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A Guide To Text Links
Tex Link 101
AdDoctor




msg:416873
 2:33 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

A beginner’s guide to text links:

Before I get into exactly how SEO Friendly text links work, it is important to have some very basic background information on Search Engine Optimization.

First off, SEO can basically be dumped into two buckets:
1)Onsite Optimization – factors on the actual website that help with search engine rankings
2)Offsite Optimization – factors that take place off of the website being optimized that contribute to better search ranking

Some very basic factors that contribute to Onsite Optimization are:
1)Meta Tags – Keywords within a webpage that are not visible to a person viewing the website, but can be read by the search engines. Meta tags currently are not given much weight in the search engine algorithms due to large amounts of abuse in the early days of SEO
2)Keyword Density – The number of times a particular keyword is repeated within the text of the webpage. This is a very tricky aspect of SEO and in my opinion is largely a “Guessing Game” because no one really knows for sure what the search engines believe the optimum keyword density is
3)Having a sitemap – This aspect of onsite SEO is related to Link Building and is a page that is easily accessible from the index page of your website that links to all other pages on your site. This enables the search engines to have a starting point where they can easily spider and index your entire site.

Spamming the search engines - Underhanded tricks to fool the search engines into believing your website is relevant for a specific term. When search engines discover that you are using some of the below tricks to spam the them, it is highly likely that your website will penalized, and will vanish completely from all search engine listings. Below are some very common techniques people use:
1)Hidden Text – when a webmaster hides text within the content of his/her page by making it the same color or a very similar color as the background and is therefore invisible to the human eye, but easily read by the search engines.
2)Cloaking – When the search engines are fed different content from what an average end user will see when browsing the page.

Now onto the fun stuff :)

Offsite optimization

In my opinion offsite optimization is the most effective form of SEO.
The main, and possibly only (correct me if I am wrong) factor in offsite optimization is getting high quality search engine friendly (static html) text links to point to your website.

Search Engine friendly links
1)Are written in static html which enable the search engine to understand that there is a relationship between the website being linked to and the website doing the linking
2)The more links and the higher the quality of these links one gets, the better their results will be within the search engines

Types of Search Engine Friendly text links
1)Reciprocal links - Many webmasters participate in reciprocal linking campaigns. This is when a webmaster will link to a particular site in exchange for a link back from that site.
2)One Way Text Links – These text links are usually sold on a monthly subscription basis and do not require a link back to the website. As far as search engine optimization goes it is well known that one way links are far more beneficial than reciprocal links. This is because they usually come from higher quality websites, and because webmaster do not need to link back to websites they rent links from

How does the SE know how many links are pointing to your site?
1)All search engines have “spiders” that scour the web. These spiders browse the internet much like humans by following different links on the different websites they analyze. Each time they follow a link, the link is recorded in their system.

How do the search engines determine the quality of a link?
1)Each search engine has their own technology that determines the credibility of all websites on the internet.
2)Google is the only search engine that publicizes this information The term they use is “PageRank”. As a general rule, the higher a webpage’s PageRank the more credible Google perceives that website to be. Therefore a SE Friendly text link will be more valuable from a website with a high PageRank. There has been a large debate lately as to whether Google’s PageRank means anything anymore, but it is still well known that Google uses some sort of system to rank the credibility of websites within their system.
3)Each webpage only has a certain amount of credibility that can be passed on to sites that they link to.
–This credibility is split between all sites that are linked to from an individual page. Therefore a link on a page that only has 5 outgoing links is far more valuable than a link from a page that is considered a link farm (a page that has hundreds or thousands of links on it).

How do search engines associate keywords with text links?
1)The keywords that a search engine associates with a particular link are based on the “Anchor Text” of that link. Anchor Text is defined as Anchor text is the text that a user would click on to get to the website that is being linked to.

Spamming the search engines with offsite optimization
1)three main ways
– By purchasing run of site links.
• Run of site links are links pointing to one particular website on every single page of another website. Search engines deem this as unnatural linking and may penalize websites that are caught using this tactic.
– Participating in Link Farms (Web Pages that have hundreds of irrelevant links)
–Being linked to with the same anchor text for all of your links.

I tried to include everything I could from a very broad perspective. Please let me know if I missed anything, and feel free to get into more detail.

 

knights1




msg:416874
 10:50 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

so can you give me an example of what SE Friendly text link would look like? And when you said at the end that you shouldnt be linked to using the same anchor text is anchor text of a link like when it says Click Here and is a link but takes you to www.clickhere.com?

Derek

AdDoctor




msg:416875
 11:14 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Search Engine Friendly links can look the same as any other link you have ever seen. The only difference is that they are written in Static HTML and can easily be indexed by the search engine spiders.

As for the anchor text, you are correct that in your example the anchor text is "Click Here". I should also clarify that it is ok to have links that have the same anchor text, but if you have 40,000 links all pointing to you with the same anchor text, that is generally not a good thing.

martinibuster




msg:416876
 11:41 pm on Jul 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

AdDoc, you still need some more research. You are partially getting it, but there are still some basic things eluding you. Did you pick this all up in the last two weeks?

2)Google is the only search engine that publicizes this information The term they use is “PageRank”

Not true. There are numerous papers out there covering MSN as well as Yahoo's search engine. Most people think they know about Google's methodology because they see the green on the toolbar and what they read on WebmasterWorld.

There is much more to know in the various papers freely available on the web. The methodologies are very well publicized by all the search engines, not just Google.

As a general rule, the higher a webpage’s PageRank the more credible Google perceives that website to be.

The problem with that statement is that you are talking about the toolbar PR. The toolbar PR is not a measurement of credibility, not even in a general sense. The green bar is a partial measurement that does not actually represent PR, as PR is made up of many more factors than are taken into account within the green pixels of the toolbar.

There has been a large debate lately as to whether Google’s PageRank means anything anymore, but it is still well known that Google uses some sort of system to rank the credibility of websites within their system.

Yes, it's called internal PageRank, the real pagerank. Again, you are confusing what you see on the toolbar with PageRank. It is not PageRank. It is green pixels. There is no debate as to whether PageRank is in use. No debate. PageRank is still used, but it's not what you see on the toolbar.

3)Each webpage only has a certain amount of credibility that can be passed on to sites that they link to.
–This credibility is split between all sites that are linked to from an individual page. Therefore a link on a page that only has 5 outgoing links is far more valuable than a link from a page that is considered a link farm (a page that has hundreds or thousands of links on it).

Nope. The number of outgoing links on a page does not characterize a page as a link farm.

2)One Way Text Links – These text links are usually sold on a monthly subscription basis and do not require a link back to the website.

Not true either. One ways are constantly given out free of charge. It could be because you have a cool website, or because it's between friends.

One-way IBLs also come from directories, which sell them on a yearly or one time payment basis.

As far as search engine optimization goes it is well known that one way links are far more beneficial than reciprocal links.

That's debatable. Yes, they are desired more by webmasters, but it's debatable if they are more beneficial. For instance, outbound links are said to count for something. So from an SEO standpoint, relying on one-way IBLs might not be the greatest strategy.

This is because they usually come from higher quality websites, and because webmaster do not need to link back to websites they rent links from...

Websites selling links represent the whole range of the quality spectrum.

knights1




msg:416877
 2:07 am on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

so how do you tell this "real pagerank"

martinibuster




msg:416878
 3:34 am on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>>so how do you tell this "real pagerank"

You can't. Only the Google engineers have access to that.

PatrickDeese




msg:416879
 3:36 am on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

> so how do you tell this "real pagerank"

1) Get hired by Google

2) Wait 'til Googleguy goes to the cafeteria, and sneak onto his computer, check your "real PageRank".

3)?

4) Profit.

AdDoctor




msg:416880
 2:20 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Martinibuster. While I value your opinion, and you definitely made some good points. Some other things you mentioned clearly showed me that you did not read my original post, and you just skimmed through it looking for things to negate.

2)Google is the only search engine that publicizes this information The term they use is “PageRank”

Not true. There are numerous papers out there covering MSN as well as Yahoo's search engine. Most people think they know about Google's methodology because they see the green on the toolbar and what they read on WebmasterWorld.

Martinibuster, I believe this is true, if you look at the sentence before I wrote that all search engines have their own measure of credibility for websites. It is true that Yahoo has their "Web Rank" but that is never really used anymore. If the other search engines have such a thing that is publicize in the same way Page Rank is, please let me know.

As a general rule, the higher a webpage’s PageRank the more credible Google perceives that website to be.

The problem with that statement is that you are talking about the toolbar PR. The toolbar PR is not a measurement of credibility, not even in a general sense. The green bar is a partial measurement that does not actually represent PR, as PR is made up of many more factors than are taken into account within the green pixels of the toolbar.

Ok, this may be true, but can you please elaborate on what other factors come into play here? Although I may be wrong, I was under the impression that page rank pretty much was a measure of the quantity and quality of links a site has pointing to it which is the way google measure "Credibility" Please let me know what other factors besides the linking of websites come into play to measure PageRank

Nope. The number of outgoing links on a page does not characterize a page as a link farm.

Ok, could you please elaborate on this, every definition I have heard just states that a link farm is a page with an excessive number of links on it

One ways are constantly given out free of charge. It could be because you have a cool website, or because it's between friends.

One-way IBLs also come from directories, which sell them on a yearly or one time payment basis.

You are 100% correct here, I should have explained this better

As far as search engine optimization goes it is well known that one way links are far more beneficial than reciprocal links.

That's debatable. Yes, they are desired more by webmasters, but it's debatable if they are more beneficial. For instance, outbound links are said to count for something. So from an SEO standpoint, relying on one-way IBLs might not be the greatest strategy.

Of course it is debatable, almost every single concept in SEO is debatable, However it is definitely the majority belief among SEO professionals that one way links are more valuable. This is why as you said, they are desired more by webmasters.

This is because they usually come from higher quality websites, and because webmaster do not need to link back to websites they rent links from...


Websites selling links represent the whole range of the quality spectrum.

Cut me a little slack here, The key term in my quote above is that they USUALLY come from higher quality websites. Of course everyone and their mother wants their website to earn a little extra cash and therefore may try to sell text links, but the websites that are really successful in selling them are almost always the higher quality sites.

Martnibuster, my questions and comments above are not meant to be rude in anyway. You know as well as I that it is quite easy to come off this way when writing. I would really appreciate it if you could respond to my questions so maybe I can learn something. After all that is what Webmasterworld is all about.

Marcia




msg:416881
 2:57 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

No, martinibuster did read your statement correctly and apparently got the same impression I did because he caught the same flaws I did. And I did read your statement so logically speaking there's a congruence of disagreement with the statement.

How do the search engines determine the quality of a link?
1)Each search engine has their own technology that determines the credibility of all websites on the internet.

OK. right there is the first logical flaw and problem in semantics. From an IR perspective, credibility isn't even part of the equation, so it's erroneous terminology. What the engines look for is "relevancy" and "importance." And they also look for "spam", but that's a different issue from what's being discussed here.

2)Google is the only search engine that publicizes this information The term they use is “PageRank”. As a general rule, the higher a webpage’s PageRank the more credible Google perceives that website to be.

Saying that they're the only engine that publicizes "this information" is implying that they're all the same, but that Google "calls it" something else - PageRank. Nope, they are't the only search engine that publicizes "this" information, they are the only search engine that uses PageRank because it's a patented technology under license from Stanford, the assignee of the U.S. Patent.

Therefore a SE Friendly text link will be more valuable from a website with a high PageRank.

No, sir. Saying "therefore" presupposes that the statements that preceded, upon which the "therefore" are based are correct, which they are not. So it isn't a valid "therefore" it's a supposition without foundation and "therefore" everything that preceded, right on up to that statement, are negated.

There has been a large debate lately as to whether Google’s PageRank means anything anymore, but it is still well known that Google uses some sort of system to rank the credibility of websites within their system.

No. Again credibility doesn't enter into the picture, credibility is a judgment and not an IR factor which looks at empirical data. Sure, the "system" is the algorithm - which is based on whichever metrics are currently being used in assigning scores, at whatever weight the various metrics are currently being given.

There is no debate. Google does use PageRank, but actual PageRank is something only known to them internally. All we see on the toolbar is a little green graph which is nothing more than a "snapshot" of what PR was at some point in time and may or may not reflect what actual internally known PR is at the given moment.

3)Each webpage only has a certain amount of credibility that can be passed on to sites that they link to.
–This credibility is split between all sites that are linked to from an individual page.

Wrong again, the whole statement is cancelled out by the use of "credibility" as some kind of indicator because it has nothing to do with IR.

Therefore a link on a page that only has 5 outgoing links is far more valuable than a link from a page that is considered a link farm (a page that has hundreds or thousands of links on it).

That is not the definition of a link farm. One page is not a link farm even it has a million links on it. The SERPs at Google have many thousands of links pointing to websites - that does not make Google a link farm.

How do search engines associate keywords with text links?

Very good question. But let's get it all straightened out about what came before that question before we start to go ahead and examine what the reply to the question should be.

AdDoctor




msg:416882
 3:22 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

What I was trying to do was put together a document that anybody can understand, not only those in the industry. I was using "Credibility" as synonomous for Relevance and Imporrtance, from now on in this post I will use the terms relavence, and importance to avoid any confusion.

If I was to put together a document that explained every little detail, than I would wind up with a 50 page report which was not my intention. This document was intended for the "Non Technical"

There are still a few questions I would really like answered.

I still believe that google is the only major search engine that publishes their "Relavance and Importance" of the pages in their index. If I am wrong, can someone please tell me how to find MSNs measure of relavance and importance for my websites. This would be extremely useful to me.

Also, can someone please give me a definition of a link farm, the only thing you guys have told me is that my definition is wrong.

martinibuster




msg:416883
 6:44 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

AdDoctor,
The Link Dev Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] has a definition of what a link farm is, as well as other definitions. Also, there are numerous previous discussions about link farms that you may want to wade through. Bottom line, the number of outbound links on a page is not a defining characteristic of a link farm.

I still believe that google is the only major search engine that publishes their "Relavance and Importance" of the pages in their index.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you might be confusing the green bar with PageRank. It's not really PageRank. Everybody calls it PR or PageRank, but it's not really PageRank. PageRank consists of many considerations, and it goes way beyond the ability to represent it on a simple 1-10 scale. There are numerous quality signals beyond a simple link and anchor count.

That green bar can hardly be called an indicator of relevance or importance. The word relevance is meaningful only within the context of judging two or more sites. No single site, with a pr 10, can be said to be the most relevant. So the PR 10 is not a signal of relevance to anything.

The word, "importance" is vague and cannot be attributed as something that is communicated by the green bar either. For instance, there's a website that features gruesome videos, it's a PR 9. Adobe.com is also a PR 9. Does that mean they are equally important? Does that mean they are equally relevant?

As far as publicizing their ranking information, there are a number of scientific papers from all the search engines out there. But that discussion is beyond the scope of this forum, which is Link Building. But they're out there. Look for things like this post [webmasterworld.com]. These papers reside on MSN's website, as well as outside of it.

avi wilensky




msg:416884
 7:56 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thank you Martinibuster and Marcia for correcting some errors in AdDoctor's "thesis".

I hate to be the third to rip apart the post, but I want to point out that the doc's conceptions of search engine spam are a bit misguided.

While run of site links are surely discounted by search engines (particularly Google), I would not categorize them as spam. Many sites will include the same header, footer, or nav bar on every page that is generated. If a link is present in the include file, the result will yield many duplicate links coming from the same domain - but this is just a byproduct of the architecture of the site. When I think of search engine spam - I think of blog spam, forum spam, and guestbook spamming.

Next issue...Does Google still use PageRank? This is a subject of debate as well. According to a February 24th post on the Roundtable, titled "Google Doesn't Use PageRank says Ask Jeeves's Apostolos", distinguished WebmasterWorld speaker Mike Grehan "says Google does not use PageRank period". Apostolos Gerasoulis [cs.rutgers.edu], is a leading professor of CS at Rutgers University and founder of Teoma (the technology that powers Jeeves). A biased theory - I certainly don't know - but Apostolos is one of the world's foremost experts on search engine technology. If he says PageRank is not used anymore, I might think twice.

AdDoctor




msg:416885
 9:53 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

See, I tricked you guys into opening up and starting a great discussion. Sometimes you need to take a few hits for the benefit of everyone else.

Thanks for all the great input and new knowledge. :)

jdubo79




msg:416886
 12:01 am on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm surprised more people don't agree with addoctor's opinion on things here. Overall I think he made a fantastic post. Most of what he said was true, and for a beginner that was an excellent guide.

The entire arguement that he made about google being the only search engine to publicize it's measure of credibility of a website is 100% true. The bottom line is that MSN and Yahoo do not publish this information for any given website.

Also the entire semantic argument over the term "credibility" was completely needless, and I think that credibility was indeed the correct term to be used in this situation.

ownerrim




msg:416887
 7:12 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

"I should also clarify that it is ok to have links that have the same anchor text, but if you have 40,000 links all pointing to you with the same anchor text, that is generally not a good thing."

Not to be rude, but bullhockey. I know of 2 sites that have purchased sitewide links on large internet newspapers, giving them tens of thousands of backlinks that have the same identical anchortext. These sites have continued to climb to the top of their serps on msn and yahoo. Not on google, but that's proabably due to how fast the links were acquired.

ownerrim




msg:416888
 7:15 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

"While run of site links are surely discounted by search engines (particularly Google), I would not categorize them as spam. Many sites will include the same header, footer, or nav bar on every page that is generated. If a link is present in the include file, the result will yield many duplicate links coming from the same domain - but this is just a byproduct of the architecture of the site."

Excellent point.

jdubo79




msg:416889
 7:53 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Very true that ROS links are not really spam, this was perhaps the only section of AdDoctor's paper that I did not agree with.

Although ROS links are not be considered spam, a lot of people predict that they may be in the future since this type of linking is very unnatural and google favors "Natural" Linking.

Murdoch




msg:416890
 8:52 pm on Jul 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

While I don't think ROS links will ever be considered spam, I'm willing to bet that in the future the search engines will count sitewide links as a single vote towards the linked website, regardless of how many times it appears on the domain. I'd be suprised if this wasn't the case already.

A quick example, the other day while checking our backlinks I came across a website that has (according to Y!) 26,400 backlinks and a PR of only 4. After some quick research into where the links were coming from, it ended being that all but 25 of the links were from a single domain with a BUNCH of pages. Many links, still one vote. Feel free to correct me on this because I'm still admittedly green on this whole thing...

Big_Ben




msg:416891
 8:45 am on Aug 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

...
ROS links will never be treated as a single link, in the very same way as that they're visible on all pages of the site linking out. I'm definitely more likely to click on a link from a favorite site of mine if its found on all of its pages, and good old Google knows this.
...

Murdoch




msg:416892
 3:18 pm on Aug 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

ROS links will never be treated as a single link, in the very same way as that they're visible on all pages of the site linking out. I'm definitely more likely to click on a link from a favorite site of mine if its found on all of its pages, and good old Google knows this.

I can agree with you on this, that it won't be treated as a vote from a single link, but I bet the link strength dilutes on a logarithmic scale. After one link, between 2 and 10 it's worth .1 vote apiece, then links between 11 and 100 worth .01 vote apiece and so on. So having your link appear 50,000 times on one domain, IMHO, is better than just having one link but not much...

tallis




msg:416893
 1:40 pm on Aug 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

good old Google knows a lot of things, that doesn't mean they're acting the way we would with the same knowledge.

not that i'm saying you're definitely wrong, i wouldn't know, but i'm curious as to why you're so sure?

it strikes me this is similar to other discussions i've seen:
"there is only page rank, not site rank",
well, why?

why do people assume that what happens on one page of a site doesn't affect the whole domain? i really doubt that search engines aren't thinking about these things, and it would really make sense to implement a strategy to decrease the effect of ros links.

thoughts?

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