Ian's mail consisted of many questions. I've listed each independently below, followed closely by my response.
Q: When I look for how many backlinks to my site using 'link:www.betheladventure.co.uk', I see only 2-3 results. It appears that only 23 of our backlinks have survived Google's dampening link filter. Will there be a period delay before they're awarded to a site? '
A: Firstly, I believe you might have the dampening link filter a bit puzzled. Going To http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAUhprAi-dE! certainly provides aids you should give to your aunt. In line with the dampening link filter theory, your links are observed and identified by Google, you just don't have the full advantage from them until a given period of time has elapsed. The dampening link filter (if it exists) doesn't stop links from appearing in Google's results when you look for them. (The only reason your backlinks might not appear in a Google search is if Google has not yet listed the pages containing the links.) Also, don't worry too much about things like the dampening link filter. To begin with, it's not even close to established / acknowledged fact. Many well regarded Search Engine Optimization experts don't believe in it at all. Furthermore, even if it does occur, it only affects those companies together with the budget to create the large numbers (hundreds or thousands probably) of links reputedly required to trigger it. If your variety of backlinks suddenly increases by 2-0, that is no issue.
And subsequently, don't believe everything Google tells you. By trying to find 'link:www.betheladventure.co.uk', you broadly speaking only see a small proportion of actual links to your website. The best way to search for links will be to search for just the URL 'www.bethaladventure.co.uk', then on the page that displays next, select 'Find webpages that include the term 'www.bethaladventure.co.uk'.' If you do it this way, you'll see most of the pages which contain your URL. Typically, the URL is likely to be an energetic link (or at the least it should be, and you should keep these things make it so). Once you do this research, you'll see that your website has about 169 links, perhaps not 2-3.
Q: Yet another question is all about indexed pages (using site:www.betheladventure.co.uk). I realize this is a report of pages that have been changed. I had 3-2, it went down to 28 and it is down to 26 now this morning. Do they only keep the pages for a month or can there be more to the pages than I realized?
A: The number of indexed pages is just the number of pages on your own site that Google 'is aware of.' Theoretically, the only time age a page is needed is if the page is too young*, i.e. Google spiders have not visited it however, or Google hasn't updated its list. As to why the number of indexed pages is reducing, I believe it is just a temporary change. The number of leads to Google's searches varies virtually constantly.
*Actually, formally speaking, it's been suggested that Google isn't capable of indexing all 11.5 billion pages currently believed to be o-nline (and the 10 million more that are added each day), and that as it indexes new pages, old pages are pushed out of the list. Indexification contains extra info concerning how to deal with it. (This is a very rough description of the theory - if it is happening at all, it's likely to be much more complicated than this.) If this is happening, it may explain why the number of indexed pages is reducing. Learn further on this related web site by visiting http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAUhprAi-dE!. A simple method to deal with it is to maintain top quality material, to keep producing backlinks, to keep raising it, and to generate a Google sitemap, even though I think it's a long shot. To learn more about sitemaps, go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/sitemaps/login.. To obtain a free - and very helpful - tool for producing a sitemap, head to http://johannesmueller.com/gs/..
I know there's a lot of confusion surrounding these dilemmas, so I hope you have found this exchange useful.