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Who you link to and possible penalties
PhilC




msg:46016
 11:28 pm on Oct 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

We know that Google's thinking is that a website can't control which sites and pages link to it, so they don't penalise sites because of IBLs (inbound links). And we know that thier thinking is that a website can control which sites it links to so they penalise sites that link to a penalised site or to a bad neighbourhood.

Does anyone know if the penalty for linking to a penalised site or bad neighbourhood is automatic or manual?

Suppose a few people in this forum have penalised (PR0ed) sites, and there are links to them in their profiles. Google spiders the profiles and will find that this forum links to some penalised sites. If the penalty is automatic, then this forum would be penalised. It would be wrong but it could happen if the penalty is automatic. So does anyone know?

 

Black Knight




msg:46046
 6:37 pm on Oct 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

ciml said:
Unless your forum is about reciprocal link networks, gambling affiliate programs or some other Google-dangerous activity, I wouldn't be especially worried.

I've rarely had cause to disagree with ciml, but I know of several websites that have earnt the PR0 penalty for just a couple of ill-considered links. Even some dmoz categories have a PR0 - no-one is immune, regardless how noble their intentions (which is the unfair bit).

GoogleGuy himself gave us the mantra: Who links to you can help you but never hurt you. Who you link to can harm you but never help you.

Sasquatch




msg:46047
 7:09 pm on Oct 26, 2002 (gmt 0)

Was this PR0 on the site, or on the page?

In the case of DMOZ, it certainly wasn't on the entire site. This would be an important distinction.

Black Knight




msg:46048
 12:17 am on Oct 27, 2002 (gmt 0)

The site - but the links in question were on the homepage, and if the homepage has PR0 then generally the whole site will match.

ciml




msg:46049
 2:16 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks Black Knight. I don't mean to suggest that forums with uncontrolled outbound links are definitely safe, just that most forums who allow links don't get PR0'd. Most of the time, it's low-risk.

The DMoz pages I've seen with linking penalties were Google-dangerous categories (they linked to a bunch of potentially dodgy URLs). If a forum has a couple of ill-considered links deep inside, then I would only expect a penalty for that page.

PhilC




msg:46050
 2:59 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Keep in mind that the WebmasterWorld Google News forum has a higher than average proportion of penalised people (because people come here to find out why they've been penalised).

Unless your forum is about reciprocal link networks, gambling affiliate programs or some other Google-dangerous activity, I wouldn't be especially worried.


WebmasterWorld is certainly susceptible, ciml. The forum that I'm dealing with is about websites and search engines and, because of a recent, well-know penalty, we attracted a few people with PR0 sites that are linked to from their sig lines and profiles. That's the reason I brought this topic up.

I've had to deal with it by hiding most of the links from spiders, but we didn't want to do that. We prefered that the forum had a free and open feel about it. I haven't hidden links in posts though. We still want people to be able to link out, and posts can be watched for potential problems.

Brad




msg:46051
 3:37 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>...I would only expect a penalty for that page.

I have to say this is sad. We should expect, and receive, no penalty. The owners of forums have better things to do than to be tied down double checking posts and member profiles for PR0 links. Nor should they feel like they even have to.

Will C-net, ABC, The Register, BBC get news article pages PR0'ed because they link to a PR0 while covering a news story? If so this could have a chilling effect on open discourse and news reportage on the web.

Are you sure? If what you guys are saying is true than PR0 could spread like a cancer.

Sasquatch




msg:46052
 4:49 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I do not understand what the objection is *if* this is a page specific penalty.

What is the concern if a member profile page gets a penalty for linking to a PR0ed site?

In the case of a full site penalty, I can understand the concern, but it they are page specific, or require passing a reasonably high threshold of bad links to apply to the entire site, I don't understand the problem.


PhilC




msg:46053
 6:23 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I do not understand what the objection is *if* this is a page specific penalty.
What is the concern if a member profile page gets a penalty for linking to a PR0ed site?

In the case of a full site penalty, I can understand the concern, but it they are page specific, or require passing a reasonably high threshold of bad links to apply to the entire site, I don't understand the problem.


The problem is that, on the whole, forums like to have signature lines that can contain URLs. The URL in the sig line of someone who posts quite often can be all over a forum site, and can be seen by Google as the site linking to the URL from many pages.

Also, a popular forum, such as WebmasterWorld, could have quite a number of profile pages that link to penalised sites.

It's been suggested that Google may operate a penalty according to the number of links to penalised sites. I.e. when the count reaches a certain number, ban the whole site. But we don't know if that happens. We have to assume that it might, and take steps accordingly. That's what's wrong. We shouldn't have to take any steps like that.

Powdork




msg:46054
 6:29 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Whats the pr of the forum's pages. I want to go post several of my urls all over them. No spam just looking for quality inbound links from high pr pages where I can write my own anchor text.
Thats why I think Google would largely ignore these links.

PhilC




msg:46055
 6:45 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

They may largely ignore forum pages, Powdork, but you'd also expect them to largely ignore DMOZ pages wouldn't you? If penalties were manual, then I've no doubt you'd be right, but if it's auto, how can you be right?

Powdork




msg:46056
 6:56 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Because they're good at it. I'm finding more and more that links that may at one time been thought to cause a penalty are now largely ignored. Why is it said that if your heavily cross linking between sites you should be okay as long as you have many more external links?
Because rather than penalise you for the cross links Google's algo will just ignore them. Your ranking would drop because that's where your pr was coming from, not because of a penalty except in especially egregious circumstances. I think that when GoogleGuy says they rather use the algo to fix problems it oft times means that links meeting certain criteria will devalued or ignored rather than sites being penalised. In the end the result is the same however.
I don't know how they would tell if a site is a forum but it would probably be similar to finding 'guestbook'.

Keep in mind I know a very little about a lot of things. Acting on my advice would be like depending on Google for income.

Sasquatch




msg:46057
 7:06 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's been suggested that Google may operate a penalty according to the number of links to penalised sites. I.e. when the count reaches a certain number, ban the whole site.

I think what most people were suggesting was that when a certain percentage of links, they might ban the whole site. How many links do YOU put on every one of your forum pages? What is the largest percentage of links to one person's URL do you have on any one page?

PhilC




msg:46058
 7:39 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think what most people were suggesting was that when a certain percentage of links, they might ban the whole site. How many links do YOU put on every one of your forum pages? What is the largest percentage of links to one person's URL do you have on any one page?

I think that what is clear from what most people were suggesting is that nobody outside Google knows what they do. So the number of links to the same site on any particular page doesn't matter. As long as there is a risk, it makes sense to defend against it, even if defending against it shouldn't be necessary.

What is the largest percentage of links to one person's URL that this forum would have on any of its pages if sig lines were allowed? This forum sees fit to defend against what might be.

ciml




msg:46059
 8:43 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

ciml:
> Unless your forum is about reciprocal link networks, gambling affiliate programs or some other Google-dangerous activity, I wouldn't be especially worried.


PhilC:
> ... because of a recent, well-know penalty, we attracted a few people with PR0 sites that are linked to from their sig lines and profiles.

In that situation, I probably would worry about it.

(I'm not saying should have to, just that I would worry.)

cayleyv




msg:46060
 12:21 am on Nov 7, 2002 (gmt 0)

i think this is horrible. whether or not google can automatically filter out URL's is not an issue. Censoring links because of fear of a distant dictator (google) is anti democratic and against the philosophy of the internet. I have a site that was removed from several posts because it was blacklisted in a guilt by association link.

It is sad when you have to watch what you do with your personal property (website)

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 2:20 pm (utc) on Nov. 11, 2002]
[edit reason] no urls please [/edit]

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