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This 55 message thread spans 2 pages: 55 ( [1] 2 > >     
Good Link Neighborhoods Can Turn Bad
How to notice the change?
tedster




msg:150588
 1:52 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I recently had a Google scare which prompts me to write this.

One of my clients has about 1,000 outbound links - professional resources, all on topic when they were set up, and many are reciprocal. We watch for dead links with automation, but no automation would catch this.

One of the domains they link to apparently expired and was quickly grabbed up for a big link farm spamming campaign. We had no idea that this had happened.

Happily, I had just suggested that the client do a hand check of all their links. But imagine their surprise to find their respected professional website was now linking to some rather explicit, age restricted materials.

When the client reported it, I was further upset to see that the tendrils of huge link farm was now in a reciprocal link setup with my client. It looks like we discovered it in time - no PR hit, etc.

But now my concern is that a repeat of this incident might slip by us and result in a penalty.

Is this something that others see happening? Is my concern valid? And more than that, is there any system, other than a regular hand check, that would set off alarms when a domain we link to changes ownership?

 

Terry_Plank




msg:150589
 2:22 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think you have a valid concern. It is up to us all to make sure that our linkages are appropriate. We wern't dropped from the Google index for bad sites linking to us, but we were dropped for inadvertantly violating Google Guidelines. We corrected things and have be re-indexed now. But it is clear that Google and other engines are serious about holding us responsible for our domains and their linkages.

I think that another issue along side of domain changes is that we should know if a domain that we have reciprocal links to is an acceptable site. If, a site is banned or dropped from the index it is certainly not one that we should have a reciprocal linking relationship with, I don't think. So, not only is it checking for domain changes, I think is is checking PageRank and acceptability to Google as a respectable domain.

It is certainly problematic when there are hundreds of reciprocal links. Hand checking is time consuming. But, is there any other way? I'll add my question to tedster

Woz




msg:150590
 3:06 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have also been pondering this for some time. I had one disraught woman email me after following a link to an Adoption Glossary only to find the site had been taken over by company promoting, er, shall we say, pleasures of the flesh. I explained what happened to her and removed the link which fixed the immediate problem and kept her happy.

However, with such a huge database it is impossible to eyeball every entrey periodically. I have been meaning (for some time) to write a checkup spidering routine to parse link sites for trigger words/phrases and then flag those for a manual check. I was originaly thinking of checking for adult terms which would be relatively easy to set up. On the other hand, if one was checking for link farms and the likes, the list of terms to check for could be a bit more difficult.

Interesting situation. Perhaps there is a niche there for someone to write some software similar to Xenu that not only checks for 404s, but also checks the site agains a stopword list.

Onya
Woz

rfgdxm1




msg:150591
 3:35 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>But now my concern is that a repeat of this incident might slip by us and result in a penalty.

My 2 little websites have links to a huge site that is the definitive resource on the Net on the general topic. The problem is that this site exchanges links with a LOT of little sites on the general topic. Thus, if one of those sites goes rogue, or the domain is taken over by someone who runs a link farm, both my sites, and every other site on the general topic, then become just part of a link farm. Because of fear of the all-powerful Google, I'm tempted to just try and survive off my ODP inbound links, and dare not link to anyone else. :( It does seem to dangerous today to link to other sites. Which is kinda sad.

web_india




msg:150592
 3:52 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

well, it seems we have to keep a check on the whois of the outgoing links too so that to know that the domains dont expire and get picked by someone for another reason. this is really going too far. :(

wasmith




msg:150593
 5:23 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>> write a checkup spidering routine to parse link sites for trigger words/phrases and then flag those for a manual check.

I've been considering more of a finger print method. My experiances with links changing to something very different is none of the deep pages stay the same. I can create a simple finger print of what deep link content exists on the site, use head requests to verify the finger print (directory structure) has not changed.

$req = new HTTP::Request 'HEAD' => $url;

Beachboy




msg:150594
 5:45 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

It occurs to me that it might not just be off topic or adult related sites that require automated checking. Is there some automated way to determine whether a linked-to site is PR0 or graybar? I'm no programmer and I haven't any idea. What do y'all think?

Woz




msg:150595
 7:00 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>wasmith

>> finger print method ~~ changing to something very different

The challenge here is that this would only tell you something has changed, not what it has changed to. And with the increasing dynamism of the web you could find more sites triggering a manual check than you thought. This is OK if you only want to look for change, but if you are looking for bad neighbourhoods then you need the check the content.

>Beachboy
>> Is there some automated way to determine whether a linked-to site is PR0 or graybar?

Possible, but very much discouraged by Mr Google. There was at least one program written that checked PR but was withdrawn at the request of Google. Not worth the risk of a ban.

Onya
Woz

Dante_Maure




msg:150596
 9:31 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

The challenge here is that this would only tell you something has changed, not what it has changed to.

That's still much more effective than having to manually check *every* single listing each month. (which many diligent webmasters do)

I suggest setting up an account at one of the free page monitoring services.

For each new outgoing link, add the page to your monitoring account.

Filter the emailed alerts to a single folder and then check them once every two weeks.

Lots of non threatening changes will be recorded, but even if 25% of the sites change something each month, that's still 75% you're not having to waste your time hand checking.

Woz




msg:150597
 9:38 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>The challenge here is that this would only tell you something has changed, not what it has changed to.
>>That's still much more effective than having to manually check *every* single listing each month.

True, for small sites. With databases in the 10's of thousands though, I am only interested in finding the naughty ones, er, so to speak. Hence spidering and parsing the content.

Onya
Woz

nutsandbolts




msg:150598
 9:49 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Funny, I asked this exact question to the GoogleDude at the conference. He said you just really need to keep a close eye on all of your links.

I suppose this is where the little guy does lose out to the bigger directories and portals. I've no doubt that many bigger sites have a "protection" against these things by a filter at Google - After all, there can be no doubt that Yahoo! has some seriously BIG links to some really nasty neighbourhoods. But for the little guys with specific content directories, it can be a serious kick in the snozzle if some idiot changes the content of "Bob's Beautiful Poetry" to Bob's Nude Handstands....

*cough* another example why it would help to have a pay support service at Google *cough*

percentages




msg:150599
 10:10 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

It's all a hoax. Do you really think Google can track all of one way out going links to a bad neighborhood?

Think about it.....

I want to destroy my competitor, so I deliberately make one of their outgoing links a bad neiborhood and in the process kill them?

Not a chance.....reciprocal links maybe penalized, especially if done is force. But there is no penalty for outgoing links to a bad neighborhood......I have lots of them on lots of sites.....just too lazy to clean them up, change that....more important things to do.

Dante_Maure




msg:150600
 10:13 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

it can be a serious kick in the snozzle if some idiot changes the content of "Bob's Beautiful Poetry" to Bob's Nude Handstands....

Sheesh, you folks are so jaded.

That could be perfectly on theme.

"Ode to My Upside Down Bare Beauty..." ;)

nutsandbolts




msg:150601
 10:18 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

But it isn't always one way. Many of the smaller specific-themed directories require you to link back to them for the free listing - that is when the problems can happen.

Heck, even Google has link-back [google.com] instructions (well, kinda) ;)

Hehehe Dante_Maure ;)

rfgdxm1




msg:150602
 10:41 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>well, it seems we have to keep a check on the whois of the outgoing links too so that to know that the domains dont expire and get picked by someone for another reason. this is really going too far.

Or play it totally safe and refuse to link to any other site, no matter how relevant it is. This kind of defeats the basic idea of the WWW as a series of related hyperlinked documents. However, in this era of Googlenoia linking to other sites is very risky business. :(

rfgdxm1




msg:150603
 10:44 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Not a chance.....reciprocal links maybe penalized, especially if done is force. But there is no penalty for outgoing links to a bad neighborhood......I have lots of them on lots of sites.....just too lazy to clean them up, change that....more important things to do.

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid. It may be you so far have just managed to be lucky and stayed off the radar, and thus Google hasn't shot your site down in flames yet.

percentages




msg:150604
 10:58 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

So Yahoo and Dmoz will get shot down because they contain hundreds of links to bad neighborhoods? Many other sites fall into this category as well....Let me know when it happens!

No luck here....just a logical mind!

mayor




msg:150605
 11:00 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Google has to do something about the scenario when a good neiborhood turns bad. Otherwise, all sites will eventually be PR Zeroed for linking to a bad neigborhood.

The more links one has, the faster they would get zapped, because there is a finite probability that any one site linked to will go sour.

Dante_Maure




msg:150606
 11:19 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid. It may be you so far have just managed to be lucky and stayed off the radar, and thus Google hasn't shot your site down in flames yet.

Fear based rhetoric simply does not reflect the facts.

Certainly Google has filters in place that identify "trouble" spots, but they are not, nor have they ever, to my knowledge, handed out penalties to well established pages based on a single link to a penalized site.

Count on the fact that there is an algorhythm in place that weighs a number of factors... anything else would just be absurd.

Links2u is obviously a program that is *entirely* against Google's TOS, and yet it only took me one minute to find a site listed in the Google Directory, without a penalty, that links from their homepage to this long recognized and penalized link farm factory.

Note that in every instance I can remember GoogleGuy has warned against linking to bad neighborhoods. This implies plurality.

Multiple sites.

A group of sites that are using bad practices in Google's eyes.

Being prudent and intelligent in your strategy is one thing...

Living in constant fear of the PR0 boogie monster is another.

percentages




msg:150607
 11:19 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Mayor, you are absolutely right, and that is why it will never happen on a good and true good update!

Don't get paranoid folks. If you have PR0 and PR1 sites I am sures they will bounce back in the SERPS....maybe not the tooolbar! But who really cares what the tooolbat says!

rfgdxm1




msg:150608
 11:38 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Note that in every instance I can remember GoogleGuy has warned against linking to bad neighborhoods. This implies plurality.

That huge, dominant site on the general topic of my site happens to link to many hundreds of other sites. So if 2 go bad, that is plurality, and that site goes PR0, and my sites and everyone else that links to this dominant site all go PR0 too.

>Living in constant fear of the PR0 boogie monster is another.

Until of course this lack of basic survival instinct results in your site going down in flames as a cyberspace obscurity. To paraphrase the old saying, the Googlenoid man is just someone who knows a little bit about what is really going on. :(

Brad




msg:150609
 11:43 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>But for the little guys with specific content directories, it can be a serious kick in the snozzle if some idiot changes the content of "Bob's Beautiful Poetry" to Bob's Nude Handstands....

I am one of those little guys with the directory and it happens - expired domains get snapped up or hijacked and converted all too often.

The funny thing is I hear a lot of people snearing at sites hosted on free hosts like Tripod or Geocities. I list a lot of those sites. I have less trouble with them turning into some triple x adult site or spawning popup trap, like those on their own domains do. Free hosted sites and personal account ISP, ~NAME, sites tend to just go 404. I see a lot of directories say they do not accept free hosted sites but I say they are missing out if those are within their topic. They often have good content and are a lot less likely to turn - rogue.

>>Otherwise, all sites will eventually be PR Zeroed for linking to a bad neigborhood.

That is exactly why Google's PR0 and bad neighborhoods penalty is akin to a cancer spreading across the web. The web is about linking. Google cannot judge intent or context and their policies will favor corporate sites with the money and technology to implement autochecking software like those mentioned above or hire the staff to do it.

DaveN




msg:150610
 11:48 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

it doesn't quite make sense to me where does the neigbourhood end.

if a site goes bad and gets a pr0 so that the all the other sites let say 10 of them which have swapped links get a pr0

now next month these 10 are bad neighbours for 100 sites 10 each and on and on it goes. eventaully the only people with out the pr0 ban will be the people that don't have links hmmm these are the pr0 guys.

reminds my of the story about a grain of rice and a chess board,

DaveN

rfgdxm1




msg:150611
 11:50 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>reminds my of the story about a grain of rice and a chess board,

Anyone know the name of this story?

vitaplease




msg:150612
 11:57 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

Back in january when this PR0 bad neighborhood thing all started, I think Google probably singled out several linkfarms and hand PR0'd them as a PR0 penalty.

They probably then put in a check sum on the amount of outgoing links per site/page to PR0 (penalty pages). If that total is more than X percent you probably qualify for PR0 for that page. (not necessarily the whole site).

That is at least what I would do.
Now the question would be, what that X percent should be.

Dante_Maure




msg:150613
 11:58 am on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

That huge, dominant site on the general topic of my site happens to link to many hundreds of other sites. So if 2 go bad, that is plurality, and that site goes PR0, and my sites and everyone else that links to this dominant site all go PR0 too.

That will never happen.

I guarantee that an authoratative page with hundreds of quality inbound links, that in turn links to hundreds of other quality sites, is not going to go PR0 because of 2 links going bad.

If Google's penalization algos allowed for this 99% of the web would be PR0 within just an update or two, and I can assure you that will never happen.

Instead of living in mortal terror of having a bad link or two, focus on creating outstanding content. Link to lots of stable, reputable, and quality sites that will serve your visitors... and create quality content so that you can in turn earn yourself a large number of links from stable, reputable, quality sites.

In doing so, even if a handful of links go bad... it will be such a small percentage of your overall link family that you won't need to worry about getting the PR Pink Slip.

rfgdxm1




msg:150614
 12:06 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>That is exactly why Google's PR0 and bad neighborhoods penalty is akin to a cancer spreading across the web. The web is about linking. Google cannot judge intent or context and their policies will favor corporate sites with the money and technology to implement autochecking software like those mentioned above or hire the staff to do it.

It also favors corporate sites as these don't tend to link much to other sites. Like they would want to link to competitors? However, for those like me running information sites, we *like* to link to other sites that have good information our site's users would want. While the web was designed with the idea of linking, Google's PR0 and bad neighborhoods penalty creates an atmosphere of fear and dread over doing so. I really hate having to actually consider dropping link exchanges with the sites I do it with because I have this bad feeling all of use are skating on thin ice, and the whole lot of us are going to fall through the ice into the Google PR0 zero hell because someone has a bad link somewhere.

DaveN




msg:150615
 12:17 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

rfgdxm1

Sher Khan and Buddhiram

or

a fool and his rice is easily parted
in fact 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains of rice

DaveN

Dante_Maure




msg:150616
 12:32 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>reminds my of the story about a grain of rice and a chess board,

Anyone know the name of this story?

It's called "The King's Chessboard" and it's based on an old Indian folktale. Most recently it's been often used to illustrate the power of compound interest.

A peasant saved the life of a king's son and was offered a reward. The peasant told the king that all he wanted was a single grain of rice to be placed upon the first square of a chessboard, and then to have the grains of rice doubled for each subsequent square until it had been doubled for each of the 64 squares. The king was astounded at what a small sum to pay in exchange for his son's life and gladly bade his servants to fulfill the peasant's request.

The look of joy disappeared from the king's face as he began to realize that if he fulfilled his promise to the peasant, he would deplete his entire kingdom of its supply of rice.

It's an old story, and I have no doubt that with all of the Mathematics PhD's working at Google, they won't fall for the same ruse. :)

rfgdxm1




msg:150617
 12:34 pm on Nov 6, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Instead of living in mortal terror of having a bad link or two, focus on creating outstanding content. Link to lots of stable, reputable, and quality sites that will serve your visitors... and create quality content so that you can in turn earn yourself a large number of links from stable, reputable, quality sites.

Currently I only link to 4 other sites, and was planning on adding a link to a Finnish language site I know of that is linking to mine. [Lot's of people in Finland speak English, and this is why. One of my other links is to a Russian language site. I had to actually have the webmaster send me proper link anchor text in Russian to able to have a link all Russians would understand.] The problem is that all of us are are exchanging links with this one dominant site on the general topic, along with hundreds of other sites. This big site is really vulnerable to ending up with a link going bad. I noticed there reciprocal links page with 366 other sites has a lot of 404s. What if one of those is taken over by some porn site that is part of a link farm? Google could then PR0 this big site, and also the hundreds of other sites that are part of its "link farm". In fact, because the common topic of all of our sites is politically controvesial, I'd consider it quite possible that someone on the other side of the issue will intentionally find an expired domain this site links to, and then link to it and a bunch of notorious link farms to PR0 the lot of us. Thus, they'd silence the opposition through sabotaging us with Google. Domain names only cost eight bucks at Godaddy, so this could be done cheaply, too.

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