What does `incoming link count` in discourse database mean?

I was hoping that incoming link count for a post in discourse database means no. of times external websites have mentioned that post in their content… But the numbers that I have are too high to believe that.
Could someone please explain what does incoming link count mean?

1 Like

I believe it is the number of incoming links from the forum itself, that is, the number of other posts that have linked to that post.

There is no rational way to determine how many times external websites have linked to a place without crawling the entire web, like Google.

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I looked at the code and it seems like incoming_link_count is similar to the “topic_views” table except it doesn’t increment the incoming_link_count when the request format is json.

Here’s the relevant lines in topics_controller.rb

  def track_visit_to_topic
    topic_id =  @topic_view.topic.id
    ip = request.remote_ip
    user_id = (current_user.id if current_user)
    track_visit = should_track_visit_to_topic?

    if !request.format.json?
      hash = {
        referer: request.referer || flash[:referer],
        host: request.host,
        current_user: current_user,
        topic_id: @topic_view.topic.id,
        post_number: @topic_view.current_post_number,
        username: request['u'],
        ip_address: request.remote_ip
      }
      # defer this way so we do not capture the whole controller
      # in the closure
      TopicsController.defer_add_incoming_link(hash)
    end

    TopicsController.defer_track_visit(topic_id, ip, user_id, track_visit)
  end

I was hoping this column would tell me the number of times someone arrived at this topic from an external link (including external search engines) vs clicking internal links.