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|Google clarifies its stance on links|
Although this was discussed in depth before, Google has now just clarified it's official stance on links under "Webmaster Guidelines" :
Some good folks on this thread [webmasterworld.com...] have highlighted some key statements :
|hvacdirect - Google works hard to ensure that it fully discounts links intended to manipulate search engine results, such link exchanges and purchased links. |
Does this mean human edited referal links are dead? [ On topic sites and human directories ]. Surely not - imagine if all links that were rewarded in some way [ PR , editorial , contra exchanges , deals were axed ]?
Reseller - And it seems that they have improved the section under:
Quality guidelines - specific guidelines
by linking to more info.
Does that mean linking out to authority sites could be important and taken into account for ranking purposes [ I've seen some successful sites doing this, but can't measure their impact, except that they are No1 achievers ]?
[edited by: tedster at 12:03 am (utc) on June 6, 2007]
[edit reason] fix link [/edit]
Good find Whitey, did you read the part about affiliates? That was very interesting as well.
To me the most interesting phrase is that below:
|Have other relevant sites link to yours. |
...interesting in that they still fail to advise us just how we should or shouldn't do that. It would have been a logical place to spell out the policy regarding paid links...
The doorway pages advice regarding avoiding pages of links to parts of your site seems to contradict the earlier advice to provide a sitemap and a static link to every page of the site.
I notice the spammer's charter is still there!
|Make sure all the sites that should know about your pages are aware your site is online. |
And they still confuse their guidelines and the law:
|And they still confuse their guidelines and the law: |
|And they still confuse their guidelines and the law: |
I'm referring to this phrase:
Not legitimate means in breach of the law. What they should be writing is '...to deceive search engines is not permitted by search engine policies', or similar. Unless I am wrong and there are laws somewhere against deceiving search engines!
There is more than one meaning for the word. Google seems to be using it here in the sense of "being in accordance with established or accepted patterns and standards." (definition from answers.com [answers.com])
|G Webmaster Guidelines |
# Make sure all the sites that should know about your pages are aware your site is online.
# Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.
Can someone explain how one can make sure ALL the sites that should know... are aware
It means something different that directories.
|# Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites. |
This conflicts with this :
|Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as: |
Adding a rel="nofollow" attribute to the href tag
Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file
Should the directory links have "no follows" on them? If so , how is Google going to recognise their value in the algo to score a site for relevance.
IMO - further clarification is needed here.
Can you say "devalued links penalty"? Google's friendly people gave it to two of my websites (PR6 and PR5). Links on those pages no longer weigh anything and don't help get new sites deep-crawled. All it took was a review from someone working at the Google evaluation team.
I think that the devaluing of links has been going on for a while now. What I am more concerned with is the whole paid link thing. How in the world can they know all paid links? What happens when they start to devalue links that they think are being paid for when in all reality they are not?
Sure, some are blatant, but most are not very easy to identify.
Why are they saying that link exchanges are in a way "manipulative" to search engines when we are being encouraged to submit to directories?
When submitting to Yahoo directory and other directories is acceptable, but link exchanges are not, its telling me that they want to see more 1 way links. Or perhaps they are trying to focus on page more than off. I find it ironic that Google created this popularity contest and then they continue to ride the gray in policy, but at the same time we are supposed to be able to define the doublespeak? I think that they should rewrite it to say;
We have been having a difficult time for the past few years with the way we score links in to our algo and because of that we may or may not identify some of the links that your domain is associated with as paid or not and discount the strength of the links if we deem it necessary, but hey, you can submit to Yahoo and Dmoz. PS link exchanges are bad today, go get 1 ways...better yet if you have some link exchanges going on, drop all of the links you have going out with other webmasters who you have a better relationship with so you can have instant 1 ways.
I just get irritated with the double talk, they expect us to beta test all kinds of things for them and walk the straight and narrow, but when they have policies that are wide and gray only to cya from liability it irk's me.
I imagine that google appreciates that individual businesses will purse business strategies that suit them best.
This off course pre supposes that one is talking about businesses , not employees, who generally are in a master servant relationship with their employer,
So, perhaps one should pay attention to googles stated preferences, but I don't imagine they actually are expecting unsswerving adherence to their preferences,
once again, I am assuming we're refering to businesses , not employeess
Its a continuing delight to us when we see traffic coming in via links, many from websites we've even forgotten we contacted,
if 100,000 links send us 1 unique per month, per link, why thats 100,000 uniques more than we started the month with, increase that to a few more 100,000s , why the sky's the limit
Simplistic yes, but , you see, even employees need to negotiate with their employer for salary increases, an they need a position of some strenght, if they approach their employer tentatively, how far does that get them,,
And, we are not talking about emplyment
|I find it ironic that Google created this popularity contest and then they continue to ride the gray in policy, but at the same time we are supposed to be able to define the doublespeak? |
Google didn't "Create this popularity contest." Link popularity was a search concept before Google came along, and businesses were trolling for links before Google came along. If the publication of Page & Brin's academic paper about PageRank resulted in an increase in reciprocal or bought links, that isn't the fault of Page & Brin or of Google; it's the fault of greedy businesspeople and SEOs.
As for what Google's guidelines might mean, they boil down to two words: "Don't manipulate." Are there any Webmasters or SEOs here who really, honestly doesn't understand what Google means when it refers to the "spirit" of the Google Webmaster guidelines? If so, they can expect to hear Darwin knocking at their door soon. :-)
|If the publication of Page & Brin's academic paper about PageRank resulted in an increase in reciprocal or bought links, that isn't the fault of Page & Brin or of Google; it's the fault of greedy businesspeople and SEOs. |
With all due respect, that is a gross, and misleading over simplification of the present situation.
|With all due respect, that is a gross, and misleading over simplification of the present situation. |
I'd use the same words to describe the notion that Google is responsible for the link-exchange spam that arrives in my Outlook inbox every day. Search-engine algorithms don't create spam--people do.
I still like the simple advice...
"If it benefits your readers it is good. If not it is bad."
So, sensible, relevant paid links in directories are good because they enable readers to find relevant data.
Irrelevant links on FFA link farms are bad and er irrelevant <g>
|So, sensible, relevant paid links in directories are good because they enable readers to find relevant data. |
In theory, the use of human edited directories as an on topic quality control check could work well. We all know that the better ones will reject you if your site is not up to scratch. After all it's what the ODP was supposed to do and due to "whatever reasons" it no longer does well. So the example of "like" ODP and Yahoo causes me to think of a big gray area that's not really qualified well by G in the guidelines.
The probable reason why the ODP is a "failure" is that the editors don't get paid. So paying editors in he other directories makes good commericial sense for sustaining these resources.
That's the theory, and there's a whiff of what Google intends here. But how's this going to play out in practice.
|As for what Google's guidelines might mean, they boil down to two words: "Don't manipulate." Are there any Webmasters or SEOs here who really, honestly doesn't understand what Google means when it refers to the "spirit" of the Google Webmaster guidelines? If so, they can expect to hear Darwin knocking at their door soon. :-) |
Let's face it. Google writes the rules for the web. Don't spend your money into buying links elsewhere, bring all your pennies to AdWords. Don't like the idea? Well, sorry, you've been warned. Face the consequences: you're gonna wiped out of big G's serps. You're 0wned.
|Let's face it. Google writes the rules for the web |
Nope, Google writes the rules for Google Search. Compliance is optional, but if you want free traffic from Google, don't kick a gift horse in the mouth.
Everything I read here (good stuff incidentally) says Google is screaming "Adwords" at anyone hoping to get traffic from Google.
No-one appears to have mentioned it here but it's widely believed eBay have suffered some kind of penalty with regards to results placement. the eBay.co.uk site is down to 40% of the traffic it had this time last year. Obviously proof of Google doing something to manually tamper with results placement would be in stark contrast to their own mission statement. On the other hand, I assume everyone notices that large sites seem to be getting dropped into supplemental, unless they are owned by the big guns eBay, Amazon etc. Interesting Google recommend ODP. Can't remember the last time the Google directory updated.
My experience with several informational sites that essentially follow G's guidelines (by chance, not design) has been that almost every one of their shakeups slowly moves the sites higher and higher over time. The irrelevant, the link spammers, the out-of-date-for-a-decade slowly drift down.
While an individual search phrase could move either direction, the average across multiple searches is consistently better. Just basic, solid industry authority sites, no fancy games going on. The sites have seen NO bad Google updates in the several years I've been paying attention.
The guidelines aren't hard to follow unless you're trying to game the situation and skate as close to the edge as possible. Why on earth should G tell you exactly where the line is? Then you'd all go there immediately in an effort to confuse their algorithm.
There are other ways than buying ads (never tried them), and I don't think selling ads is the goal of the guidelines. Helping real searchers find what they want keeps G king, so helping out the average surfer is the goal.
|I don't think selling ads is the goal of the guidelines |
I agree. This is just FUD.
|Are there any Webmasters or SEOs here who really, honestly doesn't understand what Google means when it refers to the "spirit" of the Google Webmaster guidelines? |
Well said, EFV. Let's drop the pretense. We all know what the real issues are here: aggressive link-building.
I know of a tiny 4 page site with no original information but serious ads. It's beautifully optimized and sits at number 1 for a competitive two word phrase... in every single search engine (except Ask).
It shouldn't be there. Every time I hear people moaning and complaining about Google's attempts to combat SERP manipulation, I go and check out that site. Still there.
It's my own private litmus test of the state of search.
But please, go ahead, wail and gnash your teeth that Google doesn't understand your honest, hardworking efforts in building 7000 backlinks last week.
The fundamental diferences between commercial webmasters, and
self published , informational webmasters is so striking in this thread,
Indeed Google is a search engine, indeed, a large part of their audience is people looking for pure information,
Nevertheless, someone has to pay the bills, an that means commerce
You can charge you costs to your advertisers, or sell something, our attitudes are always going to be different
These are curious times for the internet, the traffic flow is so tightly funnelled, right now, consequently, all try to drink from the same river, yet time is great thing
Anyway, links are good for you, a bit like the Shell advert, where they use straw like drills to drink from difuse wells, by all means drink from the big well too, must admit that big well fluid is delicious, when you've got it
Google is the market leader, an innovator, and produces quality product. I don't wish them ill. In fact, a company with such high quality standards isn't going anywhere.
Having said that, the time must surely come when Google is no longer the only "gateway to the internet." Maybe when that happens, Google will have moved on so much, they won't even care.
Personally, I don't think it will be search (or perhaps "search, Jim, but not as we know it").
web 2.0 showed- and still shows- promise, but this has yet to be realised. Enhanced directories? personalized AI? toolbars 2.0? Directory/search combos? portal/vortal networks?
There are plenty of possible contenders.
In the meantime, Google works to keep its SERPS as useful and helpful as possible, while every day the multitude try every trick they can to get to the top of its results.
You can't hold this against Google.
It's what they have to do. Clean SERPS are critical to their ongoing success.
By the way, I admit it. I'm a "self published , informational webmaster". I agree that this probably colors my view of these issues.
---Can't remember the last time the Google directory updated---
I just checked the one the correlates with DMOZ that I've been trying to get into for the past god knows how long(ok i'l' stop here). There is 17 links there. in DMOZ there 9(2 dead BTW, hint hint). So 8 either go to parked-by you know who and parked with g-syndication link on it.
More guidelines no one uses them, whats the purpose?
To get into yahoo is 300 bucks to get into DMOZ is 300 years, what's left is Adwords.
Edited, math :)
|Google works hard to ensure that it fully discounts links intended to manipulate search engine results, such link exchanges... |
I saw this and wonder why it's tucked into a guideline on paid links because they don't mention link exchange anywhere else.
Nowhere else in Google's updated webmaster guidelines does it state that link exchange or reciprocal linking should be avoided.
Google does state to avoid "link schemes" .. They fail to define it. They are most likely referring to FULL DUPLEX link development where you pay a small fee and get linked to thousands of sites overnight.
Google if you are watching this thread, when will you clarify the difference between editor based link exchange for the end user and full duplex link exchange schemes?
|These are curious times for the internet, the traffic flow is so tightly funnelled, right now, |
That's the key point.
Google's controls something like 80% of all the traffic from "new" visitors -- those who searching for something in a particular niche for the first (perhaps the only) time.
So, if you are in one of those niches which require exposure to casual/new surfers, its pretty much impossible to succeed without succeeding in Google.
Given Google's algorithms, that means, you need lots of links that are both "trusted" and "natural".
But, if you have a relatively new site it's virtually impossible to obtain enough highly trustworthy, purely "natural" links. And without those links, you can't move high enough up the SERPs to have your site seen by very many people -- and thus you can't start attracting many of those "natural" links.
So, most sites are forced to do something "unnatural" like offering to reciprocate, or purchasing a few ads, or sending out emails, etc.
What makes all of this especially difficult is that there are tradeoffs -- do you spend your time and money on building a better site, or promoting the site, or try to do both and run the risk of failing at both?
If you mostly focus on building a great site, you'll find it difficult to generate any traffic regardless of how great your site is, because you'll be competing with all those "thin" sites, "fake" sites, "scraped" sites and "black hat throwaway" sites -- all of which focus their resources on moving up the SERPs by whatever means has the best ROI -- say, buying 1,000's of "unnatural" links.
And, of course, you'll also be competing with all the deeply entrenched sites that were launched many years ago, that have built up plenty of "trust" and "natural" links back in the good old days.
My suspicion is that Google realizes this -- and that's one reason why their guidelines continue to be a bit vague. They can't stop displaying every site they catch running a few advertisements without "no follow" tags, or that trade links with other sites in hopes of moving up a notch or two in the SERPs. Because, if they really cracked down, the collateral damage would be enormous -- they would end up killing off way too many good quality sites.
But, I could be wrong -- maybe they plan to tighten the noose, so that no new sites will survive without buying a truckload of traffic from Adwords. With this much traffic funneling through a single entity, it makes for some very "interesting times" for everyone else.
|Why are they saying that link exchanges are in a way "manipulative" to search engines when we are being encouraged to submit to directories? |
When submitting to Yahoo directory and other directories is acceptable, but link exchanges are not, its telling me that they want to see more 1 way links.
It's telling me that they recognise that those directories are manually built and are therefore, rightly or wrongly, deemed trustworthy.
whatever Google may say in their guidelines, its the reality that counts.Sites with no relevant links at all but admittedly old links(think expired domains) still rank highly, despite also having spam keywords onpage.While sites with plenty relevant links, yahoo dmoz listings, but also plenty of relevant trades and good original content are nowhere to be found.
Forget what they say. look at what they do.
No matter what they continue to say, i still see considerable evidence of link exchanges working and working well, i see evidence of buying links working and working well, until these methods become pointless then SEO's are going to continue as before.
edit: should have read above post first, it echos my thoughts pretty well
Cabbie and Hughie, it's unrealistic to expect perfection. It's also unrealistic to think that following the path of the getting-away-with-it-for-now crowd is the key to future success in Google or other search engines.
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