homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google News Archive
Forum Library, Charter, Moderator: open

Google News Archive Forum

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >     
The (dis)advantage of exchanging links
How can exchanging links raise your PR?

 10:11 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe I am just missing something basic here - but as far as I understand the PR algo, I donīt get how exchanging links can help your web siteīs PR.

As far as I can see, if you exchange a link with somebody, there are three possible scenarios:

1.) Both links, mine and the one I get from the other web site, have exactly the same PR value. More theory, but even if this would be the case, both web sites would loose PR due to the damping factor, right? Not very attractive.

2.) You give more PR than you get. Well..

3.) You get more PR than you give. Nice - but you probably wont find that many webmasters willing to exchange a link if they LOOSE some PR, do you?

I of course see the other benefits of exchanging links - but in order to raise your PR, how might exchanging links help? That is, unless you find some webmasters not interested in SEO.. ;-)

Can someone tell me what I am missing?


Alec Doggone

 10:23 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yahoo doesn't have PR10 because of nice site design. It has lots of incoming links. Links help PR.


 10:26 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I would always exchange a link if it brings mutually beneficial relevant traffic to both sites, irrespective of the other site having lower pr.
High PR is useful but relevant links and content even more so.


 10:35 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe I don't understand this very well either (yet) but I suspect that the PR of a site is rather more than:

Incoming PR - Outgoing PR = Total PR

Otherwise a 10 page site that is

a) included in the second level of DMOZ
b) has no other external links
c) which has 100 links to different PR8 sites on each page

Is going to end up with very little PR... and I suspect that is not the case.

Myself, I would prefer to concentrate on exchanging links with associated descriptions which promote brand recognition and encourage human visitors... and just let the robots do their job.


 10:41 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

good summary sudden! yep the way you can get more PR is by exchanging with someone who has more - not everyone knows about PR - you can find the ones that don't with a lot of work and luck. But of course if the other guy is not a direct competitor for your keywords you both gain yes?

Really I honestly think reciprocal linking is a waste of time, though many here who i respect would disagree. If you have a good site with non-commercial useful content you will get one way links in anyway, and you should suggest it to "authorities". If you are a commercial site, well you may get better ROI by spending money on PPC. Google knows that link pop only really works with info sites and content sites, which is why so many commercial sites try various tricks to get it, and also give recip linking a go. However, Google eventually finds ways to degrade the value of such things.


 10:42 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Maybe I havenīt maid myself clear - sure there are many benefits in getting links to your web site. But letīs just look at PR here, and just at EXCHANGING links.

A pageīs PR is only influenced by one single factor - the incoming links (and their PR of course). Nothing else. So I donīt see how EXCHANGING links can help raise your PR, looking at the three possible scenarios mentioned above. Or am I wrong?


 10:49 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


thank you for your thoughts - as I have not asked
for reciprocal links so far, I wanted to be sure I understand things right before I start.

However, it would of course be nice to hear some of the webmasters who disagree..

Made In Sheffield

 10:58 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

> 1.) Both links, mine and the one I get from the other web site, have exactly the same PR value. More theory, but even if this would be the case, both web sites would loose PR due to the damping factor, right? Not very attractive.<

My understanding of the damping factor is that it means the page you link to gets the same PR as your linking page minus a certain percentage. It doesn't mean your PR goes down because you have outbound links from a page.

So there is no disadvantage to swapping links that I can see in this regard.


 10:59 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

But letīs just look at PR here, and just at EXCHANGING links.
A pageīs PR is only influenced by one single factor - the incoming links (and their PR of course).

Nothing else. So I donīt see how EXCHANGING links can help raise your PR, looking at the three possible scenarios mentioned above. Or am I wrong?

You are missing the point of PageRank.

A drop of rain falls... if you get enough drops then those drops will form run-offs to creeks & streams, river & lakes and back to the ocean where it started from. The sun heats the top layer on the ocean condenses into clouds, winds blow clouds onto the land and the same effect starts all over again.

How does this apply to PageRank?

Well your outgoing link... is a drop of PageRank increasing someone elses PageRank... and their's increases someone elses, and so on, and so on...

The more conntectiveness your little pool of PageRank is the more you get in return.

In essence - you are thinking "too small" -- you can't get an "Ocean of PageRank" from a puddle... it will just evaporate in time. ;)

PageRank must be in a cycle... a closed loop -- "to you" doesn't work well... most will say... "what's in it for me".


 11:18 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Surely the point is that giving a link doesn't lose that Page any PR at all. Remember this is Page Ranking not site ranking.

If I have a PR4 page and I exchange links with a PR4 page then my page is now a higher PR4 than previously.


 11:29 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Also speakign of "loosing pagerank to outgoing links" is entirely inacurate. for the calculation of pagerank for a particular page ONLY INCOMING links are even considered. Outgoing links have NO relevance to your page.

But doign a link exchange and voting for (NOT giving PR to) another page, you increase its PR sicne you are an incoming link for that page and those are considered for PR calculation. The ntaht page (with its increased PR) links back to you and returns some of your own vote, which would otherwise simply be lost.

Each page has potential PR voteing power to give. If you don't use it to vote (outbound link) for another page it's simply wasted and lost, not saved.

Now of course you could just internally link, but your internal pages are likely to have lower PR as somebody elses link page.

In the end it doesn't matter where you link to if its returned somehow. Only if all your internal pages have high PR is it not worth it to do external link exchanges. But since you don'T start out with high PR you're only going to get taht with exchanges in the first place.


 11:33 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Lengthy discussion here, but Kilroy is right, oubount links do not affect the PR of the page with the links on. If you lost RP for outbound links Yahoo would like have 0...


 11:38 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is a discussion of linking strategy here:



 11:49 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pagerank is not everything...

If site B has a link with link text saying that site A is about widgets then this helps you more than if you put a link on site A with link text "widgets" (pointing to an internal page).

Getting somebody to link to you (even with the same or less pagerank than you have) is still a referral saying something about the content of your site. If the topic of site B is even in the same area as site A then it is even better.


 12:28 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


in principle you are right.

Outgoing links (for a 'normal' linking structure, i.e. no dead ends) decrease PR. And the decrease is exactly (as allways I'm neglecting the case of dead ends) the increase of other pages (but not the transferred PR). However, the decrease take not only place on your page with the outgoing links, but also pages connected to this pages (internal as well as external pages and not only directly connected pages) are affected and the sum of the decrease of all this pages is excatly the increase of PR on the page you are linking to and pages connected to this page. (The total amount of PR of the system is unchanged since no additional pages are added). Since the decrease take not only place on pages on your domain (but also other pages which you are linking to and which got less PR after adding an additional link) you will benefit (a little bit) from an exchange with a page wich have exactly the same PR.

Of course, even if there is no benefit for PR, an exchange can improve your ranking (e.g. because of the additional anchor text of the incoming link).

See also this previous discussion. [webmasterworld.com]


 3:42 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Taking an example:
My page1 has PR 5 and 2 links: one internal to Page2 and one to a link partner. This means my outbound links are worth:
$LinkVal = PR5 * &dampeningFactor(2)
This value gets added to the PR for both my page2 and the link partner's page.

The link partner's page was PR5 and 2 links, one to my page1. His page's PR is now the same as mine plus what he gets from my site:
PR5 + $LinkVal

Since his page is worth more, he is now sending me back more page rank.

Now, if the partner stuffs my link in a page with 100 other links, the value I get from his page is:
(PR5 + $linkVal) * &dampeningFactor(100)

If I understand the original post, the question is --
How is this any better than just linking to my own page2 and forget the partner:
$LinkVal = PR5 * $dampeningFactor(1)
Now page2 has one link which goes back to page1 with a link value of:
(PR5 + $LinkVal) * &dampeningFactor(1)

Depending on the algo of &dampeningFactor(n), scenario #2 appears more attractive.

If the algo is: PR/n then there is no benefit either way as long as you have the same number of oubound as inbound.

A link to version1 of this algo is published elsewhere in this forum.



 3:59 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

As I understand it:

Incoming Site links to me and I'm one of three links on the page - so I get a third of all the potential PR benefit available to be passed on.

My homepage links to three subpages, one of which is my links page.

Each of my subpages links back to my homepage. In addition, my links page also links to Incoming Site.

So two of my subpages give all their potential PR to be passed on back to my homepage. My links page gives half the potential PR to be passed on to my homepage and half to Incoming Site.

In very general terms, I've passed on 1/6 of the potential PR benefit to Incoming Site and retained 5/6 for myself.

Even if I have 100 outgoing links on my links page, I can only pass on a maximum of 1/3 of the potential PR benefit to all those sites and retain at least 2/3 for myself. The more pages I have in addition to my links page, the more PR benefit I retain for myself.

If I link to Incoming Site from my homepage and not from a subpage, I've passed on 1/2 of the potential PR benefit to Incoming Site and retained 1/2 for myself. If I link to nine sites from my homepage, I've passed on 9/10 of the potential PR benefit and only retained 1/10 for myself.

Hence I prefer the simple linking strategy of linking everything back to the homepage and keeping a single subpage for outgoing reciprocal links.

Made In Sheffield

 4:32 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

When you pass on PR it is not taken off your PR.

I have a PR 6 page with no outbound links. I add 100 links to that page. The PR is still 6.

That's my understanding, outbound links do not affect the PR of a page.


 4:38 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Made In Sheffield - good point. i was about to say that. there is speculation that outbound links acually help (maybe not your pr) - that way you page is not a "dead end"

Made In Sheffield

 4:50 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Yes I agree outbound links definately help with the ranking algo but not the PR calculation.



 4:54 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

It's not taken off your PR, but you're passing a PR benefit to another site rather than back to yourself. So you're not benefiting yourself as much as you could do. The link:www.yoursite.com brings up deeplinks of yoursite.com doesn't it?

Made In Sheffield

 5:11 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

I see your point but it wouldn't stop me from adding an outbound link, it wouldn't even be something I'd consider. I don't think it makes much difference at all.

My site is covered in outbound links and the PR6 from the homepage is distributed to every level 2 page (linked from the homepage).

I don't believe that if you have one link it gets 1/1 of the PR and if you have two links they both get 1/2 of the PR, I think the number of outbound links has a minimal effect on how much PR each link gets passed on. Maybe more like if you have one link it get's 1/1, if you have two they both get 99/100 or 999/1000.

It certainly isn't relevant to this discussion of it being a reason not to swap links.



 5:24 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well my point was that if you're worried about reciprocal linking affecting your PR, the most conservative way to do it is to make a specific links page as a subpage of your site and put all the reciprocal links there. Personally I have no trouble with on theme reciprocal linking nor exclusive outgoing links that are useful for my visitors, although I avoid linking out from my homepage for the reasons described previously.


 5:33 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)
Made In Sheffield

outgoing links decrease your PR. However, this doesn't mean that it necessarily decrease your ToolbarPR. Also, as already mentioned, even if your PR is decreased your ranking (and this is finally the important thing) can be improved (it depends on Google ranking algorithm). Therefore, you can benefit from linking to other pages but your PR is defenitly decreased. ([url=http://****/e-outbound-links.shtml]Markus has this described in detail[/url])

Also, the number of outbound links is important since PR is splitted.


 5:37 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

There's a couple things being kicked around here. But the most important thing for everyone is that sending out a link does nothing to diminish the PR of the sending page. PR is additive not subtractive. I'll repeat that, outbound links do not subtract from PR!

Read the papers on PR and you'll see that there is no subtraction for outbounds. I see that some have posted that this is false but it is a common misconception and very important to grasp. The fact is that an outbound link doesn't diminish the PR of the page linked from. The dampening factor prevents a site from creating PR on pages of little value. There are other reasons for the dampener but if there were two sites on the web, each with one page, those two sites could only gain PR by linking to each other.

Next, the idea of retaining as much PR as you can within your site is really just a matter of having smart navigation. Every one of your pages ought to link to the homepage or whatever you deem your most important page. You should also link to other important pages from every one of your pages. The site map, for example, needs to get as much PR as possible in order to get the Googlebot as deep into your site as possible, so link to it since most likely external sites won't. Also, pages at the bottom level ought to link to their subsection directories, assuming a hierarchical structure. IMHO, web site navigation is the single most important element after quality content not just for Googlebot but also for site usability.

Lastly, the idea that you have to somehow hoard your PR and keep it as much as possible within your site is a great way to become a pariah site that nobody will link to. Eventually a smart competitor who works hard on promoting his site will get more incoming PR than you and beat you at your keywords. The whole concept of the web is interlinking. It always has been. There doesn;t seem to be any proof that Google penalizes sites with no outbounds but they could decide next week to implement something like this. For all I know they may have decided to do so with the next update! So why not have the confidence to go out and get lots of links? If your site is in my area, write me. I'd be happy to trade links even if you have very little PR. I won't link with anyone who has a PR0 because I don't know why the site has PR0. But anybody with real PR is welcome to trade links with me.


 6:02 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

If you are just considering the total PR of all the pages in your site, you are correct that the only immediate advantage is when you have a reciprocal link with a site that passes more PR to you than you pass to it.

The two advantages that I can see to reciprocal linking would be as a PR insurance policy, and swapping links with a site that you expect to improve over time.

Of course there are so many other advantages to linking, that it's stupid to horde you links just for PR.


 6:15 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

taxpod - great post! :)

Made In Sheffield

 6:20 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)


I am aware of Marcus's work and yes that is as I said, having an outbound link [off site or within site] from a page DOES NOT decrease the PR of that page:

> PR(A) = 0.25 + 0.75 PR(B)
PR(B) = 0.25 + 0.375 PR(A)
PR(C) = 0.25 + 0.75 PR(D) + 0.375 PR(A)
PR(D) = 0.25 + 0.75 PR(C) <

Nowhere in that calculation is there a reduction in the PR because of outbound links.

But as already pointed out having off site outbound links from a page does decrease the total PR of the site.


 6:25 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

taxpod has a great argument, and others have pointed out other advangages to reciprocal links.

However, you guys are forgetting part of the PR algo. This has come up before. I'll dig out the thread and post it in a few minutes. It was called "second Eigenvalue of the Google matrix"

You are forgetting the random jump factor.

PR is _not_ a conserved quantity!

There are PR sinks and PR sources. PR is created and destroyed. You can create it by making pages and linking them together. So reciprocal links _do_ boost your PR, whether they benefit you more or the other guy, either way, in the end you both win.

I have recently taken a site from PR5 to PR6 with nothing but reciprocal links. And these mostly with sites with fairly savvy webmasters, so I don't believe for a minute that I am taking advangage of them. I am sure their PR has increased too. Reciprocal links increase the PR of both sites. I am sure of this. I can elaborate if you like.


 6:43 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

The post I am referring to is here:


It talks about the PR algo using a "random surfer" analogy.

PR is basically a measure of how well connected your site is from the rest of the web. You cannot retain all of your incoming PR within your site, and if you try Google will probably penalize you for it in the near future, even if they don't already.

On the other hand, reciprocal links DO boost your PR. This is because of the "random jump" factor. Every now and then, the "random surfer" in the PR algo model gets bored and jumps to a random spot on the web. This means that each page indexed in Google is a PR source. This PR may be small, but it exists. Thus, reciprocal linking will boost your PR because it essentially makes your "neighborhood" bigger, that is, it means that there are more pages on the web which have an outgoing path which leads to your site. The more of these you have, the more PR you get from the random jump factor. Having a large neighborhood is kind of like having a huge site. Size matters. Each page is a source of PR. The more sites you can get to link to you, the more PR you get from their content. And they get PR from you. Everybody wins.

Though ranking for a particular keyword is a zero-sum game (only ten spots on the first page), PR is _not_ a zero sum game, because the total PR of the web is always increasing. The more interlinked you are, the higher your PR. Furthermore, there may be other factors in the algo (besides PR) which benefit well-linked sites. Google clearly wants the web to be a _web_. They are implementing even more stuff to encourage this.

As taxpod said, you should trade links. I'll trade links with you too, if your site is remotely on theme and you haven't got a penalty. Sticky me if you want to trade links, I'd love to.

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google News Archive
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved