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Reciprocal Link Question
What is better off subject PR8 or on subject PR6?

 3:54 am on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been offered a back link choice from either an off topic PR8 that gives the appearance of not being reciprocal or an on topic PR6 that is a straight reciprocal. To receive the PR 8 back link I would need to give a few links from PR6 pages.

Giving the links I really donít mind as it is on topic and would fit well in my pages. My question is which is better higher PR but off topic or lower PR but on topic?



 2:32 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

The question is *better for what*? If you are looking to please your visitors and the potential of more traffic then the topical link is better. Very few know how G treats unrelated links. Some hold to the theory of a link is a link. I do not subscribe to that train of thought.


 3:42 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)


The on topic link will most likely help your search result placement, while the off topic link will boost the PR of the target page. If you have a retail site a on topic link might lead to more sales than a boost in PR.

just my $.02


 3:53 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Depends on links, if there are a lot of links on the pr8 and only 1 on the pr6 I would go on theme pr6,

also seeing cloaked links quite a bit these days (so that the search engines don't pick them up)



 4:14 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stay on topic, stay on topic, stay on topic....


 4:23 pm on May 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is a tough one. I will defiantly take a link. I am still not sure what is the best. The links appear to be clean. I think I would probably get more traffic from the PR8 rather then the PR6. The site is a resource running ads.

I think my question is over all from a google point of view is the on topic link better? There is a lot of talk these days that PR is a very degraded ranking factor. I am trying to think more long term.


 4:34 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

DaveN - you mentioned "cloaked links".

Would really appreciate knowing how to tell if a link to my site is cloaked.



 4:56 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

PR means nothing nowadays when it comes to rankings, I would take the PR6 on-topic link before I would even touch an off-topic PR8.


 4:58 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Calum : couple of ways, but a good cloaker will make it hard for you and cloak VIA Ip address and not UA....anyways check

a) is it a pr4 or higher link and does it show up in the backlinks
b) spoof Useragent to Googlebot see what shows on site
c) check googles Cache!



 5:24 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

For goodness sake don't take a PR8 link from an off-subject site. It's skews your theme.

Unless you have a very strong PR yourself having a link from a high PR off-subject site could actually result in you going down the SERPS for your targeted keywords.

I would pay someone to not link to me from a very high, complete off-topic PR10 site (and pay even more if that was a pr0n site)


 5:30 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I would pay someone to not link to me from a very high, complete off-topic PR10 site"

Excellent. How much? :)

I see a whole new potential income stream! Must get in there before Yahoo


 5:41 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

p1mpernel, it does represent a completely new revenue stream.

Some things you need to have first.
A) You need to know what my URL is
B) You need to guess how much I'd really be willing to pay for this. Obviously, it's not something I'd help you with
C) You need to have a PR10 site ;)

But the big fly in the ointment is that this would be blackmail which is illegal, and you can't blackmail me without telling me who you are (i.e. what your PR 10 URL is).

he he

Seriously though, if you were selling tennis balls and you had three links from PR2 tennis or sports related pages and suddenly there is a high PR p0rn site linking to you, what do you think will happen? Google's algo would take a completely different view - so to speak - of your little yellow balls.

[edited by: Macro at 5:45 pm (utc) on May 10, 2004]


 5:45 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thx again DaveN

a) is it a pr4 or higher link and does it show up in the backlinks
b) spoof Useragent to Googlebot see what shows on site
c) check googles Cache!

a) Do you check backlinks in G? Alltheweb look to list most if not all links irrespective of PR - so surely this is better? (you're able to pick up the PR3's) [And just to be sure we're singing from the same hymn sheet, checking basically means: link:www.widget.com]
b) Afraid I need a bit-o-handholding on this one - How do you do that?
c) Most importantly, where/how do I check G's cache?!?

Further in your debt Dave


 6:34 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)


To check cache. Go to the google homepage and type the URL in the searchbox.

For example:


Will give you :

Show Google's cache of www.cnn.com


 7:36 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

"PR means nothing nowadays when it comes to rankings, I would take the PR6 on-topic link before I would even touch an off-topic PR8."
you couldn't be more wrong. I had a PR7 for a month and got at least 25% more people everyday before it went back to 6.


 7:57 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

The off topic PR8 link in a NY minute

If G doesn't know what your site is about, you need many, many more links. Odds are a lot of those links will describe your site just fine (anchor text).


 8:52 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks mars on showing how to check G's cache.

This is creating more questions than it's answering.
1. My .co.uk doesn't appear in the cache, whereas my .com does (and almost all of my SERP pages resolve to the .co.uk!)
2. Ok, so knowing that my .com appears (1 entry) in G's cache - what does this tell me about whether links to my site are cloaked?



 9:36 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

C'mon. A pr6 link over a pr8. On/Off topic?
Who's to say what that is. Geez, don't go getting analysis paralysis.
Take the pr8. Thay don't come around every day. Let Google worry about whether it's on or off topic. That's if they even do.


 3:05 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

simple decision for me, all things being equal (same amount of outbounds on both pages, same code, etc,) with the exception of the PR8 being off topic and PR6 being on topic... I'd choose the on topic hands down. Better quality traffic for you since it's "related" rather than wasted traffic.
Why refer people from a website dedicated to apples to one about oranges when you can get more effective conversions etc. from referrals from a site about oranges?
Think about the surfers, they would appreciate an "on topic" link more.


 4:43 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

a few factors to consider:

what is your curret PR?
-if greater than 6 then on topic may be better (target traffic)
-if low than 6 then the 8 may be better. The relative effect of PR seems to decrease above 6.

What is the size of your site and the importance of it being updated regularly?
-a large site (2000+ pages) that sells a fluctuating range of products may wish to get a PR increase so the pages get updated more regularly.

How off topic is the PR 8?
-will google see them as unrelated.
-will surfers see them as unrelated.

How on topic is the PR 6?
-is traffic from the site going to be high converting.

What impact will each of the pages have on income (sales, ads etc) and expenses (bandwidth)?
-Maybe you will get lots of traffic through the pr 8 and none convert. Thus costing you money in the long run.

just a few i would consider.


 5:05 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Inbound links from topical, well visited pages, are always the best...you will pick up traffic and better conversions this way...
You also want to consider how your outbound links from your site to other resources are formatted...your site visitors will gain more value if there is continuity and the bots will flow through your site and pick up on this topical continuity...
If the PR8 site is not on your topic and you set an inbound link from them you will certainly want to control the anchor text as much as possible...this way you at least gain the benefit of the correct anchor text link from a PR8 that is off-topic ... you may pick up some visitors as well but I would think your conversions would not be as good as the on-topic PR6 inbound..
Always think visitors first...then you are building for the web first and the bots second...


 6:06 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

what about if your selling mass market items? Does it really matter where your traffic comes from?

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