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Relevant Links...what are they?
And does it really matter?
ken_b




msg:424912
 8:36 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

The subject of relevant links is appears all over WW. I thought a single discuusion of the topic might be usefull, maybe even fun. It might also be usefull to discuss whether the relevancy of a link matters at all.

From my limited perspective the relevancy of links is, well relative.

A starting point

Lets use a site dedicated to antique and classic widgets as an example. These old widgets come in many styles and from many manufactures all around the world. Some are rather plain, functional devices, others are clearly in the luxury prestige category and, having been made in very small numbers originally, are valued accordingly.

Owning, maintaining and operating the antique and classic widgets is an expensive hobby for some. Others are in the business of selling these great old widgets, servicing them, etc. There are also lots of clubs dedicated to these old widgets, or a subset of them.

OK, from my perspective any link between any of the above mention groups could be considered relevant, at least in general.

But wait. Is a link from a luxury prestige old widget site relevant to a site focused exclusively on the preservation of the peoples widget which was manufactured, with modest and incremental improvements, in the multi-millions for over 50 years? I mean the luxury prestige old widget was only made for a few years and in very limited numbers. Can these two sites be relevant to each other?

Now lets go a little farther out.

Well, well..... after wandering around the web for a while the luxury prestige old widget webmaster comes upon a finacial website that is obvisously targeted at folks who have lots of money available, and who might easily be able to afford an old luxury prestige widget.

Should the old widget webmaster try to get a link from the financial site?

Should he link to the financial site?

Does it make sense for the old widget webmaster to ask the financial site for an inbound link while not offering a reciprical link?

Is it more relevant for the finacial site to link to the old widget site than it is for the old widget site to link to the financial site?

Now on to something closer to home.

The folks who own these old widgets love to get together and show their old widgets to other old widget owners and the public.

So the old widget webmaster goes wandering off about the www again and one day stumbles upon a website selling old clothes.

Man! He thinks this would be a great place for his target viewer to find old clothes to wear to events where they show their old widgets!

Is it really releavant fo the old widget webmaster to link to the old clothing site?

What about the old clothing site linking to the old widget site? Is that relevant to the clothing sites viewers?

Even closer to home

In his meandering about the old widget webmaster comes across the site of another old widget webmaster. The sites are very similar in focus, but the differ in the geographical origin of the old widgets.

Among the many old widgets on either site are a few from the others main point of origin.

Would links between these two sites be relevant?

Whoopssss....lost in cyberspace

Our original old widget webmaster, being somewhat short in the attention span department, got lost in cyberspace and wound up visiting Dans' Dishwasher Repair Site.

Dan doesn't even know old widgets exist, nor does he apparent care, but he apparent does know how to build a popular website. On top of that he has only a few out going links from his PR8 home page.

If the old widget webmaster could somehow convince Dan the Dishwasher Repairman to link to the old widget website, would it be a relevant link?

Back on the road again

The old widget webmaster wrote an article for his website about an up coming gatering of old widget owners and thier old widgets.

Would it be relevant for him to go looking for some hotel websites in the city where the event is going to be held and include them in his article?

What about hotels located on the way to the destination city?

Wait...."on the way"? From where? Where does the relevancy start or end here?

And then again...

Does any of this really matter? Is a link from the virtually unknown hammer forging site really less relevant than a link from the world famous old widget club site?

 

leeclark




msg:424913
 8:44 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

May be its true that relevance lies in the eye of the spider?

Lee Clark

ken_b




msg:424914
 9:10 pm on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

Darn spiders!

They certainly can add another dimension to the concept of relevancy though.

A human visitor to the financial website might clearly see the relevance of a link to the old widgets webite, especially if it was focused on the luxury prestige old widgets.

The spider might have more trouble with that, unless it was very well trained of course.

hobbnet




msg:424915
 1:11 am on Sep 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great thoughts, but sadly, I have no idea/proof as to how relevant relevancy is in the SEO world.

I know it is said here in WW that relevant links are very important in regards to SEO. Personally, I find it hard to believe relevant links make much of a difference from an SEO stand point.

Although, I do believe there is value in relevant links because users will be more likely to click on links that are relevant to what they are already reading.

mil2k




msg:424916
 8:13 pm on Sep 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Personally, I find it hard to believe relevant links make much of a difference from an SEO stand point.

The way things currently stand I will second that ;)

Although, I do believe there is value in relevant links because users will be more likely to click on links that are relevant to what they are already reading.

Just to give another viewpoint it may also be I already have read enough content and am bored of it now. If your site recomends some other good site of different niche I might even check it out. Just a possibility worth considering :)

deejay




msg:424917
 8:22 pm on Sep 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'll second mil2k on both scores.

But at the end of the day, I think you have to ask yourself what you want to be:

*the best damn widget site in the world for widget-minded folk*

or

*everything-to-everyone-but-it-ain't-no-DMOZ remind-me-why-we-built-this-again*


shasan




msg:424918
 8:32 pm on Sep 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

I guess it just comes back to not fretting about the spiders and focusing on the market and on the customers.

But then again, the spiders CAN make our life miserable if we do something wrong without knowing it.

what a tangled web.

mfishy




msg:424919
 11:03 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<Personally, I find it hard to believe relevant links make much of a difference from an SEO stand point.>>

The "relevancy" of links does not matter.

The myth that "relevant" links somehow matter for SEO has been going forever around here. I hope new webmasters don't read this board and turn down links :)

As many links as you can possibly get is the key. Buy, trade, swap, steal, or manufacture links. Just get them.

Oh, BTW, stop worrying about PR as well, it has barely matteres for some time now.

For the agressive link people, this is the golden era at google :)

ken_b




msg:424920
 2:58 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

mfishy

The "relevancy" of links does not matter.

To the Google algo, or to a sites human visitors/users?

KevinC




msg:424921
 8:09 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

I may not be as experience as some members on this board but I find it hard to believe that relevancy doesn't matter.

A link from SITEA to SITEB with the anchor text "widgets" helps make SITEB relevant for "widgets" - we can all agree with that.

If SITEA has lots of links to it with the anchor text "widgets"(thus making it relevant for the term) - Is it really that much of a stretch to believe that this relevancy will passed through the link to SITEB?

I would say that a link from this site would hold much more weight then a link from a totally un related site.

martinibuster




msg:424922
 8:18 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

As many links as you can possibly get is the key.

Try selling that to the Guestbook link hunters.

mfishy




msg:424923
 12:47 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<To the Google algo, or to a sites human visitors/users? >>

I was responding to the following: <<Personally, I find it hard to believe relevant links make much of a difference from an SEO stand point.>>

He was spesking of seo.

Never thought much about what visitors think about my link on someone ELSES site.

<<Try selling that to the Guestbook link hunters.>>

They already know that and that is why they dominated the SERPS for a while. Now, most of them are on to blogs and link exchanges :)

Please explain how a backlink can ever hurt you?

The more the merrier. Let Google sort them out in the end.

It is a link driven world and the greedy are getting fatter by the day.

BlueSky




msg:424924
 1:51 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I may not be as experience as some members on this board but I find it hard to believe that relevancy doesn't matter....I would say that a link from this site would hold much more weight then a link from a totally un related site.

I agree. I think it takes way less links to get the same results (or even better) when they come from the same subject related sites.

martinibuster




msg:424925
 2:27 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Please explain how a backlink can ever hurt you?

With Google, the irrelevant links won't hurt you... for now. They may not necessarily help you either. Might hurt you with Jeeves and others, though.

If you take a short term view then yeah, the more the merrier. But short term optimization is too much work for me: the work never stops.

Long term is more satisfying- I like to have the time for drinkies, and also a cigar now and then.

Back on topic, I like to develop "partnerships" with the people I link with. It doesn't happen with everyone, but I encourage it. The business opportunities only begin with the link. I've turned down several potential linkers (on behalf of a client) because my cient only links to partners that are interested in exploring opportunities to make $, not in swapping .52 of PR.

For certain scenarios, link Buddies are out, link partners are in.

mfishy




msg:424926
 10:19 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<I may not be as experience as some members on this board but I find it hard to believe that relevancy doesn't matter....I would say that a link from this site would hold much more weight then a link from a totally un related site. >>

This simply is not the case for Google. If you can get a link from the Yahoo! home page, go for it - even if your site is about tennis shoes.

So, you think that Google has determined a way to guage relevancy of linking sites? If I have a site about buying cars, than surely a loan site and an insurance site are relevant. How does Google know this again? :)

<<If you take a short term view then yeah, the more the merrier.>>

I'm not clear on what you mean.

Why is tons of free advertising and link popularity a short term view?

Why turn down a link when it can generate sales and possibly help search engine ranking?

I see aggressive link campaigns as a good long term strategy.

<<With Google, the irrelevant links won't hurt you... for now. They may not necessarily help you either. Might hurt you with Jeeves and others, though. >>

Hehe, come on, if google or any of the se's make irrelevant links hurt you, it will become a free-for-all of bad linking to competitors. Links TO your site can't hurt you.

As far as Jeeves, I have hundreds of top 10 rankings with them and generate about 100 hits per week. I like to be prepared for changes but I'm not to worried about Teoma/ask.

<<Long term is more satisfying- I like to have the time for drinkies, and also a cigar now and then. >>

I like to have the money to buy the whole pub :)

KevinC




msg:424927
 5:02 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

If I have a site about buying cars, than surely a loan site and an insurance site are relevant. How does Google know this again?

Well the way google could reconize a relevant link is if the linking page has anchor text pointing to it that relates to your site - also Title and H1 of the linking page can easily be used to check for relevancy.

Sure maybe google can't see the relevancy of your above example - but if a site about cars links to my site about cars, thats gonna hold more weight then an off topic link.

I mean my site about cars must be pretty great if another site about cars is willing to link to it.

I wouldn't say turn down links - I agree you can't have too many - But if your looking to maximize a link then the more relevant the better.

hmm Wheres Fathom ;)

mfishy




msg:424928
 5:38 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<Sure maybe google can't see the relevancy of your above example - but if a site about cars links to my site about cars, thats gonna hold more weight then an off topic link. >>

What makes you think this is so, in regards to Google? All the evidence I have seen across hundreds of sites suggests this is not the case.

It seems like people here WANT it to be true, when in reality it simply is not the case.

ken_b




msg:424929
 5:53 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think we're talking about what may be two different things here.

1: What seems relevant to the search engines.

2: What's relevant to the user.

At what point do those two perspectives cross paths?

Can they be merged succesfully?

KevinC




msg:424930
 5:59 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

From my limited experience I have seen relevancy hold a lot of weight. I've seen my site jump 100 spots with one update because of 2-3 highly relevant links(and no these were not high PR sites).

Of course I can't prove this - all I can say is I believe its happening - I'm sure there are other members that can provide some proof.

It seems to make sense that if google looks at my incoming anchor text, title and H1 tag to see if I'm relevant. Then why wouldn't they compare this with the linking page's attributes?

for the record I'm talking about strictly relevant in the SE's eyes - not visitors.

mfishy




msg:424931
 6:18 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

<<Then why wouldn't they compare this with the linking page's attributes? >>

Simply because it does not help return more relevant results.

KevinC




msg:424932
 6:31 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

well I'm not sure I agree.

If google ranks a site #1 for cars - that means google thinks this site is the best site on cars.

Well wouldn't a link from the best site on cars be a stronger vote for my site on cars then one from a site about dogs?

This seems to make sense to me, although SE may not be quite at this level yet. Its certainly the strategy I'm gonna follow.

Kirby




msg:424933
 9:39 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

If google ranks a site #1 for cars - that means google thinks this site is the best site on cars.

No it doesn't. It just means this site hits on more cylinders within the algo than the next site. At the moment that means links and anchor text!

People give google too much credit. Google doesn't (maybe can't, I don't know) parse meaning, from links or anywhere else, otherwise content would count for more. University pages on topic would outrank affiliate sites, and we know that isnt happening.

Kirby




msg:424934
 9:54 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

The best we can do in the meantime is "fake it" -- either by pretending to understand text even though we don't, or by leveraging human intelligence to do our computations. That's what PageRank does: it makes use of the links that people make between Web pages even though it doesn't understand why exactly someone decided to make a link between page A and page B.

Craig Silverstein, September 30, 2003 in this article article [insight.zdnet.co.uk]

otnot




msg:424935
 11:28 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi:
I have a site that only had 125 inbound links and was ranked #33 for an pretty tough KW. Four weeks ago I decided to h--- with relevant links and started linking to every site I could. Now I have 202 inbound links and I'm in the top ten for 4 search phrases. This is all I have done to this site. So I think that a link is a link.

jakegotmail




msg:424936
 1:40 am on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)


I refuse to read anything with the word "widgets" in the thread, just use a real example.

Wired Suzanne




msg:424937
 3:40 am on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I guess that even hotels could be relevant to an old widget show. It's relevant to the consumer, right?

You should create a paragraph around the link, which describes the show, driving directions (drop the location name a few times), and accommodation at the location.

If this is correct, [webmasterworld.com] relevancy is not necessary at the whole site, but just one (or two) paragraph on one page should be enough. Only near the anchor.

How does Google know that old clothes is related to luxury prestige old widget? Because you bring up both subjects together on one page....
That's why a good SEO will sell

'old clothes', 'old prestige widgets', 'old widget devices', 'old luxury prestige antique widgets'

instead of
all kinds of old widgets

What are Google's closest related keywords? Check it here [labs.google.com]

[edited by: Wired_Suzanne at 3:57 am (utc) on Oct. 3, 2003]

Wired Suzanne




msg:424938
 3:55 am on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

See..


old clothes is related to office furniture
[labs.google.com]

grandpa




msg:424939
 5:32 am on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think we're talking about what may be two different things here.
1: What seems relevant to the search engines.
2: What's relevant to the user.
At what point do those two perspectives cross paths?
Can they be merged succesfully?

If you had just said that to begin with, we'd have all been home hours ago :-)

KevinC




msg:424940
 6:02 am on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Any idea how google comes up with the "sets"? Some of the matches are obvious but some are pretty out there?

Wired Suzanne




msg:424941
 6:20 am on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

Perhaps keywords that are frequently viewed together on a page.
Or keywords that are searched for together or within a short period by the same user...

Who can tell?

This 39 message thread spans 2 pages: 39 ( [1] 2 > >
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