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Reciprocal Linking Bad for PageRank
Just been reading up on PageRank algorithm ...
internetheaven




msg:37897
 12:58 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just been reading a few more articles on Google PageRank and it just clicked today when I saw an example on a German site about reciprocal linking damaging your PageRank.

If you run a few (10-15) iterations of the PageRank calculations over two pages linking to each other from their main pages, it shows that although the main page's PageRank is marginally increased, the PageRank for the rest of the pages in your site suffers.

I assume that this will have the same detrimental effect on all your site pages using a 'links page' to which you give out links and get them back? If you run the same calculations for a site using a links page rather than linking out from multiple pages of the site it does show that less PageRank is lost overall.

The worst part is, if you have a higher PageRank than the person you are linking to, you suffer more than the other person as you don't get back even close to what you lost to them.

From this I have concluded that link exchange programs are damaging to your site's PR. Even if you use a 'links page', most webmasters in link exchange schemes will only link to the page you are linking to them from (it's only fair, why should they pass you loads of PR when you've got them sharing a page with 50 other links?) therefore more PR is passed to your own links page from the rest of the site than is given back. If a webmaster is willing to link to your main page from his 'links page' the amount of PR you gain from a low PR page with 50 or so links is negligible.

Is this a fair conclusion?

The more I read it, the more I realise that this is some algorithm they've created, I can sleep a little easier knowing that link exchange schemes will never overtake good, natural content linking without coersion.

 

Chicken Juggler




msg:37898
 3:31 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I never exchange a link. I have many sites. I link to their site and they link to one of my other sites. Normaly I have them deeplink. I also have them link to domain.com/kw-kw.html. Links are not just for PR they have more value as anchor text. PR really does not have that much value any more unless you have lots of it.

annej




msg:37899
 6:20 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since PR is based on the individual page and link pages are seldom on the homepage it seems to me it shouldn't make much difference. Basically I usually link to a site's homepage from either a links page or a content page. They generally link back the same way.

Am I missing something here?

Huge1102




msg:37900
 6:27 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Be careful not to go "PR" crazy. Reciprocal links help do drive free targeted traffic to your site. If an internet user visits someone's links page and clicks on your link you can be sure that the person is actually looking for what your site offers.

Also, most link exchanges that I participate in involve linking to my homepage, not to the same page that I linked to them from.

In other words, I link to their homepage from my links section and they link to my homepage from their links section.

I hope this helps.

Hugo

AthlonInside




msg:37901
 6:45 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google have PR10 but google never appear at the TOP of SERPs for the search of 'hotel', 'credit cards', 'debt consolidation', 'web design', 'free porn', 'sex' ...

So do PR really that ImporTanT? LOL.

SyntheticUpper




msg:37902
 8:12 pm on Mar 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google have PR10 but google never appear at the TOP of SERPs for the search of 'hotel', 'credit cards', 'debt consolidation', 'web design', 'free porn', 'sex' ...

A fascinating point. And in the same way, the BBC with its PR 9 doesn't show up every time you search for any one of the thousands of items it discusses.

Seems to indicate that the search relevancy evaluation is completed first, and then PR serves merely to boost / rank what Google has already determined as being relevant.

During Florida / Austin this appeared to go entirely out of the window - searches threw up pages with only glancing relevance, with low PR too - boy were we confused :)

steveb




msg:37903
 12:08 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

People get so wound up in nothing with this stuff.

"Reciprocal Linking Bad for PageRank" is a meaningless statement. It's like saying "linking is bad for pagerank". A reciprocal link is nearly identical to a link to one of your own pages. There is no voodoo here. If you link to your own pageA, that gives you less pagerank to distribute to the rest of your domain, from the original page. Duh. It's the same thing with linking to another domain. You've given a page on that domain some pagerank, it gives you some back. All you are doing by linking to someone else is including their page(s) within the web of pagerank that effects you.

experienced




msg:37904
 5:23 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi,

As far as i feel according to my little experience :)
Reciprocal linking is not bad and not going to decrease your PR for any of your page including Home Page of the site if you have linked your sites hosted on different servers. If you have a number of sites hosted on the ame servers, this may be a cause of problem for your sites, may be PR will effect, may be wash out from G.

Reciprocal linking is also helps user to find what he is looking for. Link between same sites hosted on the same server is a problem but if sites are running of different servers you can link them.

My personal Experience...
Thanks
Exp...

seofreak




msg:37905
 5:32 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

if reciprocal linking is bad then web designers and their customers are doomed! ha!

sit2510




msg:37906
 6:13 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Reciprocal Linking Bad for PageRank?

Most of the cases I see the opposite. Reciprocal linking is a "give and take" style of web marketing. You may lose PR to some sites, but you may also gain PR from some other sites. I don't mean that you have to exchange links madly without opening your eyes, but being too obsessive or too greedy on PR may lead you to no where in the long run.

PatrickDeese




msg:37907
 6:17 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have a site that is PR 7 that links to sites that are pertinent to my users. it's a revolutionary new SEO strategy that i have employing for the past 6 years or so.

seriously, while you are using your "pinch-a-penny" PR hoarding strategy - someone else is creating content and sites worth linking to without recips.

PR leak is astonishingly overrated. if you are really worried - trade links A ->C, B->A

McMohan




msg:37908
 7:30 am on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

IMHO, post Florida, real question is not loss/gain in PR, but theme/neighborhood of linking pages. If I am promoting "Blue Widgets" I would rather get link from (and link out too) a page about "Blue Widgets" with PR3 and overlook a page with PR6 that deals with say "Webmaster Tools". That is how we are getting to see all these low PR pages ranked for phrases, hitherto the domain of high PR sites.

Mc

internetheaven




msg:37909
 12:20 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some of those posts were really interesting, sadly, some of the were just egotisitical. The few I'd like to comment on were:

Chicken Juggler - "Links are not just for PR they have more value as anchor text."
Very true, and even though most people know that, the junior webmaster still seems to have it in their head that the PR of the site is the important factor.

AthlonInside - "Google have PR10 but google never appear at the TOP of SERPs for the search of '*****', '*******', '*******'"
Well of course they don't. Google made that mistake last year and ended up with the SearchK**g fiasco. PageRank still affect you in the market you're in. If 100 sites all have the same great optimization, the same great anchor text and the same themes then PageRank is the deciding factor. This makes it very important for crowded markets such as the ones you've mentioned. Google doesn't offer '*****', '*******', '*******' as far as I know? (give them time though!)

steveb - "Reciprocal Linking Bad for PageRank" is a meaningless statement ... A reciprocal link is nearly identical to a link to one of your own pages ... If you link to your own pageA, that gives you less pagerank to distribute to the rest of your domain, from the original page. Duh. It's the same thing with linking to another domain ... You've given a page on that domain some pagerank, it gives you some back."
Well, where to start. A reciprocal link is 'nothing' like a link to one of your own pages. In the calculations the page rank for internal linking is passed around your own site, any PageRank lost from one pages is given to the next and so on, and so on. A link given to an external page is PageRank given away, not distributed around your pages but given straight to the external site. The calculations for PageRank show that a link back does not give you enough PageRank back to warrant PageRank Reciprocal Linking. PageRank is developed against the number of pages on the web, therefore interlinking cannot possibly boost the overall ranking of both sites as this would increase the fixed number Google uses for its PageRank calculations, the PageRank calculation totals must divide to give the exact number of pages in the calculation to start with (which obviously does not include 'hanging links' that are removed prior to calculation).

experienced - "If you have a number of sites hosted on the ame servers, this may be a cause of problem for your sites, may be PR will effect, may be wash out from G."
I agree with the notion but not the specifics. I don't believe from what I've seen that PageRank is affected by domains on the same server. I do feel that the relevance algorithm section is affected by sites that are on the same server or close to (GEOIP) each other. Google did state in thier original PageRank patent that one of the other factors influencing link importance was 'distance'. Therefore links from sites that are 'further away' from you are given more relevance.

seofreak - "if reciprocal linking is bad then web designers and their customers are doomed"
I realise this was just a jovial comment but I must stress that I am not trying to say 'Stop reciprocal Linking or you'll Die!' I am simply stating that if your only purpose for reciprocal linking is PageRank, then you are wasting your time. Anchor text and relevant linking is the important factor. I used to believe that the increase I was seeing in my PageRank was due to the Reciprocal Linking I had worked so hard on for months. Now, after doing hours upon hours of calculations I have found other factors that have boosted my PR. This does not mean I am against Reciprocal Linking.

PatrickDeese - "seriously, while you are using your "pinch-a-penny" PR hoarding strategy - someone else is creating content and sites worth linking to without recips. PR leak is astonishingly overrated"
Oh, for crying out loud! I'm not saying don't give out links! I'm just looking for verification that my calculations are correct and that reciprocal linking does lose you some PageRank. Can't a guy have a simple discussion on a simple topic without everyone reading into it so they can disagree and sound a bit macho on the side!

McMohan - "IMHO, post Florida, real question is not loss/gain in PR, but theme/neighborhood of linking pages ... That is how we are getting to see all these low PR pages ranked for phrases, hitherto the domain of high PR sites"
Yes, but what does that have to do with whether reciprocal linking loses you PageRank? If you want to start a discussion on themes, neighborhoods, PR in search results, anchor text, linking from relevant sites then you could start your own thread. I'm really looking for an answer to a question rather than comments on slightly related topics.

- Please note, this supposed to be a discussion on PageRank Reciprocal Linking not the value of anchor text or building 'quality content' that people want to link to, the idea was that if you knew anything about PageRank calcuations you could comment on whether I'd done them right, not to dish out personal opinions on linking. If you have a contradictory view please sticky me your calculations to show it so that I can see where I went wrong, thankyou. -

steveb




msg:37910
 12:52 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

"A link given to an external page is PageRank given away, not distributed around your pages but given straight to the external site"

Pagerank does not die. It flows. I link to a competitors site, they link to me. In your notion, we both lose. It makes no sense. My link to them passes PR, their link to me passes PR. What is lost is simply the dampening effect that occurs with any link, external or internal.

Reciprocal linking is a push. The same mathematical factors apply for linking between domains as linking within a domain. Linking within a domain of course allows you to manipulate your PR how you want, and prevent unecessary dampening. But it is fully inncorrect to think that links from parallel PR pages on other domains somehow create some voodoo loss for both.

Reciprocal links obviously are never exactly peer to peer. One PR5 is slightly different than another PR5. Somebody gets the best of it. But that is another issue.

"therefore interlinking cannot possibly boost the overall ranking of both sites as this would increase the fixed number Google uses for its PageRank calculations"

You don't understand pagerank. Interlinking does not increase some fixed number. Linking increases the SHARE of the fixed number for the linking pages, at the expense of other pages in the universe.

It's actually a simple concept. Suppose you have a one page domain, with a PR6 courtesy of a PR7 Yahoo directory link. If you add a second page to your domain, linked from the first, the second page will either be PR5 or PR6. If you now link back to your main page, you have just raised the PR of your main page microscopically, at the expense of the other pages in the universe. Similarly, if instead of making a second page, you link from you main page back to that PR7 Yahoo directory page, you raise ITS PR very slightly, which then raises YOUR PR slightly.

When you vote for the Yahoo page, that makes the Yahoo page's vote for you slightly more valuable. You aren't creating a perpetual motion machine. By casting a vote you are simply altering the distribution of the PR in the universe.

All webmasters have the power to alter the distribution of PR in the entire universe.

adfree




msg:37911
 1:33 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

steveb - I never read something as logical as your exclamation of PR, thanks for this little study.

Is it based on hard evidence, confirmation by G or someone else or observation, self-calculation of some sort?

Thanks again.

allanp73




msg:37912
 2:44 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

pr has to come from somewhere. The distribution of pr described by Steveb is correct. This is very similar to the way it was described in the original calculations for page rank. Pr does flow. The concern is not to let it flow out of your site into someone else. Let's assume pr is constant in the web universe. If this is the case interlinking with someone will cause one of three things:
1) pr to flow from site A to site B
2) pr to flow from site B to site A
3) pr equally distributed

Generally, when linking people are concerned with being on the short end of the stick. Sometimes building business relationships has to taken into account over the potential loss of pr.

Herenvardo




msg:37913
 4:36 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I can prove mathematically that whenever you exchange a link (in the form a.com/links -> b.com/home and b.com/links -> a.com/home), unless PR values are very different both sites increase their PR. The ones who lose (if you gain somebody has to lose) PR are those who where previously linked from each link page.
So in PR terms reciprocal linking is good.
If we also care anchor text, it's even better. Almost everyone among here agrees that anchor text helps to boost results. And links also boost traffic.
So, reciprocate! ;)

Greetings,
Herenvardö

birdstuff




msg:37914
 6:13 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

When I first created my main site, it was exclusively about widgets and wodgets, nothing else. I aggressively pursued high-quality link exchanges for several months and ended up with about 400 reciprocal links with this anchor text:

Companyname Widgets and Wodgets

After a while I decided to take my site in an entirely different direction because widgets and wodgets weren't very profitable in the end.

I removed all of the information from my site about widgets and wodgets and replaced it with new pages on my new topics. The terms widgets and wodgets have been nowhere to be found on my homepage or any other page for going on 10 months now.

Guess what? After almost a year without these terms anywhere on my site, my home page still comes up #1 for a search on widgets (out of 900+k results) and wodgets (550+k results). Granted, these terms aren't extremely competitive, but my home page is beating out pages that are well-SEO'd for those particular terms, some of which have the same PR6 as my home page.

I could be missing something here, but it seems to me that lots of inbound links (reciprocal in my case) with relevent anchor text trumps good on-page SEO for all but the most competitive search terms. Am I right or is there another factor that I'm missing?

internetheaven




msg:37915
 9:41 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wow, if that's true then Google have really relaxed their 'Google Bombing' filters. I thought that a page had to have the terms it was linked to for to actually rank for that page?

Chicken Juggler




msg:37916
 9:52 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google bombing has to do with offsite factors. Ranking for words that are only on your page title are in your control.

bether2




msg:37917
 9:53 pm on Mar 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I thought that a page had to have the terms it was linked to for to actually rank for that page?

No, it's been like this for a long time. If you click on the link for the cached page, you'll get a message something like "These terms only appear in links pointing to this page: <search term>"

Beth

birdstuff




msg:37918
 1:31 am on Mar 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I thought that a page had to have the terms it was linked to for to actually rank for that page?

Do a search for the term computers. Take a close look at the page that comes up #1 (out of over 65 million results!). The term computers isn't on the page at all.

caveman




msg:37919
 2:52 am on Mar 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's a math thing. Zero sum game. Take a page's PR. Divide by the number of links on that page that go to other pages. That's the % PR distributed. The little subtleties beyond that are far outweighed by the quality of the traffic that flows from your site to other sites, and/or back to your site from other sites. That should tell you all you need to know about where to look for inbound links. Knowing or caring about more than that is counterproductive. Focus on the big stuff. Get it 80% right, and you're golden...'cause not many folks actually do that. ;-)

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