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Google, time to define "RELEVANT" or "RELATED" linking and reciprocal linking
what's the idea of MC and GG about what it is relevant & related in linking
giuliorapetti




msg:769863
 10:37 am on May 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hi guys,

I'm a bit worried about the semplicistic concept of "relevant" or "related" content used by MC when he talks about linking and reciprocal linking.

I explain what I mean with an example: we are a hotel reservation website and we deal with hotels in various
destinations of the world.

Our "related resources" are the ones that would be _USEFUL_ for a traveller.

As the traveller will book the hotel with us, the rest of the resources are "complementary" resources and not
comtetitive resources.

Example of what we link and what our travellers want us to link (as these are useful things to know if you have already booked or about to book an hotel):

- Car rentals
- Airport transfer services
- Bicycle Rentals
- Art Galleries
- Cinemas
- Museums
- Theaters
- Bars
- Food Festivals
- Restaurants
- Casinos (Yes, if you book an hotel in Las Vegas, you want to know the best casinos if you don't have one inside your hotel)
- Clubs and Discos
- Festivals & events
- Nightclubs

I also have another 195 categories of resources that we regularly link in order to build a good service for our
hotel-bookers.

As you see, these are all hotel and travel related resources, that makes our websites very visited and one-way-linked just because these are useful info for a traveller than wants to book an hotel and know more about the area.

NOW: I'm worried about what MC says in his blog and about the use and definition that all the SEO world has done about "relevant/related" content.

It should be natural that a website will link COMPLEMENTARY resources, not COMPETITORS. Therefore, the keywords to be inspected on our outgoing links are 100% different from what we sell.

Therefore, I'm deeply worried about the concept of "related" that Google will or is applying in evaluating what type of links you have on your pages.

MC says:

"another real estate site......I checked out the site. Aha, Poor quality links...mortgages sites...."

Now: is MC aware that mortgages sites are natural and relevant and pertinent to be linked if you are a real estate agent, as you might want to give related services to your visitors telling them how to find the money to buy his services?

Or does MC search for the related content in terms of a semplicistic "real estate words are good, anythign else is bad"? I mean: is Google even thinking about the fact that a real estate site cannot link a competitor but will be more likely to link complementary services?

In short: does Google and MC want us (a hotel reservation service) link Hotels.com as it will be relevant (and a complete nonsense as they are our competitors) or is googe "mapping" the related (complementary) services for every industry?

I doubt that Google will have a map of every complementary service for any given industry: therefore, I'm afraid that "related" for MC means "same topic, same industry... competitors, essentially".

Will MC want Expedia to link Orbits, in order to evaluate Expedia's lik as relevant?

Or will MC and Google better evaluating (or not "worse evaluating" at least) Hotels.com linking Avis or Budget?

Thanks

Giulio

[edited by: engine at 2:20 pm (utc) on May 22, 2006]
[edit reason] formatting [/edit]

 

pageoneresults




msg:769923
 9:03 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Who is google to tell me how to build my site?!

Google is not telling you how to build or promote your site. They are offering suggestions. If you don't want the estimated 45%+ market share that Google have to find your site, that is your choice. ;)

We're not in the pre-Google days anymore. Nor are we dealing with an index of 500 million pages. So far, Google appears to have done the best with what they have to work with (8+ billion pages). Until someone comes out with something better, what can we do? Get natural traffic? Sure, but that takes time which many don't appear to have. We're no longer in those InfoSeek/AltaVista days when you could launch a new site and be raking in the bucks within a week. It's a long term proposition. For most of us anyway. ;)

And, if you need results right now, that's what PPC is for. I know many don't have the budget, but the bottom line is that it is the only alternative for a short term strategy while the site is getting seated in the index. During that seating in the index, the natural and relevant links will begin to develop.

goubarev




msg:769924
 9:32 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

>> Google is not telling you how to build or promote your site. They are offering suggestions. <<

The suggestions they are offering are wrong. They say not to link to "bad" websites. I link to whatever I think is right for my customers - whether or not google thinks it's "bad". Yes, they are only "suggesting it" - but their share size makes it almost like an order. Many webmasters can't afford to ignore the "suggestions" that goole makes.

Thanks god, I'm not one of those webmasters - less than 10% traffic comes from google - and I do have large sites with 200k+ pages listed of unique content (membership sites - user profiles - Myspace style) - even after the BigDaddy screw up.

Yes, I know, there are no other site - that does it better... they are the first... they still figuring out what to do... blah blah... - get over it - move to (or at least "start moving faster") user-behavior based ranking!

goubarev




msg:769925
 9:56 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not only that... I think MSN has an un-beatble atvantage to overtake the huge market share from google. I sure they already have something in their IE7 that reports back the user-behavior to some huge server. Once they figure how to integrate this data into the search results - their search will be the most "relevant" & the most "fair" - and it will also be very hard to "game" it.

Until then, yeah, google might piss off some more webmaster's with their games of what is "relevant" and what it "related".

Am I the only one who thinks that "ranking by links" is a bad idea?

JuniorOptimizer




msg:769926
 10:19 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think most of what Google is doing is a bad idea. In fact, I think Google would screw up a one car funeral.

Furthermore, I'd say this latest round of "information" from Google has been the most suspicious yet. I really suggest people get more critical of some of what they're hearing versus what they can actually witness in the SERPs.

Whitey




msg:769927
 11:45 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

What can one do if those relevant IBL's [one way links] from related sites are coming from quality content pages that the G index has dropped, onto quality content pages, conforming to webmaster guidelines that G won't index?

mattg3




msg:769928
 12:53 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

MSN their search will be the most "relevant" & the most "fair" - and it will also be very hard to "game" it.

Personally, I don't think heaven on earth will happen with MSN either.

The best for webmasters is an equal share between the big players, using hopefully different approaches. In Europe, G is much stronger though. More like > 90%. 43% [as mentioned above] in the States is actually close to acceptable, imo.

Stefan




msg:769929
 2:31 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The suggestions they are offering are wrong. They say not to link to "bad" websites. I link to whatever I think is right for my customers - whether or not google thinks it's "bad".

The thing is that many webmasters have been involved with the creation of large artificial networks of sites, cleverly linked, for no other reason than to do well in Google. Ninety-five percent of the links on the internet exist only to game the SE's. Maybe yours exist solely for the benefit of your users, but if so, you're in the minority.

Ok, a lot of Google's results are crap; it's the same with Y and MSN. The reason for this is that much of the internet is crap. There are many people trying to make money out of thin air. They don't sell anything, or offer anything original, they just try to take advantage of other people's hard work. If a hard cold wind were to blow through the whole works, much more severely than BD, it would perhaps restore the original promise of the internet and save it from being the giant pile of advertising flyers that it's become.

Back on topic: related, and relevant, are pretty straight-forward. There were enough examples offered already. You want to be some dog gathering whatever scraps you can find in a back-alley, fine - but don't expect it to be seen as anything more than what it actually is.

whitenight




msg:769930
 2:48 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The thing is that many webmasters have been involved with the creation of large artificial networks of sites, cleverly linked, for no other reason than to do well in Google. Ninety-five percent of the links on the internet exist only to game the SE's. Maybe yours exist solely for the benefit of your users, but if so, you're in the minority.

Many? Or actually a minority who are able to crank out hundreds of websites/networks a week?

If 95% of links on the net exist to "game" Google, it's simply because Google STILL allows that "minority" to rank well in SERPS.
Everyone else is simply following what they SEE works and copying those main examples.

As soon as Google stops catering to these spammers, err.. "authority sites" with tons of irrelevant and paid for links, then you can expect the other 90% of small time site owners to "get the picture" as well.

But as long as every webmaster here can point out even ONE site that dominates their SERPS with paid for and/or irrelevant links due to "authority" or site age or whatever G's silly little bots allow them to rank for, then you can expect webmasters to forever try to "game" the algo and Google forever trying to "catch up".

Stefan




msg:769931
 3:11 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whitenight, totally agreed. Google created this monster, and then with Adsense and Adwords it dumped on a lot of fertilizer. Nevertheless, most links are bogus and the internet is crap (well, not entirely, but it sure seems that way a lot of the time).

goubarev




msg:769932
 3:42 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I do agree that about 95% of links on the whole Internet are there to achieve better position on SE. Same as 80% of the pages…

So, let’s see, 95% of links are for the “fluff” – and we are trying to figure out which ones are “relevant” or “related”… sound like an impossible task to me.

The system was faulty from the beginning. When one builds on the faulty foundation – the building tends to compound the error – by the time you get to the roof the whole structure falls apart. Stephen said >> many webmasters have been involved with the creation of large artificial networks of sites, cleverly linked, for no other reason than to do well in Google << -- So due to “rank by links algo” many pages and links have been created purely to have a chance to rank well. If google had ranked sites based on some other principle (not based on links), those pages and links would not have been created. We would not have Scraper sites, we would not have PR, we would not have people creating “copy-paste” useless sites, we would not have 8 billion pages –- we would have maybe half billion of high quality pages designed to satisfy the visitor not the search engine. Just image how much combined money and time was wasted on this! Just image Internet with only relevant content. Do no evil? Ha! It’s probably the most evil thing that was ever created on the Internet…

Whoever creates a better way to rank sites – will get the next billion $.

shorebreak




msg:769933
 4:27 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The entitlement philosophy of people who dare say they have *any* right to tell Google how to go about its organic business is amazing. To those of you who think it's your business to tell Google what's relevant or not relevant, I suggest you stop equating Google with a traffic government that you have elected, and more like a company you have to deal with on the terms their market share allows them.

gregbo




msg:769934
 5:05 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The assumption a small team could write a program that can detect what is relevant for all people on the planet at all times is really very worrying.

It's always been my opinion that users should determine relevancy, and that SEs should give users powerful tools to formulate queries. When SEs started deciding what was and wasn't relevant, not only did they ignore users, they opened the door for spammers to boost their rankings.

fathom




msg:769935
 10:16 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Didn't read all posts so if repeated... sorry

I'm a bit worried about the semplicistic concept of "relevant" or "related" content used by MC when he talks about linking and reciprocal linking.

Our "related resources" are the ones that would be _USEFUL_ for a traveller.

Those two explain everything.

A TEST: Make your links page as your homepage? ;)

Your useful links may indeed be useful for your users but would suspect you didn't acquires these because they were merely useful to the user... but because of the usefulness of the reciprocating link to you.

In context, useful to "your users only" implies "no need to be in search engines"... and Google agrees... and so do you as really don't want your users going elsewhere.

From a different vantagepoint - would you prefer your page of useful links being the page in Google to represent your company [my TEST]? ... where the likely scenerio since the "links" are the prime content on the page your users would leave your site before even reviewing your website?

Clearly this isn't what you want in Google and it is clear Google doesn't want them either.

If you found links pages in results - above your listing - we both know this would be labeled as "spam" and by everyone [well except being the owner of it -- possibly].

Relevant or related is a moot point: reciprocal links are not meant for your users... and if they are - you won't mind them not being included in Google - correct?

My professional take - the "LINK" can no longer be the primary info nor intent of the page - thus we all need to provide something far more useful to users for Google to include.

JuniorOptimizer




msg:769936
 10:25 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)


The entitlement philosophy of people who dare say they have *any* right to tell Google how to go about its organic business is amazing.

Say what? It's called an opinion, and everyone is entitled to it. Google can run their dumpy business however they want. In fact they do, and insiders have cashed in $400,000,000 in options this year, so they do it quite profitably. However, anyone from the peanut gallery can say whatever they want about their fading search product.

Iguana




msg:769937
 10:39 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

reciprocal links are not meant for your users

So, I review a demo CD by a band. Obviously I link to the band's website so that my users can follow up their interest. The band read my review and put a link to it on their "Press" page because they want their users to see the review.

Just because their was no negotiation of 'I'll link to you if you link to me' doesn't mean that it isn't a reciprocal link. But both links are to help the readers of each site

voices




msg:769938
 11:03 am on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, let’s see, 95% of links are for the “fluff” – and we are trying to figure out which ones are “relevant” or “related”… sound like an impossible task to me.

Exactly, links should not be taken into account at all. Google created a monster when they started counting how many links a site had to it.
Popularity is not an indication of quality.

I create a lot of BtoB websites for manufacturers, these sites contain product information, they don't link to anyone. The only purpose of the sites is to provide product information for the customers. Relavency should be based on content alone. Then instead of chasing link exchanges people will actually have to start writing content. Of course the larger companies with more products will have more content so as always the big guy wins.

Jon_King




msg:769939
 1:27 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

AH! fathom good thinking.

I would care to add, quit looking at the obvious folks. When people say "but I see lots of sites ranking well and they have recips or paid links" or any other metric considered 'bad' - WELL THEN that's not why they rank well, it's something else. Go find that and don't get stuck on what are obviouly not the ranking factor(s).

mfishy




msg:769940
 3:23 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

The ironic part of Matt mentioning this is a couple years back he specifically said that he was not sure he bought into the whole "theming of links" idea. Later stated that he has found some of his favorite sites on the web through seemingly "unrelated" links.

Anyhow, matt/gg says a lot. What they actually do tends to be a different story. :)

whitenight




msg:769941
 3:35 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would care to add, quit looking at the obvious folks. When people say "but I see lots of sites ranking well and they have recips or paid links" or any other metric considered 'bad' - WELL THEN that's not why they rank well, it's something else. Go find that and don't get stuck on what are obviouly not the ranking factor(s)

What hogwash! Ask me how I know ;)

I work with sites that rank well because they are simply THE authority on a subject. Hands down.

BUT I also work with sites where they rank well because of one factor ...(I'll let you guess what that is).. Let's just say they aren't the most informative, the most authoritative, the cheapest, the oldest, or even the most publicly well-known.

Not everyone who complains about Google does so solely because their sites don't rank well....

[edited by: whitenight at 3:43 pm (utc) on May 23, 2006]

asiaseo




msg:769942
 3:36 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am very new to all this but if a website has truthful, reliable and up to date original content, a clear and clean structure, should it not at least appear 'somewhere' in the results?

Or it it simply necessary to swop links or somehow obtain inbound links totally regardless to get some kind of position? A website should link to another website if they considor that this information will be of use and benefit to their visitors, but it is quite clear if you do any search that sites with countless pages of links with a couple of words in them are ranking way out other sites with good and clean originbal content.

Surely SEO should be ensuring that a site can be read clearly by the bots and that the seach engine can clearly identify what the website is all about so as to proviude the surfer with what they are looking for. The ultimate aim of optimization in an honest world is that the searcher truly does find the most relevant results to their query and not just a site that has managed to create tens of links swop pages.

The websites we deal with are fine on Y, M plus all regional search engines, the only place we now have a problem is on G.

fathom




msg:769943
 3:41 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

So, I review a demo CD by a band. Obviously I link to the band's website so that my users can follow up their interest. The band read my review and put a link to it on their "Press" page because they want their users to see the review.

Just because their was no negotiation of 'I'll link to you if you link to me' doesn't mean that it isn't a reciprocal link. But both links are to help the readers of each site



Iguana - I agree 100%, and suspect Google does to... that's exactly correct!

The question isn't "are the links helpful to your users and the other site's users" - are these link helpful to "search engine users"?

Answers:

1. YES - people use search engines to find pages to find other websites?

2. No - purely SPAM!

I would think in the context of "I review a demo CD by a band" - the value of the review - would be MOST important and the link is secondary... but more importantly this would be more towards a page all about this band, their CD's, history, successses, not merely on a page with volumes of other bands, and other one liner reviews and links.

You cannot rationalize the value outside of your own website - e.g. if I placed my "links page" as the home page and ranked it above your site - your answer would absolutely be #2.

As the SEs get more sophisticated - so must we!

<added>Thought worth noting: I manage over 25 directories [dumping most of them] - some stand alone, some incorporated in commercial websites and recips... the one that has prospered the most and is totally unaffected by recent changes... it is "absolutely free". [go figure]

Everyone out there offering only "free stuff" links to it.</added>

[edited by: fathom at 4:04 pm (utc) on May 23, 2006]

Lorel




msg:769944
 3:53 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

but according to MC's post having these (non relevant) links in the new algo may prevent my page from being crawled as much, or worse have you de indexed.

I think that what everyone is missing is that Matt was pointing out obvious footers on a site that contained links to other sites that were not relevant, i.e., these sites all had links to their own pages with links to non-releavant other sites interspersed with their own site links--TO FOOL PEOPLE into clicking on these links.

glengara




msg:769945
 4:07 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Could be footers, could be off-topic, could be recips, could be bought could be singly or in combination; doubt we'll get much further enlightenment on it though ;-)

pageoneresults




msg:769946
 4:21 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Could be footers, could be off-topic, could be recips, could be bought could be singly or in combination; doubt we'll get much further enlightenment on it though ;-)

I'll agree with you. If there wasn't enough enlightenment between Matt's blog, WebmasterWorld and all the other communities discussing this, then what can you do?

If you have to question whether or not a link is relevant, then it probably isn't (in most instances). Is your site going to tank because of it? Most likely not! It's all going to be relative to other factors that haven't really been discussed in detail. It goes much deeper than just the link itself. ;)

Is it a reciprical link to a site that is unrelated? Is it a sitewide link to a site that is related and/or unrelated? Think of it this way, if Google has 200+ factors that it takes into consideration when determining the quality of page, how many of those 200 are specific to links? They won't tell us but, we can do the research to come to logical conclusions. ;)

glengara




msg:769947
 7:01 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

As shown by MC off-topic is what obviously draws the attention first, but some of us have grown old and grey waiting for G to be able to take the topicality of links into account ;-)

glengara




msg:769948
 7:48 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just to add further to the confusion....

Recently looked at two sites that had dropped, nothing apparently untoward, one oddity, while both their IBLs were obviously exchanged, neither had a links/resources/whatever page, so how were they getting the recips? ;-)

stinkfoot




msg:769949
 8:06 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

glen .. triangular links are very popular as is buying links and massive cross linking.

You can get links many many ways and they will work fine .. until .. google find out whats going on and BANG! u r dead .. page 100 in serps for the next 2 years

d0tc0m




msg:769950
 8:07 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is my first post here. I hope its in the right area.

So I've been making sites for quite some time, however, I've always made sites that generate income via other sources (not ads). A new site income is coming from ads and ads alone so I am needing to learn much more about google and PR. Site is only a month and a half old (so of course I have a PR 0) at iwebtool I have a 78% chance of becoming a PR 4 at my next update.

So here are my questions.

What have you all seen as the best result for raising PR?

What do I do to make sure I dont get penalized by google?

Last question would be, today is the 23rd of May, so far this month googlebot has spidered my site 276 times. Is this bad or good?

Stefan




msg:769951
 8:19 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WW, d0tc0m.

This is drifting off the thread topic, but

What have you all seen as the best result for raising PR?

Inbound links are the sole determiner of PR.

What do I do to make sure I dont get penalized by google?

There are a lot of things to not do - read around in various threads and you'll learn about some of them. Some of the big ones, though: no link-farming, no hidden-text, no cloaking for the sake of gaming the bots.

Last question would be, today is the 23rd of May, so far this month googlebot has spidered my site 276 times. Is this bad or good?

It depends on how many pages you have. If you had one, /index.htm, that got hit that many times, it's good (overkill, actually). If you have 300 pages, not so good.

gregbo




msg:769952
 8:19 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Not only that... I think MSN has an un-beatble atvantage to overtake the huge market share from google. I sure they already have something in their IE7 that reports back the user-behavior to some huge server. Once they figure how to integrate this data into the search results - their search will be the most "relevant" & the most "fair" - and it will also be very hard to "game" it.

I wouldn't be too sure of that. After all, this type of information can be as easily faked as fraudulent clicks, impressions, etc.

gregbo




msg:769953
 8:28 pm on May 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am very new to all this but if a website has truthful, reliable and up to date original content, a clear and clean structure, should it not at least appear 'somewhere' in the results?

Depending on how clever the spammers are (and the SE unable to detect the spam), the website might appear sufficiently low in the results that most people won't see it. Most people don't go past the second or third results page. So they either give up or use whatever looks like the best results on the pages they see.

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