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Catch 22 - The Quest for Inbound Links and PR
Web Footed Newbie




msg:413777
 10:12 pm on Aug 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Facts and assumptions
In an ever-ending struggle to make a website important, my friends here at WebmasterWorld say to have inbound links from important websites (PR4 and up). These links, like "votes," make your website more important in the eyes of Google, therefore improving your PageRank.

For webmasters in the know, doing an outbound link causes PR leakage, but to what degree no one is certain. This PR leakage causes webmasters (with good PR) NOT want to do an outbound link. After all, webmasters are hired to do SEO and SEM, increase traffic to the site, and not leak their good PR.

The Catch 22
In the real internet world, trying to get links from PR4 sites is quite difficult, particularly for competitive industries. So, on the one hand, you must get as many inbound links as possible from good PR sites to improve your site. On the other hand, you have very reluctant webmasters that will link to your site because of the fear of leaking PR. This, IMO, is the ultimate Catch 22.

The questions:
Do you find getting inbound links difficult from PR4 (and better) sites?
I've read the posts here, but how do you go about successfully getting inbound links?
How do you get inbound links without reciprocating?
And, on a much milder note, is getting inbound links actually taking advantage of webmasters that don't know about PR leakage?

As always, your thoughts are appreciated! WFN :)

 

jamesa




msg:413778
 1:28 am on Aug 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

PR leakage

This is a common misconception. If the home page on your site has a PR 6, you could put as many outbound links on it as you'd like and it will still be a PR 6. PR doesn't "leak".

What does happen is this. Let's say you have another page on your site that's a PR 4 and you want to give it a boost. If you put a single link on your PR 6 homepage to your PR 4 page, then all (100%) of the "voting" power of the PR 6 page is counted toward the PR 4 page. Great. But if instead your homepage has two links - one outbound and one internal - then the "voting" power of the internal link will be diminished by 50% (half of the voting power goes to the outbound and the other half to the inbound). But either way the homepage still remains a PR 6.

So the bottom line is that you don't lose PR by linking out, you just have less to pass around.

getting inbound links difficult from PR4 (and better) sites

I don't think that's the way to look at it. A link is a link, PR shouldn't matter. If you're a dentist and a local dentist directory with a PR2 wants to link to you then take it. I'd only look at PR to help make an educated guess as to whether you're linking out to a bad neighborhood.

takagi




msg:413779
 1:56 am on Aug 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

If the home page on your site has a PR 6, you could put as many outbound links on it as you'd like and it will still be a PR 6.
That is true if the site has only one page, or if none of the sub pages link back to the home page. As you wrote, the outbound links reduce the PR of the sub pages. On most sites the sub pages do link to the home page. Especially if the outbound links are not reciprocal, having a reduced PR on the sub pages will mean the home page also gets a lower PR.

That doesn't mean that outbound links are always bad for your traffic/ranking.

mil2k




msg:413780
 7:33 am on Aug 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

I will try to give you my point of view :)

Assumptions

my friends here at WebmasterWorld say to have inbound links from important websites (PR4 and up)

Please do not forget future PR 4 Pages. i.e. Sites whose Pages are PR 0 or 1 right now but will improve in future.

This PR leakage causes webmasters (with good PR) NOT want to do an outbound link

It totally depends on how well they manage their outbound links. And how you find such good sites. Some have requirements like minimum X amt of PR before we link to you. Keep a note of such sites and move ahead. It is a boring job to get links but the rewards are very satisfying. And then Once you reach that minimum PR contact again the respective webmasters.

The Catch 22

In the real internet world, trying to get links from PR4 sites is quite difficult, particularly for competitive industries.

If you manage your outbound links through a directory then you can ask for links from allied and other related industries.

On the other hand, you have very reluctant webmasters that will link to your site because of the fear of leaking PR.

If you encounter such people move ahead. Perseverance is the key. In the starting its difficult. But with time the link conversions should improve.

Do you find getting inbound links difficult from PR4 (and better) sites?

See its a simple thing. If you have PR 3 you will not get many PR 6 or 7 links in normal circumstances. So you look at getting links from PR 1,2,3,4,5 pages. Don't even think of contacting the PR 6,7,8 pages. Once you improve your PR through the PR 1-5 pages you can go to the next level. Also PR is secondary nowadays to "Anchor Text". I know a person who is Ranking Very good with his PR 0 site (only on basis of Keyword rich anchor Text from Pr 1-3 pages).

Do you find getting inbound links difficult from PR4 (and better) sites?

As said earlier if my Link pAGE pR IS 3 OR above then no. Otherwise yes.

I've read the posts here, but how do you go about successfully getting inbound links?

How can I get inbound links? [webmasterworld.com]

How do you get inbound links without reciprocating?

One Way Linking [webmasterworld.com]

And, on a much milder note, is getting inbound links actually taking advantage of webmasters that don't know about PR leakage?

Such Webmasters are very difficult to find ;)

HTH :)

Web Footed Newbie




msg:413781
 12:52 pm on Aug 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies.

Jamesa - good explanation, that was exactly what I was looking for as far as the "leakage" misconception

Mil2k- Good advice! Getting links from PR 0-1 sites, that may become 4's or 5's later, that's great!

WFN :)

fathom




msg:413782
 12:11 am on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just wanted to add since the dampening is about 85% and PageRank transfer is divided the number of outgoing likes on the page...

If your website has a link hierarchy (and most do), single link to an authority is very little "lose".

You really need to put this is perspective -- I'm sure everyone would prefer to get everything for free, never pay a penny but make tons.

PageRank is the lesser commodity of "ranked position" therefore giving a little of something lesser to something that has a wider distribution than you means you get more from a greater mass in return.

You can alway keep what you got, but then you get nothing more in return. ;)

davewray




msg:413783
 11:23 am on Aug 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Web footed newbie.

You ask, "How do I get links without reciprocating?"

It's not as hard as you think. Just look for sites in your industry who offer text/banner advertising on their main page. I'm sure you can find many PR4,5,6,7 sites in your niche that offer advertising on their main page. Sure, it may sound like "buying" PR, but afterall, they are just offering advertising space on their site. Not only that, if they are a site with good, quality traffic you site will also benefit from the referrals you receive from them.

I disagree with a previous post about how if you're a PR0 or 1 not to even try getting links from PR4,5 or 6 sites. Build a great site with good content. Email these site owners just to say hi. Link to them first (if you think their site would be useful to your visitors). Mention that you have a new site with some great content. Offer for them to check it out and then politely ask for some kind of partnership. Do you write articles? Offer them some articles. This way you're not just asking them for a link, but giving them good content for their site in exchange. Just a few ideas :)

Dave.

nakulgoyal




msg:413784
 1:38 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

All Big B's have iven the PERFECT explanations and advices and all that keeps me sticked here and everybody else at webmaster world.

One thing I wanted to point is that as people think Link Building is pretty tough, they end up using BAD sources or some peices of softwares...I don't wnat to name them publically here and everybody knows about the 2 softwares I am talking about. When you use them, you actually do spamming and u may get complained for.

I read another forums somewhere here where a member from UK got his website suspended for SPAM.

SO NEVER USE SOFTWARES. NO FFA LINKS. NO GUESTBOOK LINKS. NO LINK FARMS. NO SEARCH ENGINE CLOAKERS. USE 100% GENIUNE HTML Links.

Don't worry about PR as others said as you never know what teh PR for that page would be tomorrow ... and it always helps. SO stay tuned and keep getting links.

IT really helps in the long run...and I have always been explaing this to my clients who always run for PR. Am glad webmasterworld explains that better and probablly I will link this thread from one of my pages so people read everything and understand.

LInk Building REALLY works well. BUT be decent!

willybfriendly




msg:413785
 2:48 am on Aug 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you truly have unique, authoritative content, hit up the university and government sites for links. Almost always one way, and almost always pretty good PR. (Hint - some of these won't take commercial content. Put your non-commercial stuff up first, get your links, and then add your commercial stuff.)

WBF

Spogum




msg:413786
 11:36 am on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've read this forum on the topic of "PR leakage" several times, but I confess I'm still confused. Is there really such a thing as "leakage?"

Here are my assumptions (please correct me):

1. PR is page-specific, not site-specific. That is, there is no such thing as a "site's PR" -- what there IS is a maximum PR any page on the site can reach. This is determined by a) number of inbound links, b) PR of pages from which those inbound links come, c) number of pages on the site.

2. The only ways to increase this maximum PR is to get more / quality inbound links and add more pages.

3. The PR of any page on a site is determined by a) the number of internal and external INBOUND links it has.

4. Outbound links from a page don't reduce it's PR; they simply distribute the page's PR vote over the number of links.

5. You can increase a page's PR by using a navigational setup (internal link structure) where more links come into a page than leave it.

Now here's my question: Let's suppose you have a site of 10 pages or so, all pages interlinked. NOW, you add a "links page" with 50 outbound links.

What is the effect on other pages in the site?

Scenario 1: The links page is linked TO from the Index page, but is NOT backlinked to the Index page.

Scenario 2: The links page is interlinked with the Index page.

Is it that in Scenario 1, you've simply reduced the "vote" of the Index page by adding a outbound link?

I'm assuming that the vote from the links page in scenario two is very small, owing to the number of outbound links on the links page, but that the backlink doesn't actually HURT the index page. In other words, it doesn't create "leakage" of PR.

However, it WOULD reduce the PR of an any page that depended on the PR of a subpage, if you added links to that sub-page, reducing the "vote" of the subpage....?

buckworks




msg:413787
 12:09 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<However, it WOULD reduce the PR of an any page that depended on the PR of a subpage, if you added links to that sub-page, reducing the "vote" of the subpage....?>>

Yes, the concept of PR leakage is something like a feedback loop. Links out can affect the way PR "circulates" within your site.

My opinion is that when you're setting up internal navigation it's important to think about how PR will "flow" within your site, but after that, don't worry about it. In my experience the benefits of linking out to quality content outweigh the effects of any presumed "leak", so if you have a content-related reason to link out, just do it.

mil2k




msg:413788
 5:52 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes I agree completely with buckworks. The benefits of linking far outdo the benefits of devising strategies to reduce your Pr leakages.

When I first studied these minimizing the PR Leakage techniques I felt very proud of myself. Now with practical experience I have stopped bothering about PR leakages.

Also if you are maganimous enough to direct maximum PR to your links page/directory other sites will fall over themselves to get a link from you. Just think how benefecial that might be :)

Fruit and Veg




msg:413789
 6:44 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

I tend to agree with the 'don't-worry-about-it' attitude. Regarding link weight, leakage, etc - I give it a PR2 in the big scheme of things.

Firstly, concerning yourself about internal linkage and cutting back on internal links encourages poorly usable websites. People think I mustn't link to too many internal pages because of leakage - you could then end up with a home page that links to just one other page.

Secondly, I think it's short-sighted to rank a website purely on it's PR. If the site is good, well maintained and would be a benefit for your users, then link to it. I don't know if people have forgotton, but gaining or exchanging links is a traffic driver in itself.

Thirdly, as pointed out, things change. SiteA.com may have a PR2 but it maybe well run, have loads of good ideas and people running it. If they offer a link, you going to say no? In 6 months they could be the bees knees and too big to even consider a link to your lowly site later on.

Fourthly, Google's algorithm is not set in stone.

Remember, humans look at websites, and humans program the spiders that crawl websites.

Spogum




msg:413790
 7:51 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Folks,
thanks for your replies -- very helpful. Let's look at the problem from a different vantage point. Let's say, as is the case, that I'm a Search Engine Optimizer, and my objective is to create an external site for the purposes of creating many good links to a site that I'm trying to promote in the search engines. There is no concern about the user-friendliness of the external site, because I don't care whether anyone actually finds it.

So it's not so much worrying about the PR of my pages as it is the quality/power of the links that I create from site B to site A. (referred to as backlinks)

Now this issue is "how do I set up these links" to push the most PR to the target site. The quick answer seems to be: one link per page and get plenty of inbound links to THAT page -- both internal and external if possible. It also appears that I should also add useful pages to increase the PR of the pages on the B site.

In sum: if I want to promote site A, I can build site B, add many content-rich pages, add links to site A from a page in site B that uses the principles of PR distribution to optimize it's PR.

Is this correct?

PeterD




msg:413791
 8:33 pm on Sep 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Spogum: With each step of PR transfer, the damping factor applies. Since it multiplies at each step, elaborate efforts to channel PR more than a couple steps just get damped out. It's better to be direct. Why not just add the quality content directly to site A and forget about B?

Pete

mil2k




msg:413792
 7:26 am on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

hehe Spogum. Practical thoughts eh? ;) Anyways I understand what you want. Still believe me that cannot be achieved with a single site. You need a network of sites to achieve what you want. And if you are gonna make a network of sites why not make them in a sensible manner for traffic (so that they at least pay their own hosting costs)? Thats what the pros of this forums have taught me. HTH :)

Spogum




msg:413793
 3:56 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mil2k,
Yes, in fact, I do create a network of sites ala Michael Campbell's 'Mininet' strategy. I'm looking for ways to get each of the "supporting sites" to drive optimal page rank.

For instance, this conundrum that you folks might be able to answer quickly:

If I wanted to drive maximum PR OUT of a site that was composed of an Index page and ten other pages, which would be the best solution:

1) Interlink all 11 pages, then post an outbound link to the target site from just the Index page.

2) Interlink all 11 pages, and post an outbound link to the target site from ALL 11 pages.

3) Link the index page to a site map. Interlink the site map with the other 10 pages. Link each of the ten pages to the target site. (no link from the Index page to the target).

4) Link the index page to a site map and interlink the site map with the ten pages. Link each of the ten pages back to the Index page and post an outbound link from the Index page to the target site. (In this case, the index page has only 2 outbound links: one to the site map, one to the target site.)

I suspect getting an answer to this would require the understanding of PR distribution that I'm trying to get.

beren




msg:413794
 6:30 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

It must depend on what industry you're in and where you're trying to get links from. I donít run into this problem that often, because the people I try to get links from have different objectives from me. Most webmasters are NOT consciously trying to improve their sites' profile on the Internet, and most probably don't even know what PR is.

I doubt they think about diluting their own rank or increasing mine. I appeal to them for a link on the basis that: (1) our sites are complimentary, (2) my site would be of interest to their visitors, and (3) part of being on the Internet is linking to other sites.

Having a quality site is important because it increases the chances that the other sites will agree to link to you.

Sometimes they ask for a link back, which we never do. Likewise we get requests for links to other sites but never give them. This is because we want to avoid making our site look like a link farm to visitors/prospective customers, and because giving out too many links dilutes the effectiveness of linking to our other sites.

mil2k




msg:413795
 7:27 pm on Sep 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

Spogum :-

option 1 or 4 are best bet. But then there are other things you might want to consider. If all the eleven pages are authority pages link from each page might benefit. Also never think of a site as an individual entity. Always think about its webgraph. It offers a better overall idea. HTH :)

andrewcheyne




msg:413796
 5:50 am on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

when writing requests for link exchanges, are there any strategies to maximize response rates? i work for a consumer-oriented site and our content is top-flight. but we're new at approaching other sites about improving our pr, not sure whom to contact or what to say

thanks
andy

Spogum




msg:413797
 3:03 pm on Sep 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mil2k,
I'd be interested in the logic behind your choices of approaches 1 and 4 in my earlier memo.

fathom




msg:413798
 11:06 am on Sep 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

andrewcheyne forget about PageRank when requesting links... very, very few people understand what PageRank is, let alone why you mentioned it.

The manual - visitor the site take a look around find something that is of interest, important, maybe something you don't have on your site, and comment on it.

A quick look is see if any external links (outgoing) are on the site thus you are reasonably certain they "exchange" (or at least link out.

This may take a little longer (research wise) but the point is if you just end in the trash bind most of the time (because you really show no interest in the site you request a link from)... the latter is a waste of time, where the manual, seek, look, approach, and be specific generates far superior positive returns.

Anything worth while, take time and effort -- shortcuts are normally an illusion. :)

mil2k




msg:413799
 8:46 pm on Sep 18, 2003 (gmt 0)


Mil2k,
I'd be interested in the logic behind your choices of approaches 1 and 4 in my earlier memo.

Duplicates and the challenges search engines face [webmasterworld.com]

Thats one reason. There are many others. HTH

Spogum




msg:413800
 9:20 pm on Sep 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

Mil2k,
I'm still not sure about what you're saying -- having trouble making the jump from internal nav. structure to the issue of duplicate hosts/sites.

Are you suggesting that some internal nav. structures are less likely to appear to Google as coming from mirrored sites? I wonder if you could offer one concrete example and the logic of why or why not you would approach the problem...

anyone?

fathom




msg:413801
 5:10 am on Sep 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would guess the implied reason is maximizing the number of internal links per page (including the linking out page) would limit the loss of PageRank (the dreaded "PageRabe Leak).

Common sense says though "link appropriately for the visitor" and let Google determine your PageRank and ranking and then adjust your strategy to improve.

For those that are stuck in a PageRank Retention mode - unless you are dominately #1 in everything you target - this strategy is flawed.

Believe me - don't believe - no matter.

Another poster suggested they tried and saw no significant difference in PageRank - yet their ranks improved -- bearing that in mind; if you have never attempting it - you have no framework to back up your opinion, and just "opinion" doesn't hold much weight.

You need to prove or disprove assumptions as an assumption that is "unproven" is less correct than a disproven one.

mil2k




msg:413802
 2:13 pm on Sep 19, 2003 (gmt 0)

having trouble making the jump from internal nav. structure to the issue of duplicate hosts/sites.

I am not too fond of having multiple one way links from one site to another. It is my belief that the bonus in getting more than 1 link from a site is negligible. There are exceptions to this however. If the site is a real authority then getting multiple links from it might help. But for normal sites get a link from a home page.

These are just my views. HTH :)

Spogum




msg:413803
 3:19 pm on Sep 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Am intriqued by Fathom's implied suggestion that having multiple internal links among a sites' pages reduces the "PR leakage" through an external link on any given page on that site. Any other opinions on this?

fathom




msg:413804
 8:56 pm on Sep 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

Many look at this as "Oh my GOD - that external link drains me"!

Most of these people really don't view their website "page by page" (particularly when thinking about external links) and as PR is transferred to all links and divided the number of links unless the external link is the only link on the page not a lot is given away - thus -- not a lot is needed back.

You can actually prove this yourself:

1. Add a new page with only one link to it from where ever you think may be a good place to place an external link.

2. A strong PR5 page linking - will likely show PR1 on the toolbar (borderline PR2) for the new page - if about 20 links are using that passed PageRank. (more than 20 will not even register). Even if this shows PR1 - how many PR1 links only do you need to make a PR5?

Now flip this model totally around - if someone requested a link from you from your PR5 page, and they only had a PR1 -- what would be your likely response?

People concerned about PageRank probably wouldn't ever respond.

In saying that - PageRank retention is not PageRank development.

Small Website Guy




msg:413805
 7:21 pm on Sep 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I may respond to the original topic, which was the Catch 22 aspect of linking, my two cents is that it very much depends on what industry or area you're in.

My first attempt at building a website was in a very tough industry in which only the savvy operators have high PageRank and they aren't interested in helping you unless you can help them back, and a link from a PR0 site doesn't do them any good.

People on this forum say "just ask other webmasters for links" and they made it seem so easy and I wondered what they were talking about.

This month I created a website in a niche area, let's call it Widgets and Wodgets. It's an area in which webmasters are often evangelical about "the cause", and new Widgets and Wodgets websites are viewed not as competition, but as welcome additions to the community. It also helps that my site is somewhat unique and provides genuinely useful and entertaining (I hope) information about Widgets and Wodgets (unlike many sites which are obvious shams and the webmaster's obvious goal is just get money from links to affiliate programs -- I have a personal interest in widgets and wodgets).

Although it took a lot of work and following links around, I was able to get several links from other webmasters, and now the site is getting over 100 hits a day even though I only started it this month. Unfortunately, I don't really see how to make money from the site :(

So how difficult it is to get inbound links depends a lot on what kind of site you have.

fathom




msg:413806
 10:47 pm on Sep 21, 2003 (gmt 0)

It is hard work - like doing homework for school, and the eventual final exam.

If you put the effort in (research the site/owners you would like a link from, and spin the request as a benefit to them -- not yourself) the payoff is there - if you don't - well... like anything else > what expectations do you have from little effort?

Think about visitors and content (in requests)... not links and PageRank.

This 33 message thread spans 2 pages: 33 ( [1] 2 > >
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