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Outbound Links
are they needed?

 3:27 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am new to seo but have managed several page 3 and one first page ranking on google, i found that my ranking has gone up quite alot recently with the only content change being a few outbound links to sites that have similar titles, keywords and descriptions as me.
I did not think that outbound links played any major part in seo..... any thoughts?



 4:31 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEOs tend to debate this pretty heavily. Even among the pragmatic [read: I'll do anything to get rankings ;) ] SEOs, some people claim it's better to hoard PageRank and some people claim it's better to "look like a real site" and point out that real sites tend to have outlinks.

I lean more toward the latter school of thought. If SEOs go to extremes trying to recreate or mimic the content/linking patterns that "real, useful" sites have, before you know it--you actually end up with a real, useful site. :)

I'm mildly joking here, but the rule of thumb that I'd go with here is that visitors to your site probably want to know about useful related resources. And the higher-level principle is to make a useful site that visitors consider a good resource, want to return to, and would mention to their friends.

A quick example: I was recently reading about a program called KCeasy on Slashdot, so I checked out their website at [kceasy.com...] If you visit the site, notice that they have useful links to giFT (the underlying protocol) plus other various giFT clients. This is a non-commercial site that's just trying to give info on their piece of software and that gives info on other options as well. That particular site would be much less useful if the author tried to hoard PageRank or somehow keep every visitor on their own site. Instead, the links are as useful as the site itself. It's a good site; the sort of site that sticks in the mind of an interested visitor.

So that's my personal take. Bear in mind that I'm of the "build the good site, and the rankings will follow" school of philosophy. Other folks may belong to the "get rankings first, and then develop the site" school of thought. I'll step aside to let someone from the pragmatic school of SEO give their take.

Added: Here's another interesting non-commercial site: [placelab.org...] The idea is to offer geolocation by mapping WiFi hotspots to GPS readings, e.g. by wardriving. It's a really really neat site: there's publications, lots of info, and even a place where you can upload your wardriving logs to help the project out. But would the site be helped by adding a few additional links to describe how GPS works, how the NMEA standard allows your computer to talk to a GPS unit, maybe a link to geocaching.com, NetStumbler, or other fun tricks that you can do with GPS or WiFi? Yeah, I think that would take a really nice site and kick it up even a little more.


 4:49 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yeah, what GoogleGuy said. Outbound links, unless they point to sites that have been penalized, can only help you. They may or may not help you in the rankings - but it is good for your visitors. And in the end, what is good for your visitors should be good for your site, too.


 6:23 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

But how do i know that the site i am linking to is not penalized? And what if that site is penalized and i do not know? what penalty can be imposed on my site? I would be really grateful for this information. Because while linking to other sites you never know.


 7:05 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

website at [kceasy.com...] If you visit the site, notice that they have useful links to giFT (the underlying protocol) plus other various giFT clients

Yeah, and also notice the sweet PR0 on the links page :)


 8:34 pm on Apr 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

shahid it is usually (but not 100%) pretty easy to tell if a site is penalized. Look at its backlinks and PR, look at its similar pages, and search for it using specific sorts of phrases that it should rank at least in the top ten for.


 5:59 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

mfishy---there seem to be PR0's on lots (if not most) other pages linked off the homepage too. Were you refering to the *links*.html penalty theory?


 6:20 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

a. IMO if the site is good for your users, who cares if it's penalized.

b. GG, you have now eclipsed the boundaries of geekdom.;)

c. When I was 'floridered' I immediately added a link to my biggest competitor, partly because it is a useful site that offers stuff i don't have, and partly because I suspected that was behind some of the massive changes at the time. Now I am at #1 and they float between 2 and 5. There are about a zillion variables that could cause this besides the outbounds I added to my homepage and other pages, but I'm keeping the links anyway.


 6:31 am on Apr 30, 2004 (gmt 0)

I seem to recall 5 or 6 months ago when i suggested that outbound links to competitors was helpful that I was treated as a crackpot!:)

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