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Links to casinos inherently evil?
casino links

 9:30 pm on Feb 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Granted that pages devoted solely to links are not ideal parts of websites but they do exist.
As part of my widget site, let's say I build a reciprocal link directory.
One of the catagories is casinos so I wind up with a few pages of links to casinos.
In exchange, I wind up with my link on 100 casino websites, on their linkpage, a link page that is not generated with a cgi scrip, etc. A good page with rank.
Any reason why that would not be a good thing for my site?
Afterall, I may not draw any traffic from their links page but for the small expenditure of time Google will know my link well: I sell widgets and a lot of sites link to me.



 8:57 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

A hub (directory) has lots of value, casino or otherwise.

A link today - may well be a Traffic-n-PageRank-Gold Mine tomorrow.

As with any link - it's good business to keep a close eye on progression (up or down).

Receptional Andy

 9:15 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Links to casinos inherently evil?<

Seems a bit strong! :)


 2:58 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Links to casinos inherently evil?<
Seems a bit strong! :)

Well, yeah, probably was.

The purpose of the emphasis was two-fold:
1. Because casino's have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with widgets.

2. I've had a couple of people tell me that if I also had a catagory for casinos then they would not want a listing for their widget site. I think a lot of people don't consider casinos to be family friendly. I guess that made me a little paranoid so I was wondering if there's some kind of negative effect with the search engines, also.

3. All the popups casinos typically have :-(

Receptional Andy

 3:08 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sorry, my comment was a bit flippant.

I appreciate your concerns. Do you know the addresses of the pages that would be linking to you? The danger I see is as you say

>Because casino's have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with widgets.

This means that the links from the casino sites would not be in keeping with the current 'theme' of your site. If you can, check the sites out and make sure they are no page rank issues with them. If they're indexed and Google doesn't seem to object to them, then maybe go for the links - I'm guessing you will get to choose the link text? There is nothing unique about casino sites with regards to the search engines, except that gambling sites attract more than their fair share of unethical spam sites, and so need to be considered more carefully.

The final concern would be if this put other users off your site ("if I also had a catagory for casinos then they would not want a listing for their widget site") then it might not be worthwhile.

You seem to have a good grasp of all the issues, so I would say, weigh them up and see if the pros outweigh the cons.


 3:42 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>Sorry, my comment was a bit flippant.

No, not at all. Guess I should have put a smile next to my response to your, uh, response. Didn't think you were flippant at all.

In another thread, someone noted their opinion that (to paraphrase liberally) as long as one has proper linking text on the other site then it didn't matter if it (the linking text) was surrounded by links to unrelated sites. Assuming the page is carrying some PR, etc., of course, and is not in danger of becoming a link farm. (Probably in my casino instance, a page of just widget links might be required.) So, the premise would be, it's safe to have my widget link on a casino site if the casino site has one page of reciprocal links to widgets, separate from it's links to other casino.

Obviously, I'm also getting the idea (hence my thoughts on a reciprocal link directory) that putting a wide variety of links on one page gives one a link farm while catagorizing the links so that individual pages are limited to one specific theme is an accepted procedure in the eyes of search engines (Google).

Any thoughts on this?

Receptional Andy

 3:52 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

IMHO, what makes a link farm is the SAME page of links (or very similar) on a number of different urls.

Search engines have to use common sense, and therefore need to take into account many situations where legitmate sites link to unrelated (from a theme point of view) sites.

For example, I might have a 'local' site about a certain area of the country, which links to other sites in the local area - which could be about a whole host of unrelated subjects, with the only difference being the real-world location, not the theme of the site.

So, I don't think there is any great danger (i.e banning or PR punishment) in linking to unrelated sites, other than it muddies the picture of what YOUR site is about, and could possible harm your rankings by watering down your theme.

Or take this example - many web design firms have a link to them from their client sites, which do not have a 'web design' theme. But the links still count, because it would be impossible to use this as a rule for finding spamming, without punishing many legitimate sites.

Does this make sense?


 5:36 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Makes a lot of sense. Thank you.

I know through my contacts that I'm not the only one out here paranoid about linking to the "wrong" site. There's apparantly a lot of people who use extremely narrow definitions of what sites they are willing to exchange links with.

Some, just because they *want* to have a very tight focus, and obviously that's great, but others are just plain convinced that if they're not careful Google is going to mug them in a dark alley.

Through this forum I'm getting a clearer idea of the possibilities.

Thanks for letting me bounce some of this off on you. And, I'm guessing there's been a lot of people who have glanced at this thread and no one (watch me ask for it ;-)) has posted calling us both idiots. (yet) So, we must not be too far off of being correct.

Receptional Andy

 7:50 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

>linking to the "wrong" site

I think I should clarify what I meant above.
It's getting links FROM the wrong site that can be particularly harmful, so you still need to watch the pages that are linking to you.

I said earlier "what makes a link farm is the SAME page of links (or very similar) on a number of different urls" and re-reading your initial post, it appears that this might be the case with your casino sites.

>I wind up with my link on 100 casino websites, on their linkpage

Would this be in the same format on each site?
If yes, then this could land you in trouble. If the link pages are already there, and are likely to cause problems, then you are pretty likely to see some 0 page ranks with the Google toolbar. But if they are good quality sites then you shouldn't run into too many problems.


 8:02 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's getting links FROM the wrong site that can be particularly harmful, so you still need to watch the pages that are linking to you.

Google, at least, specifically states [google.com] that "Your rank and your inclusion are dependent on factors under your control (emphasis added) as a webmaster, including content choices and site design." This has frequently been reinforced by GoogleGuy.

It's not links FROM the wrong sites but links TO the wrong sites.


 9:45 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, I guess I should clarify some things, as well.

I understand that I couldn't care less who carries a link TO my site (the more the merrier) but I do want to be careful who's link I carry ON my site.

I surmise that carrying a page on my widget site that has only casino links is perfectly fine as long as their, hmmm, home page and/or links page is okay (not a PR0).

I guess both would have to be good. The page I link to has to be good or I may get penalized and if the page carrying the link to my site is a zero none of the search engines will see my link.

However, carrying links to good casino sites seems like it might be okay.

Now I need to go clarify what really defines a link farm...


 10:03 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

widgets > widget products > designing widgets > designing general > promotioning designs > marketing > business development > business opportunities > online businesses > casinos

hmmm... getting from widgets to casinos isn't that much of a leap.

A hub is a hub... How does DMOZ get away with it?


 10:14 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

LOL. Thanks.

Receptional Andy

 9:55 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

When I re-read the thread a couple of hours later, I thought I had put too much emphasis on TO sites, hence my last post above.

A couple of things from the Google TOS:

"Linking schemes do not increase a given site's PageRank, **and will often do a site more harm than good** "

"There is **almost** nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking"

To me these 2 points suggest that there could be harm in getting links FROM the wrong site. Take this example - I go out and get 100s of links to my site on every guestbook I can find. Wouldn't Google's algorithm pick up on the large number of unrelated links from low value pages, and punish my site?
After all, it would be clear from the format and location of the links that they had been artifically created (and that I got the links, no-one else, unless a competitor was doing the 'almost nothing'!) and so I would have damaged my own site.

Not trying to change my opinion here HeyJim, jus ttrying to make sure I cover all the issues that might affect your site. The most important one being that the sites involved are indexed and ranked by Google. If they are, I really see no problem.


 10:13 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

As with most things, the more complex the equation the more chance something will go wrong.

Linking to anyone "could" have detrimental affects. You are not in the "know" of other web site owner's awareness/knowledge/skill to determine bad neighborhoods, bad linking practices, or what these web site owners will do in the future.

Many web sites - ride the edge of accepted practices, many more are well beyond the "gray" areas, so you have two choices... do & accept the risks, or don't & play it safe.

As far as related sites... if you are a site about "guessbooks" -- I doubt Google will find anything wrong.

If you are a hub of information - and link accordingly you are/will be related to everything informative.

The caution is warranted though -- you can't get from "widgets" to "casinos" with a mere few pages of unrelated topics.

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