Console should be viewed as a look into how Google views your backlink profile, not an absolute index of every link on the web.
If Google hasn’t found or vetted a link yet, it won’t be reflected in Search Console data even if Ahrefs shows it.
Not All Backlinks Are Equal
It’s also important to understand not all backlinks are created equal when it comes to SEO value.
There are many types of artificial, automatically-generated, or spammy links that other tools will index but that Google ignores or discounts entirely.
For example, Ahrefs includes:
- Automatically generated forum links
- Spammy directory links
- Low-quality redirected links
- Links using nofollow or sponsored attributes
Google and Moz deliberately discount or ignore these types of artificial links to focus on organic backlinks more likely to drive real SEO value.
So if Ahrefs is showing links that Moz or Google Search Console doesn’t, take a closer look at the quality of sites generating those links.
If many come from low-value automotive sources, that could explain the discrepancy.
How to Verify if a Backlink Exists
If you find a quality backlink in Ahrefs that isn’t reflected elsewhere, how can you confirm if it really exists on the site?
Manually checking the site is always a good idea. Use a backlink checking tool like Ahrefs Site Explorer to get the exact URL where your link appears.
Then visit that page to verify the link is live.
Sometimes Ahrefs detects links in cached historical pages that no longer exist on live sites. So checking if the link appears on the current live page is an important validation step.
You can also use Google site: searches to look for your link. Enter your root domain and use site: linkingdomain.com to scan that site for your link.
If Google has indexed the page but doesn’t show your link, that’s a clue it may not actually be there or is using a nofollow/sponsored attribute.
These manual checks can help determine if Ahrefs is accurately reporting links that Moz or Google has simply not yet discovered, or is showing links that don’t represent real SEO value.
Site May Have Disavowed or Blocked Access
Some sites use techniques like robots.txt blocks or rel=”nofollow” attributes to prevent backlinks from passing SEO value.
This causes problems when these sites get indexed in some backlink tools but ignored by others.
For example, if a site added your link but didn’t want to pass link equity, they may have added rel=”nofollow” or used meta robots noindex tags to disavow the link.
Ahrefs would still index and report this link. But Moz and Google would ignore the nofollowed or blocked link even if they could detect it.
Checking for nofollow attributes and robots meta tags can help explain these inconsistencies.
Give it More Time
At the end of the day, indexing delays are the most common reason for backlink discrepancies between tools.
Just because a link shows up quickly in Ahrefs doesn’t mean Moz or Google Search Console will instantly reflect or show it.
For quality links that you confirm exist on other sites, the best approach is usually to just wait patiently.
Give each tool, especially Google Search Console, sufficient time to discover and add new links to its index. In most cases the links will eventually populate across all tools.
Clearing the Google Search Console Index
If you’ve waited months and a legitimate backlink still isn’t showing up in Google Search Console, try clearing the index.
In Search Console, go to Index > Remove URLs and submit a request to purge the index.
Google will then re-crawl and rebuild the index, which often helps force it to discover and incorporate new backlinks faster.
Just keep in mind this takes time, so you’ll need to wait a few weeks or more to see if the link appears after re-indexing.
Backlink Indexes Rely on Different Data
It’s important to remember Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Moz, and other backlink indexing tools all rely on different data sources and algorithms to build their indexes.
There isn’t a single unified backlink database on the web. So each tool uses its own crawling, link analysis, and reporting methodologies.
As a result, some variance in links discovered and indexed across tools is expected.
Think of each backlink index as its own unique snapshot of the broader link landscape.
Comparing across tools gives you a more holistic view, but will always show some inconsistencies in specific links reported.
Evaluate Links Marked as Spam
If many of the links showing up only in Ahrefs are marked as spam, redirected, or unnatural, that’s a warning sign to investigate further.
Determine whether these are legitimate links you want to keep or low-quality links that should potentially be disavowed.
Spam links with high domain or page authority metrics can appear valuable in Ahrefs.
But often these sender domains are actually employing artificial link building techniques.
Review these questionable backlinks manually to avoid misinterpreting spammy links as good SEO gains.
Focus on high-quality, relevant, naturally-earned backlinks.
Contact Webmasters to Request Link Removal
If through your analysis you confirm links as artificial or spammy, consider reaching out to the webmasters of those sites.
Ask them politely if they would be willing to remove the links to your site.
Most quality sites want to avoid spam just as much as you do. So they may be open to deleting or nofollowing these links if contacted.
Proactively cleaning up low-quality links helps improve your overall backlink profile.
And it prevents you from wasting time waiting for artificial links to appear in Google Search Console or Moz.
FAQs About Backlinks Indexing Differences
Why are my backlinks showing up in Ahrefs but not Moz?
This is most often just a delay between Ahrefs indexing new links faster than Moz.
Give it more time as Moz’s index will catch up eventually. Ahrefs is more aggressive in detecting new links quickly.
How come I have way more backlinks in Ahrefs vs Google Search Console?
Google specifically only shows links from its own index, so it’s normal for Ahrefs to report higher numbers.
Ahrefs indexes many artificial links that Google ignores, like forum links. So take Ahrefs numbers with a grain of salt.
Are backlinks in Ahrefs but not Google worth worrying about?
Not necessarily. If they are quality links, the discrepancy is likely just indexing delays or limitations in what Google Search Console displays.
Focus on high-value links and don’t stress about automated links only Ahrefs indexes.
Should I disavow links showing in Ahrefs but not Moz or Google?
Only disavow clear spam links or site-wide links from low-quality websites.
Just because Google or Moz hasn’t indexed a link yet doesn’t inherently make it bad. Prioritize cleaning up obvious artificial/spammy links.
How long does it take for Google Search Console to index new backlinks?
Google Search Console can take 1-3 months to fully index and display new quality backlinks.
Its data also excludes some artificial links. So give it plenty of time to reflect accurate data on your strongest backlinks.
In summary, indexing differences between backlink tracking tools is very common and not inherently alarming.
Focus on high-quality links assessed manually, and allow sufficient time for links to populate across different indexes, especially Google Search Console.
With patience and smart analysis, indexing discrepancies can provide valuable context on your overall link profile.