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Link Development Forum

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >     
Reciprocal links page is good or bad?
Settle an argument for me
Crush




msg:414307
 11:59 am on Sep 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am having an argument with my brother. I want a links page and he wants to keep our site "clean".

I beleive if you have a links page made in a directory style it will not get page rank 0.

My brother on the other hand wants to get sites to link to our "clean" site and we reciprocate from a site we have with a links page. He thinks that judgement day is coming for those who have links pages.

I agree the second is safer but the problem is people think we are pulling a fast one on them and generally refuse to link back.

As our sites is in the travel industry it is extremely competitive and our competition has got in some cases 1000's of back links.

What would you do?

 

SlyOldDog




msg:414308
 12:02 pm on Sep 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

[google.com...]

I am Crush's brother :)

Mark_A




msg:414309
 12:26 am on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

my feelings ....

Its pretty clear to me when links are there for a valid reason and when not.

When you go looking for inward links do you do so on the basis of

1. this is a site on which I would be happy for a link to be present to send real visitors to my site ..

2. Or do you just look at the google pr of the page you could get the link on..

If 1 then those pages - if they ask for a reciprical link - should also not be pages which you would be ashamed your visitors also visit .. therefore also not ashamed you visitors can see ... If you would be ashamed to have their link on your site ... my feeling is dont get a link on theirs :-)

If its ethical and value adding for your visitors .. then its imho very unlikely google will mistake you for an ffa site [unless that is you are :-) ].

martinibuster




msg:414310
 1:20 am on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

or setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling search engines may result in permanent removal from our index.

There's nothing there that prohibits a reciprocal link exchange. The above quote references doorway and hallway pages, not reciprocal link pages.

Reciprocal links are good because, as long as they are on topic, they are forming neighborhoods on the internet- all of them relevant for a single general topic. These are called good neighborhoods.

AskJeeves looks for these naturally occurring neighborhoods because it is assumed that like minded sites will naturally form communities, and that if you aren't in a neighborhood, you must not be worthy enough; in other words, your site is very likely not going to be much of an authority, if the neighborhood doesn't embrace you.

Google not only keeps an authority score (inbound links), but a hub score (outbound links) as well. Just don't link to bad neighborhoods [googlesite.google.com].

So you see, even Google uses the rhetoric of neighborhoods. If there are bad neighborhoods, then that means that there are good neighborhoods. What do you suppose comprise those good neighborhoods?

[edited by: martinibuster at 1:41 am (utc) on Sep. 3, 2003]

Conard




msg:414311
 1:31 am on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that the WWW stands for World Wide Web and that name was based on links from site to site. Right?
Some times we feel more like the meaning is the Wild Wild West and all of the ducking and weaving and .htaccess files we deal with makes us look over our shoulders before and after every move we make.
If any search engine has the power to kill friendly link exchanges then that will be the day when we all sing "The day the Internet Died".

dirkz




msg:414312
 9:54 am on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Conard, you are absolutely right.

I'm just building some kind of directory to related sites in different categories. I will only admit sites that have high quality (not talking about PR) and add value to my visitors. And I will of course expect a link back.

Links are the foundation of the web, and they are there for surfers, not search engines.

If search engine A penalizes me, I don't care that much, because it's all about visitors, not crawlers, and you can even get visitors without crawlers :)

Just don't link to unrelated sites or just because you want the PR.

netcommr




msg:414313
 11:16 am on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

If search engine A penalizes me, I don't care..
liar ;) just kidding.

back to topic...

I want a links page and he wants to keep our site "clean".
what?

listen, if you have a page for links fine, just don't put one up for some other site to read. Make sure it has usefullness to your users. If it is a service to visitors, great, forget any other reason. BUT, if you put up any page just for the purpose of getting seen by another site so they list you higher in results, YOUR AN IDIOT! ya, I said that. Get off this stupid trip of links pages, they don't help your site.

instead of wasting time wondering how much pr will be past to your site from some stupid link site/page, why not spend more time on thinking away from keyword stuff and focus on things like usefull urls for your users to remember, instead of some dumb engine that may change tomorrow.

do you want 10,000 visitors or 5 buyers? (that come back often)

Some might argue that, in a perfect world, URLs would be used only by machines, hidden entirely from users. But in our imperfect world, users have come to depend on URLs to communicate key information as they navigate through the Web. Systems that donít take this user behavior into account pull the rug out from under users who have come to rely on readable URLs. Recognizing that people really do read URLs ó and, in turn, making those URLs easy for people to read ó is really just an extension of the user-centered philosophy of design. Itís all about creating systems that work the way people work, rather than the way technology works.
focus on this to get your mind off link pages: user centered urls [adaptivepath.com]

BOTTOM LINE: is the links page for you or your visitors? If I was a visitor and your page was for you, my first response is 'screw you', but if your page helps me, then 'thank you'. Once you get in that frame of mind, it gets very easy to figure out which way to go..................

jbinbpt




msg:414314
 12:13 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

We spend a lot of time worrying about Google and what she will think of us.

The problem with that is that she is worrying about us and what we will think of her.

We keep changing our pages and she keeps changing the algo. Guess what, we will never code smarter than Google since she keeps the rules to herself.

How do we stop this? We design for the user. Pretend that search engines do not exist. Once that contextual framework is done, then enhance for all search engines, not just Google.

If a links page works for the user then go for it, but I believe that it is proper to add those links into the content where they apply. If your content is strong enough, the user will come back to you.

rogerd




msg:414315
 1:12 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

There's nothing wrong with a links page, and sometimes a links page or directory is the best way to lead your visitors to other useful resources. If a list of widget-maker sites would be useful to your visitors, grouping these listings together on one page might be better than working each link into content.

Put some content onto the page, and include a site description rather than a bare link. I'd avoid the word "reciprocal" completely, and not just for search engine reasons - it implies to your visitor that the only reason you are linking to these sites is because they link back.

SlyOldDog




msg:414316
 2:00 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I find it hard to believe what I am reading here. Perhaps it's because I'm in the link development forum and you guys have been here so long you have convinced each other this is normal.

Everywhere I look I see reciprocal link schemes popping which are not even run by people anymore. It's just "add your link" - then a crawler comes a couple days later and checks you have reciprocated. If you haven't you get an automated rejection e-mail. Nobody checks the relevance of your link.

There are hardly ANY sites I know of which have legitimate link pages anymore. Just about the only decent one I know of is DMOZ.

Links for the user? Ha! Don't flatter yourself.

These link schemes are DIRTY and are of no use to anyone or any search engine.

Nettcommr said>>Get off this stupid trip of links pages, they don't help your site.

I beg to differ. Some of our sites are living proof they do.

Crush




msg:414317
 3:25 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I want to get my site number one for Widget Hotels, I have to beat the next guy who has a well optimised site with a zillion back links. I have to have one zillion and one to beat him.

To get that many relevant backlinks I have to go way off topic and there are just not enough sites on topic to beat my competitor. Reality is I have to get links from anywhere to be #1. Sad but true.

If there is any other "honest" way to be number one without a load of backlinks please tell me!

trillianjedi




msg:414318
 3:30 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

If there is any other "honest" way to be number one without a load of backlinks please tell me!

High quality, on topic backlinks with anchor text from on-topic websites.

TJ

Mark_A




msg:414319
 3:38 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are you certain that internal linking cannot improve you relevance for that term over your competitor?

How many times does that phrase appear in his site, ( how often in anchor text) compared to yours and are his own inside site links from high PR pages?

You may be right that you may have to bend some basic ethics to win but making it with duplicate content seems silly to me. Why not make some different content sites to suppport your main one?

Apart from that, its not only basic rank that causes people to click, can you make your listings appear more attractive to specific searchers than his? assuming you are both near the same listings .. that may also cause your CTR to be improved ..

There is also a strategy of indirect competition, there must be more than a few phrases that pay .. are you caught against the same competitors all the time, perhaps some lateral thinking is required to get round them and target some ground that they have missed for the time being.

Then there is user attrition rates, do you give a more relationship or sticky experience to users on your site than the competition do, if so users will migrate to your site over time.

Interested to hear what you think about that.

martinibuster




msg:414320
 3:38 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yeah,
A high quality backlink will beat a fistful of "links" any day of the week. I've got a client with few backlinks, versus a PR 7 behemoth with years of backlinks, pages and pages of reciprocal links I couldn't hope to replicate.

But guess who is in the top 5 across the board and who isn't? Quality seems to beat quantity.

A slingshot made up of quality crafted links will take down any Goliath. I know because I do it all the time.

But my previous statement, about being in the right neighborhood by participating in link exchanges still stands.

SlyOldDog




msg:414321
 4:30 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Mark_A. You had some interesting points.

Are you certain that internal linking cannot improve you relevance for that term over your competitor?
How many times does that phrase appear in his site, ( how often in anchor text) compared to yours and are his own inside site links from high PR pages?

Yes, done that when we designed the site ;)

You may be right that you may have to bend some basic ethics to win but making it with duplicate content seems silly to me. Why not make some different content sites to suppport your main one?

Done that. By the way, we are not duplicating any content. We are talking about adding a links page to our site.

Apart from that, its not only basic rank that causes people to click, can you make your listings appear more attractive to specific searchers than his? assuming you are both near the same listings .. that may also cause your CTR to be improved ..

On the particular sites in question we have just started so we aren't ranking well yet.

There is also a strategy of indirect competition, there must be more than a few phrases that pay .. are you caught against the same competitors all the time, perhaps some lateral thinking is required to get round them and target some ground that they have missed for the time being.

Yes, we do that too. We normally target similar products too. Truth is though, in our industry there are only 2 main keywords.

Then there is user attrition rates, do you give a more relationship or sticky experience to users on your site than the competition do, if so users will migrate to your site over time.

Hard to say without knowing our customers' stats ;)

I know where you are coming from though. Still the question here is not about drawing quality traffic, but the legitimacy of adding a links directory to your site.

martinibuster




msg:414322
 4:38 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

How many times does that phrase appear in his site

Internal optimized links seemed to have been dampened.

Trisha




msg:414323
 5:11 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Everywhere I look I see reciprocal link schemes popping which are not even run by people anymore. It's just "add your link" - then a crawler comes a couple days later and checks you have reciprocated. If you haven't you get an automated rejection e-mail. Nobody checks the relevance of your link.

There are hardly ANY sites I know of which have legitimate link pages anymore. ...

SlyOldDog - While there are a lot of links pages like the ones you describe above, they are not all that way. Mine aren't. I turn down quite a few link requests - most of the ones that approach me first are pretty spammy. I check sites out carefully before linking to them. And I do think about whether or not a link to the other site will help the user.

While it is hard to find good sites to exchange link with, it is possible.

Mark_A




msg:414324
 5:16 pm on Sep 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

sorry SlyOldDog I did muddle your thread with another in my mind which is about a site with thousands of pages considering making an almost duplicate one so that he can link the two together.

Apologies about that.

Widestrides




msg:414325
 11:06 am on Sep 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Can you have TOO many outbound links? If you have more outbound links than inbound links, is that looked upon unfavorably by Google? Is there a good ratio to keep in mind?

Thanks.

mfishy




msg:414326
 9:25 pm on Sep 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<A high quality backlink will beat a fistful of "links" any day of the week.>>

I was thinking that the exact opposite seems to be more true than ever, in terms of Google.

It used to be that links from clean, high PR pages seemed to mean a lot more. Now, in an effort to combat the sale of PR, the importance of quality seems to be greatly downgraded in favor of sheer volume of backlinks.

Watcher of the Skies




msg:414327
 9:54 pm on Sep 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

absolutely true, mfishy - pay attention all.....

mil2k




msg:414328
 3:59 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

sheer volume of backlinks.

Sheer volume of anchor text you mean ;)

trillianjedi




msg:414329
 4:41 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sheer volume of anchor text you mean ;)

That is about 95% of it in google at the moment.

Don't forget though, a quality backlink may actually bring you more traffic.

TJ

tufty




msg:414330
 5:32 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree it seems to be a numbers game at the moment anchor text is king.

It combats the buying of high PR links but I am seeing a lot more automated guest book spamming.

Tufty

martinibuster




msg:414331
 5:48 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry folks- no details, but I am watching a brand new website with ONE quality backlink that is sitting at number one and number two for several competitive two-word keyword phrases- beating older, higher PR websites by virtue of that one inbound, matched to the on the page content.

This inbound was not solicited. I was surprised to see it. They found quality content and decided to link to it.

I'm not saying I'm a superstar SEO, but if my success is at odds with your failure, I would suggest you revisit your technique. If you can't get anywhere with one high quality inbound (pr5 and up, and duplicate the above, then it's not the algo, it's something else.

martinibuster




msg:414332
 6:00 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Now, in an effort to combat the sale of PR, the importance of quality seems to be greatly downgraded in favor of sheer volume of backlinks.

How does downgrading "quality" impact the sale of PR?

If you want to know how they could conceivably downgrade purchased and guestbook links, one way would be to deprecate inbounds from off-topic pages. That is not conjecture, I heard that at the SES in San Jose by one of the Google panelists. I'm not saying it's true or happening, but I am saying that I heard it from a reliable source.

Just because you have two or three folks nodding their heads around a theory doesn't make it true. There are plenty of crackpot ideas around and plenty of people to agree to them.

I don't mean offense to anyone, I just wanted to point out that the quality of the observations in this thread would benefit from some healthy skepticism.

It's significant that when someone mistakenly posted to this thread, thinking it was a different thread, that one of the co-originators of the discussion remarked that they were really good points.

What?

Widestrides




msg:414333
 6:39 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I agree that inbound links from on topic, relevant sites are viewed very favorably by Google. But I don't see how you could be penalized for a link from an "off-topic" site. How can a bot really know something is "off-topic." There may be some very good reason for that seemingly "off-topic" link. So, maybe you wouldn't get full credit for it, but Google shouldn't/wouldn't penalize for it. Would they? It would be too arbitrary and would certainly cause some injustice. IMHO

martinibuster




msg:414334
 7:00 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

But I don't see how you could be penalized for a link from an "off-topic" site.

It's not a penalty. If you step back from any self-interested motivations for acquiring PR, and instead focus on Google's focus on relevance, then this makes 100% sense.

For instance, if you want to deliver relevant results on Widget Construction, then it makes sense to return a site that has "votes" from other sites related to Widget Construction, other sites that are in the same "neighborhood" (Please re-read my first post, message#4).

If you return results based solely on quantity of votes, then the results returned are more relevant for ambitious Widget Construction sites that like to sign guestbooks- but not neccessarily the most relevant result.

How can a bot really know something is "off-topic."
A bot only collects information.

There may be some very good reason for that seemingly "off-topic" link.

You mean like for a web designer? The Google rep stated that a link from a hair dresser web site is not relevant for "web design." It doesn't speak to the issue of "relevance."

It would be too arbitrary and would certainly cause some injustice.

There is nothing arbitrary about looking for "relevant" votes.

Remember this: A link is not a conduit for PageRank- get yourself out of the habit of thinking that way.

A link is a vote. A vote from a relevant site puts you into a good neighborhood and directs relevant traffic to you- regardless of how the search engines happen to feel about it that day.

SlyOldDog




msg:414335
 7:48 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's significant that when someone mistakenly posted to this thread, thinking it was a different thread, that one of the co-originators of the discussion remarked that they were really good points.

What?

Hey man, I was just being polite ;) If you read the last sentence in my reply you'll see that.

I'll come down on both sides of the fence in the quality links debate. We have sites that do well with both strategies. We don't mix and match them. It's either quality links or large volumes of link swaps. That was the reason for starting this thread. My brother wants to start mixing and I disagree because I think at some point the links pages may not only be ignored, but may be penalised for endulging in SEO. At least then we'll have a couple of sites that don't get slaughtered in the cull. Of course it's total conjecture, but in the internet world I don't think the past is a guide to the future. The only constant is change.

martinibuster




msg:414336
 8:07 pm on Sep 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'll come down on both sides of the fence in the quality links debate.

Ouch, that's gotta hurt.
;)

Yup, you have some compelling reasons.

This 32 message thread spans 2 pages: 32 ( [1] 2 > >
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