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Link-Swapping & Theme Dilution
Will linking off-theme hurt my rankings?
egomaniac




msg:421937
 1:15 am on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

Questions on Linking & Theme Impact:

1) Will inbound links off the theme of my site negatively impact my pagerank in Google (or Inktomi or AV)?

2) Will outbound links that are off the theme of my site negatively impact my pagerank in Google (or Inktomi or AV)?

3) Should I setup separately themed link-swap pages so that I have one on-theme link-swap page, keeping the off-theme links on off-theme pages?

4) Should I refuse reciprocal link requests with sites that are not on-theme?

Why do I ask? I am a sales trainer, and I want to swap links with other sites. I understand that best links are those that are on-theme to sales training (sales tips, selling skills, etc.). Some of these will be hard to get due to the competitive nature of the businesses and the personalities involved.

However I can also get links from other sites that are not focused on this theme. For example, I know a lot of public speakers who I can swap links with. if I swapped links with lot of public speakers would this change the perceived theme of my site to the search engines (because there would be a bunch of sites themed "public speaking" aimed at my site.

I already have some excellent rankings in Google, AV, and MSN because I focused on a Theme, and got Yahoo and Looksmart to categorize me the way I wanted to (still waiting on DMOZ). I want to go after more links now as part of a long-term strategy. I don't want to shoot myself in the foot, by including the wrong kinds of links if it matters.

The positive of doing some of these off-theme links is that it will bring in some additional semi-relevant traffic.

 

rogerd




msg:421938
 1:22 am on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

I haven't heard of any firm test results, but based on my experience I think it is a matter of degree - if most of your links are on topic, a few off-topic ones won't hurt you. If 80% of your links are off-topic, that might pose more of a problem.

Suggestion: for all links, but particularly your off-theme ones, try to be sure you have good, keyword-based link text. Remember the "dumb m***********" links that made the G W Bush Jr site #1 for that keyword - presumably, all of those sites were about other topics, but the text alone did the job.

agerhart




msg:421939
 1:53 am on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>>Some of these will be hard to get due to the competitive nature of the businesses and the personalities involved.>>>>

It is actually like that for almost all businesses on the web. Any site that sells something or sells a service will not want to post a link, usually, to a site that sells the same service [because they don't realize it can help their site, and if someone was really going to buy it off them, they still would]

agerhart




msg:421940
 1:53 am on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)


rogerd




msg:421941
 12:53 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

Agerhart, it is true that many sites spurn links because they don't realize the benefit THEY will get. On the other hand, if a site is highly ranked and has plenty of links, I would consider it a wise business decision to tell a poorly ranked and sparsely linked competitor to look elsewhere.

The sites that drive me crazy are the ones who won't link, not because of competitive reasons, but rather, "If I have links on my site, people might leave."

agerhart




msg:421942
 1:15 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>>The sites that drive me crazy are the ones who won't link, not because of competitive reasons, but rather, "If I have links on my site, people might leave.">>>>

That was what I was referring to......foolish thought

egomaniac




msg:421943
 1:48 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the replies. I think your right - a few off-theme links probably won't hurt. Get too many though, and you start looking like a different animal to the SEs.

How the links affect your theme probably has more of an impact when as you go for high rankings under more competitive phrases.

This is my "educated speculation". I haven't been able to find a definitive answer on this yet.

My go-forward plan will be to have separately themed link pages. This way if I ever determine it to be a problem, I can drop the non-themed links easily.

Also, I am considering excluding the non-themed links pages in the robots.txt file. I don't know if this matters though because Google at least seems to ignore what I tell them to stay out of in this file.

agerhart




msg:421944
 1:51 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

My go-forward plan will be to have separately themed link pages.>>>>>>

This is exactly what I have done with a new site of mine....will let you know the results

rcjordan




msg:421945
 2:13 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Also, I am considering excluding the non-themed links pages in the robots.txt file. I don't know if this matters though because Google at least seems to ignore what I tell them to stay out of in this file.

Use javascript to write the content of these pages.

rogerd




msg:421946
 2:43 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

Using robots.txt or Javascript to make the links unspiderable may be good from keeping your site theme pure, but if I was doing a reciprocal with you and if I noticed what you were doing, I wouldn't be happy. "Let's trade links and boost both of our sites! By the way, I'm going to make sure that the link pop boost only works in one direction because your link on my site won't be spiderable."

I would be tempted to change your link text to "dumb m***********" if it wouldn't dilute my own theme. ;)

agerhart




msg:421947
 2:45 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think that there are enough links out there on the internet on your theme that you wouldn't even need to go as far as putting in links just to make them un-spiderable

rcjordan




msg:421948
 4:18 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Let's trade links and boost both of our sites
>
Rogerd, you are correct to point this out. I was focusing on the narrower problem of how to make a page available to browsers yet not spider friendly. In the larger context of this thread, if you're doing recips on that basis, then the only ethical thing to do is straight links. That said, as a publisher, the vast majority of my recip requests come from sites which have little traffic when compared to mine and are simply looking for a link of any kind. Of all the requests I get, I can only recall 3 that mentioned anything about boosting SE ranks.

rogerd




msg:421949
 4:28 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

I assumed that's what you meant, RCJ - I just wanted to bring out the issue of honesty in promising links to others.

>>I can only recall 3 that mentioned anything about boosting SE ranks<<

And those 3 were canned Zeus e-mails, right? LOL ;)

rcjordan




msg:421950
 7:09 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

>And those 3 were canned Zeus e-mails, right?

I started to mention that as an aside, as a matter of fact all 3 were Zeus-driven. Bwwwwaaaahahahahahahha!

egomaniac




msg:421951
 7:19 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

IF I were to make the links unspiderable, it would only be to manage the theme of the site. And I would make it clear to people that the link swap would be only for traffic swapping purposes. I doubt I'll go this route though.

The best strategy seems to be to pursue relevant links - duh.

Thanks for the input. :)

rcjordan




msg:421952
 7:32 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

Personally, I would go for the sheer volume of links but be stringent about how they set up the reciprocal in terms of keywords used in the hypertext.

stavs




msg:421953
 11:55 pm on Aug 9, 2001 (gmt 0)

I am currently optimizing my second site. I read somewhere about the 'hub' theory - to make your website appear as a central hub within your chosen subject. Essentially this is a matter of having many inbound and outbound links which strongly relate to your topic.

Something I had shied away from in the past was using outbound text links on my index page - I used a seperate links page previously, as you do. However, I've managed to get over this fear and we are now outbound linking to sites from our index page - chosen due to the fact that they have a lot of inbound links and rank highly in Google and, most importantly, on-topic.

If I get really brave - and I can feel it coming - I may even link directly to some of my direct competition at the bottom of the index page where I now have a list of links. The potential boost that may be obtained in Google (and others), should outweigh the embarrasment and loss of someone actually clicking on a link and purchasing from the competition (also, the text links do not need to mention the competitions' brand names which people can relate to - but just something on-topic). If you want to create a true 'hub', I think you have to try this where possible.

Sacrifice the unecessary off-topic links (especially on your index page, in favour of quality and popular on-topic links. The few porr quality hits you mentioned you might get are not worth as much as a sufficient rankings boost.

IMCA

I made that one up - 'In my case anyway'. unless someone else thought of it previously - not that I'll be using it again.

Can anyone help me further my somewhat basic knowledge of the hub theory.

The hubber.

egomaniac




msg:421954
 4:29 am on Aug 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

This is very interesting. So you can actually boost your rankings by having enough inbound and outbound on-topic links to make yourself a "hub"? Wow.

Do you have any sense of the quantity of links in/out at which point you started to see your rankings increase?

stavs




msg:421955
 10:02 am on Aug 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

> This is very interesting. So you can actually boost your rankings by having enough inbound and outbound on-topic links to make yourself a "hub"? Wow.

I am no expert on the 'hub'. I read a little about it (wish I could remember where - possibly in a Google announcement) and it seems very logical to me - and a sound basis for the SE's to assume high relevance of a site to a subject. It all ties in with creating a theme, which can't be a bad thing, and it takes the basic concept of a local theme and widens its scope. You are putting yourself right in the middle of a subject - as opposed to being just another site on the periphery.

No results to report as yet - its early days.

I fear my understanding of the hub may be rather simplistic (or maybe it is that simple??) and I would appreciate any further views on this.

paynt




msg:421956
 10:13 am on Aug 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

First, welcome to WebmasterWorld egomaniac.

You might all find this forum discussion helpful in your pursuit of knowledge regarding hubs.
[webmasterworld.com...]

There are many references to other discussions we’ve held regarding hubs and themes.

egomaniac




msg:421957
 10:08 pm on Aug 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks for pointing me to the discussion on hubs. After a few hours of reading here, I love this forum! Now that I have a better understanding of how the engines are using themes and links, I can see how one needs to focus on the bigger picture. You need to view your site in the context of a theme across mutliple pages, rather than just focusing on densities and tags within a single page. My current site is built with a simple theme in mind, but I haven't architected it to maximize this concept. Nevertheless, I have a couple of top 3 ranked pages in Google and AV to prove to myself that I am on the right path.

Strategizing my next website version with the cross-site theme in mind vs. just page optimization is like a light-bulb exploding.

Thanks again to everyone who has posted on this thread to help me.

paynt




msg:421958
 10:49 pm on Aug 10, 2001 (gmt 0)

>... rather than just focusing on densities and tags within a single page. ...>

I consider it in addition to. You still need a well optimized page, it's just that we take all of those well optimized pages as a whole now and not just separate pieces that can work on their own :)

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