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Link Development Forum

This 48 message thread spans 2 pages: 48 ( [1] 2 > >     
Linking – What’s the big deal?
Or – the status of linking in today’s Webmaster World.
paynt




msg:420346
 2:41 pm on Mar 9, 2002 (gmt 0)

It probably goes without saying that Google has made linking a big deal. A whole search engine has credited its importance so linking is not going away any time soon. Linking is also a biggie for spam filters. We’ve seen it time and again. Folks are still talking about getting out of those once ‘ever popular’ link farms of a few years back. The struggle with crosslinking and bans goes on. I continue to see people trying to create the next automatic linking system that won’t cause a major problem or maybe they are out for a quick buck because those systems just don’t last long at all.

We’ve talked about standards. Creating websites that scream for linking because the content is terrific and on theme, perhaps comfy in a nice little niche.

We’ve talked about hubs, directories and creating authority – although I believe we have so much further to go with this.

We’ve talked about how to attach reciprocal links to our site so they don’t take away from the site. In the process of this we’ve included discussion on what to call links because gee – we can’t call a link a link due to spam filters. Ah…….. a link by any other name or a link is a link is a link…. Oh well!

We’ve touched on linking for traffic. Rogerd brought this up again and I’m glad because I’d like to see more discussion on this.

We’ve discussed how to find links, how to get links and what to do once you have them. This has included sharing PR or how much to give away.

I suppose what I want to know from the community is where you believe the status of linking in the industry stands today and perhaps where it’s going. Along with that I’d like to know what you would like to see more discussion on in this forum, if there are holes and what you’d like to revisit or build on. Newbies (meant in the fondness terms) and lurkers welcome. We need to know what you think and what you’re looking for. This is an open discussion to generate ideas and figure out how to meet the needs of the community as a whole.

 

Brett_Tabke




msg:420347
 1:40 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)


Thank you for the excellent summation of the issues. It puts an important historical backdrop on where linking is going.

The current state of the "linking industry" as a "programmed" entity, is all but dead. However, there are a few out there still working the awards pages, guestbook autosigners, and even a few full blown fake forums. It's only a matter of time before they call it quits.

What the search engines have done to linking, is in some respects a crime. Whenever a webmaster is afraid of linking or stuffs links for search engine purposes, it's a crime.

I had a good friend ask for a recip link from a page just this last weekend. His page was 100% incontext, ontopic, and quality. I'd love to shoot some traffic his way off the page. However, the page in question is a pr7 page with large numbers of se referrals. I'm not going upset that balance with an off site links. eg: a crime has been committed.

Where is linking going? Two directions:

a) old boy buddy networks were the p7's keep the club to themselves with a very high bar to entry.
b) Back to obfuscation and cloaking. Who wants to open link these days? Links have become the new currency of the web. Doled out by high ranking sites in bartering style of a smoke filled room at the back.

rogerd




msg:420348
 3:18 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree completely with the assessment that search engine considerations are perverting web linkage. When a site owner is reluctant to link to a resource that his visitors would find useful for fear of screwing up a ranking, things are getting out of control.

I've adopted a policy of establishing links when and where they make sense. Of course, I do pursue links from high PR sites, and avoid linking to cheesy, low PR sites. For the long-term health of each web site, though, I think productive linkage and reciprocal linkgage makes a lot of sense.

To me, it's the same kind of issue as content: in the long run, those who built plenty of good content have done better than those who tried to add little bits of mathematically optimized content. Search engine algorithms come and go, but quality sites persist.

europeforvisitors




msg:420349
 3:38 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Where is linking going? Two directions: a) old boy buddy networks were the p7's keep the club to themselves with a very high bar to entry. b) Back to obfuscation and cloaking. Who wants to open link these days? Links have become the new currency of the web. Doled out by high ranking sites in bartering style of a smoke filled room at the back.

That's one approach to linking, but there are others:

1) LITTLE OR NO EXTERNAL LINKING. Corporate sites (including many large media sites) often take this approach, not to preserve pagerank but because (a) they don't want visitors leaving their sites, or (b) they're recycling content from printed media and are too lazy to add hot links.

2) LINKING DICTATED BY EDITORIAL CONSIDERATIONS. This is the approach that I use, probably because my editorial background leads me to believe that focusing on the needs and desires of readers is critical to the success of a "content site."

IMHO, linking to other Web sites isn't just an act of altruism--it's likely to pay off over the long run for several reasons:

- It makes your site more useful to readers, so they'll be more likely to return.

- It establishes your site as a "hub" or "authority," and that should result in more inbound links from quality sites (including directories) that haven't asked for reciprocal links.

- If links are annotated and there are enough of them, you'll end up with more pages on your site. More pages = more chances to be found in the search engines.

Crazy_Fool




msg:420350
 4:44 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

i'm looking at getting inbound links to produce traffic - i'm not that fussy where visitors come from, just so long as they come.

being careful with linking for the sake of not damaging search engine ranking implies, IMO, that the webmaster is only linking for ranking purposes, not to provide or receive traffic through the links. i seem to remember something about "natural link structures" being what the search engines like us to have - what is "natural" about all inbound links being from PR6+ sites and not having any from sites with PR<6?

with some sites, i am now swapping links with almost any reasonable site that is prepared to mutually swap. i'm ignoring the link farms as they are at best, worthless. i'm not looking for links to be "on topic" or to or from "relevant" sites.

so far, no adverse effects, similar SERPS (minor increases here and there), similar traffic levels from search engines, and small increase from clickthroughs from elsewhere.

so, does anyone else have any opinions on what is and is not a "natural" link structure?

kapow




msg:420351
 8:17 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I really want to know / share experience on this subject.

I try to incorporate a link strategy in my websites that is both natural and considerate of how SEs work e.g. anchor text. I have no wish to fool the SEs as its no good in the long term IMHO.

e.g. It makes good natural sense to research the key phrases and use them in helpful places so that visitors can find what they're looking for (as apposed to stuffing them all over the place to try to fool the SEs).

I seem to be able to create PR6 sites but have no idea what makes PR7 - what makes the difference???

Jill




msg:420352
 8:40 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I admit total confusion on the linking issue. We would like to (and do) exchange links with sites that we feel will provide information that our readers would find useful. We provide links to sites that sell products that our readers would find useful. I know that I'm probably going about it all wrong but I have a really hard time following the current "pc" linking strategy. After all, isn't the Internet supposed to be many sites of like content that link to one another for the purpose of educating, informing and providing services to the web surfer?

Okay so I'm being altruistic and probably getting myself into deep SE trouble, but I really feel this is right. Our site is currently ranked pretty high in most SE's and has a decent PR as well, but I'm just holding my breath waiting to see when the other shoe will drop. I've even regretably refused links from sites with 0 PR or apparent penalties because I'm afraid of losing our hard won standings. I feel badly for doing this and I'm not even sure it would matter in the long run.

I'm not as technically informed as many of you seem to be. Sometimes I read the forums and feel like I need a translator. ;) I'm working on it but I'm still not sure what is the correct way to do this and stay in the good graces of the SE's. I think it's a crime, to borrow a phrase, that we even have to worry about it like this. Or am I worrying needlessly?

brotherhood of LAN




msg:420353
 9:09 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

I operate a niche site, pertaining to one subject, and seek links relevant to this subject. If the site Im looking at is related to mine, I will find a way to get my link on the page. When doing this, I offer them a recip link for the pleasure. I see this as an advantage to me AND my search engine rankings. Its a double edged sword. My sole reason for linking? Both, I want the link to my site and I want the search engine brownie points. I dont believe Im unethical, maybe just brutally honest about it :)

So I get a bonus in SERP's involving such links. No wonder! Im allowing the flow of traffic through the web and linking to relevant subjects. As quote above, this is why the net is available for use, the free flow of information. As the net has evolved, it has been categorised (new TLD's, content specific directories, PPC engines)......to provide more diversity and more relevant content for each unique user

In essence, I think linking is a good thing, providing the links are relevant, and should continue to be awarded in any algo's involved with PR, final SERP result or whatever.....

A good sites link pop should grow IF it deserves it. Link farms and the like are seen to be a quick fix solution, which has now backfired. If you site does not merit new links pointing to it, welcome to the net of the 21st century...you can always pull out your wallet and buy some links :)

pugyrob




msg:420354
 9:46 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)


hi all

When making a site and thinking about linking, i think of the following things.

1)i want the ratio of the text links to be no more than 10% of the content of the site.

2)i do not put the links out of site miles down the page but integrate them into the site surrounded by text.

3)i do not link to too many pr0 sites. I think you are judged on the average page rank of the sites you link to.Meaning that if you link to too many pr0 sites you will be punished.

4)It is better to link to 20 sites in Yahoo! dmoz looksmart etc than it is to link to 2000 irrelevant sites of poor content.

5) i try to make the sites i link to relevant as i think that clickthroughs on links from other sites are important and show relevance.

These are simply my views when making sites and linking etc and i have had very good success so far(touch wood). I may get found out in the future though.

papabaer




msg:420355
 11:40 pm on Mar 11, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett, you have an excellent, though very tragic point: we are restricted in choice of off-site linking.

I have a page I am going to send via sticky-mail, it contains a number of off-site links that all add to the core informational value of the page. There is one link that leads to a PR1 page, another to a PR2 page.

The page (mine) in question is structered very similarly to others within my site that have PR5, yet this one page is awarded a PR2 - it does not make sense. I do not want to remove the external links - but....

oneguy




msg:420356
 2:00 am on Mar 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

IMHO, linking to other Web sites isn't just an act of altruism--it's likely to pay off over the long run for several reasons:

- It makes your site more useful to readers, so they'll be more likely to return.

- It establishes your site as a "hub" or "authority," and that should result in more inbound links from quality sites (including directories) that haven't asked for reciprocal links.

- If links are annotated and there are enough of them, you'll end up with more pages on your site. More pages = more chances to be found in the search engines.

While this will give up a little in the current climate, I believe it is the best long term strategy. As the link programs became useless (or worse), so might the pagerank hoarding crowd. Maybe they wouldn't become useless or worse, but less worshipped. It could potentially happen in a day. It might eventually be a shift to provide more relevant results.

Look out for the needs of your audience. Google is, and look what it has done for them.

wasmith




msg:420357
 2:06 am on Mar 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Tale of Whoa
------------
A few months ago i was a bad webmaster, I spammed google by having too many links from one site to another site. The site i had too many links too had nearly no other external links pointing towards it.

I thought what i was doing was OK! I had seen before a discount in the links when many links from one site pointed to the same place in another site. I thought that was how google had wanted to equalize the effect. But i was wrong.

Repentance
----------
I got a penalty simular to papabaer. On seeing my PR fall and fearlul of extenting this PR sickness to the very pages that gave them PR i repented and removed all affending links. Sure i could of pleaded innocent but where would that have gotten me. My choice was repent or be rightous with no visitors to witness that i was linking because of content! not a trick for PR (Ok to be honest i did see high PR numbers while i slept, I was guilty).

Google has soul right to determine what is spam to them. I was wrong i will never do it again.

But for the sake of the content
----------------
The links i had created were not without value. They lead to content. I had to determine how to provide that value without spamming google. Iframes, javascript, and rotating content via SSI came to aid me. I could rotate content to all visitors and never affend googlebot what googlebot never sees wont hurt me (was this covered when somebody said cloaking?)

Once bitten twice shy
----------
I have a site which is a hub/directory of sorts. I have added maybe 200 links to other sites since the last update of google (not that much work i have written scripts to help me). I have looked at the PR of each and every site.

I was a spammer once but not again. when if google changes the rules i will return to only looking at content.

Do i lack loyalty to content?
-------------
I wish to help those sites with content that i can. I ask nothing in return from them (OK visitors i do everything i can to send to someplace who will pay me a few cents). If the content in question has the PR0 what can i do, i have children, I can only drag myself and all others sites down by linking to a PR leach.

I see a metaphor with what craps do. you can place many hundreds of craps in a pit which is only high enough to stop one crap from coming out. it seems when one crap gets a leg up by gettion ontop of another one the nearby craps pull him back into the trap.

Liane




msg:420358
 11:42 am on Mar 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

IMHO to link or not to link should never have anything to do with what may or may not take place within a search engine. I started out thinking that incoming links were the life blood of the internet. I no longer worry about it.

I am more and more convinced that my customers are much more important than search engine PR. As such, I have chosen to concentrate on outgoing links to well structured, easily navigable and informative sites which are helpful to my customers. Nothing else concerns me. If a webmaster chooses to link to my site ... fine. If not ... that's fine too. As long as that site contains important information for my customer, then I will link to it.

I believe: If you build it ... they will come! ... so far, its working for me!

Damian




msg:420359
 12:12 pm on Mar 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Go Liane ! I agree.

Woz




msg:420360
 12:48 pm on Mar 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I agree Liane,

I believe in linking to a site because of what it is, not what that link can or cannot do for/to you.

I don't ask for a link back. If they decide to give me one, that's fine. If they decide not to give me one, that's fine. I neither reward nor penalise them eitherway as their decision is their right.

Moreover, I believe it is necessary to have a fair percentage of oneway links just to even the playing field somewhat. I believe in the prinicipal of "Pass it on". If someone does you a good deed (a link) it is not necessary to pass it back to them, rather it can be more benificial to "Pass" that good deed (another link) on to someone else.

Some may label these as altruistic attitudes, but that is what I believe and that is what I do.

It's nice to get good PR, and the best way to get it is to not focus on linking, rather focus on content. Sure, I keep and eye on links and suggest my sites to prospective linkers, but that is a very small part of building a site. Remember Brett's A-Z of Building a Successful Site? [webmasterworld.com] Content, Content, Content.

<pause>

Herin endeth the Lesson.

Onya
Woz

wasmith




msg:420361
 4:23 am on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> Some may label these as altruistic attitudes,

I like to think being human has something to do with the word humanity. Altruistic is one of the better qualities of humanity. Nothing wrong with that label. If you think a capitalist would hold it against you just remeber there are other kinds of personal wealth that are not related to money, you can pull out the canons on that one with "it makes me happy".

>> link or not to link should never have anything to do with what may or may not take place within a search engine

I agree but there is a new spam policy on the internet that considers some links as bad very bad.

I just hope the new search engine bias is not anti altruistic. I am just fearful that the fallout to way to big. I think alot of people may be quiet on this one because it makes them look better to say nothing istead of "I am not going to link to a site which will get me a penalty." Caring about how one looks is also part of humanity. Personally i don't want a penalty either but i would rather know how to aviod it than look good. I want to stay within the rules.

Liane




msg:420362
 9:07 am on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Personally i don't want a penalty either but i would rather know how to aviod it than look good. I want to stay within the rules.<

And what are the rules????

Marcia




msg:420363
 10:17 am on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

wasmith, I'm not afraid to say it:

"I am not going to link to a site which will get me a penalty."

For the average site there's too much of a price to pay, and there's a responsibility for client sites. They can pick their links, but I'll check them first, and have sent specifics on what *not* to choose, as well as some guidelines on what to look for.

It's a tough one, because links add value and send traffic in addition to aiding rankings. But the potential for getting traffic from certain sites is far outweighed by the risk.

LegendQDI




msg:420364
 11:25 am on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Outgoing links don't affect your page rank in any way. Your page rank depends only on incoming links. Page rank of the pages you link to can neither hurt nor help your page rank.

ElTel




msg:420365
 8:27 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Anyone fancy swapping links? :)

Marcia




msg:420366
 8:38 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WmW, LegendQDI.

>Outgoing links don't affect your page rank in any way.

Looking beyond the linking page itself, there's a division of the Page Rank distributed by the outgoing links, which would have an impact on the PR of the pages within the site itself being linked to from a given page. That in itself is a very important factor. Page Rank is by individual page, not site. It's not always a consideration, but can be.

>Your page rank depends only on incoming links.

It also factors in with with internal linking within a site.

>Page rank of the pages you link to can neither hurt nor help your page rank.

As in the first point, while it may not for the particular page, it can for other pages on the site. So it does affect various pages in a site in varying degrees. That's why navigation structure and distribution of the linking is such an important part of the optimization process. It's right up at the top of the list - it's one of the foundational principles.

Google has stated that nothing anyone else does can affect our sites. I'm not 100% sure that it may not altogether, even if indirectly, because bad links are certainly traceable.

Linking out brings it into a different realm. It's a proportion of legitimacy most likely, but who we link to can contribute to being penalized. The PR of a site being linked won't affect the PR of a page in one respect, but it can have impact with possible penalties and contribute to losing all PR altogether.

PR0 penalty might not depend on one sole factor, we have no way of knowing for certain. On one hand we can be linking into a "bad neighborhood," plenty of people do without even knowing it. Linking within a circle for the sole purpose of PR distribution isn't a good long term option at all.

No doubt link sin has been at the root of any number PR0 and greyed out sites when other factors were added. We have no way to tell precisely, but we can get a good idea of what to avoid. And linking to penalized sites is most likely out of the question for people who are determined to stay extra cautious, unless they have sites in the highest PR categories so that nnything dodgy is obscured by a volume of positive factors.

We can never forget for a site that's important to us that in addition to being subject to algorithms and spam filters, it may be some day subject to human review. We have to keep that in mind with every step we take. Who we're linking to tells a lot about a site, even at first glance.

Memorable Brett Tabke quote "You are who you link to."

NFFC




msg:420367
 8:52 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

>"You are who you link to."

Great quote!

I think the best thing we can all do is uninstall the Google toolbar and get on with webmastering. I've been toolbar free for almost a month now, life is so much better. Forget PR, if you want to link then link, the www is a much bigger canvas than Google's serp's.

The PR wave is over anyhow, there is a new kid in town, goes by the name of Max-Flow-Min-Cut Theorem.

feeder




msg:420368
 9:06 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey NFFC...what are you getting at? Direct Hit style click backs?

brotherhood of LAN




msg:420369
 9:15 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Regardless of link pop, inbound or outbound links - providing a comprehensive set of well structured links ( a directory) is a winner for everyone

the "you are who you link to" is great. Have a great list of relevant links and the bonuses from SE's should match the usability and orderliness (?) of the site

looks like linking is going to be more of an issue as opposed to less of an issue.

Did a recent thread not mention something about overall SE referrals dropping and a sort of "link following" league or surfers were on the horizon?

NFFC




msg:420370
 9:21 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

>what are you getting at? Direct Hit style click backs?

No. Off topic for this thread but coming to the research forum soon.

Taster... [webselforganization.com...]
</offtopic>

brotherhood of LAN




msg:420371
 9:29 pm on Mar 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

NFFC,

Looking at that link you posted, it would seem that PR will always remain a factor in any good search like Google

These 'small crawls' mapping communities in the web will have 'stronger branches' leading to it ie a higher pr

paynt




msg:420372
 1:20 am on Mar 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

This is great and just what I was hoping for in starting this discussion.

I keep coming back to my son who is nearly 20 and spends hours in the evening, surfing the web. He doesn't purchase anything yet but at some point in the not to distant future, he will become a major contributing consumer and I am certain he'll make his purchases from the web.

He hardly ever uses a search engine or directory for his search and hops from one site to the next through related or interesting links he's found.

Whether it’s to boost your PR or to boost your relevant traffic, I believe it is very important who you link to and that you not only get great PR sites to link to you but sites that act as a great lead for what you have to offer.

I mean if you’re a homebuilder, wouldn’t you like interior designers, architects, home improvement sites, mortgage lenders, as well as other related building support companies to link to you. The folks you would normally do business with. And I love using the university and government advanced search at Google to find noncompetitive yet informational sites to link to.

Another thing I often like to point out and I believe to be true is whether it’s with some grand plan or scheme in mind or through luck > I believe sites do well if the participate in the flow of information. That’s why closed circles continue to throw up red flags.

brotherhood of LAN




msg:420373
 1:27 am on Mar 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

spot on paynt, i am on your wavelength there

wasmith




msg:420374
 2:59 am on Mar 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> And what are the rules????

If you do something wrong the search engines take 2 of your points away and call it a rule. And you are suppose to remember what not to do.

PS. I think somebody may be changing the rules as we play the game.

wasmith




msg:420375
 3:17 am on Mar 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> some links as bad very bad.

could be misunderstood ... i am refering to links that google has judged to be links to increase the PR of another URL. The value to google forf doing this is because many people have setup pages not for people but for PR.

This 48 message thread spans 2 pages: 48 ( [1] 2 > >
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