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Can unlinked urls still help rankings?
internetheaven




msg:3580423
 8:48 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

Our site is quite an authority in our industry, we wrote an article about another company in our industry and mentioned the URL www.example.com but did not actually link it to their site. (Yes, yes, we're very mean like that ...)

The strange thing is, they are new to this industry and up till a week ago were ranking somewhere in the 100's. Now, they rank 2 places under us for the keyphrase that was used in the title of the article page! They don't rank well for any other keyphrases in our industry. With all the Google spamming out there could mentioning the URL and NOT linking be a way for Google to judge a true "vote"?

I can't find another reason for the ranking jump because everyone else in the top 30 or so has thousands of backlinks, pagerank of 4-8 and has been going for 2-7 years. Plus, the fact that they are only ranking for that one phrase.

You may now tell me why that is a really daft concept ... ;)

 

MrStitch




msg:3580440
 9:06 pm on Feb 20, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm not an expert, but....

Title + found url + YOUR trust rating = quality link... or in this case "relationship".

You'd have to weigh in several factors too though. How old is YOUR site, incoming links, links to that exact page you're referring too, etc. Could be a lot of things, but I think it's mostly 'trust' and 'relevance'.

Should also mention - How long has it had this position? If for a short time, then we could expect it to drop rather quickly.

Where's my Fark 'follow up' tag? ;)

[edited by: MrStitch at 9:08 pm (utc) on Feb. 20, 2008]

conor




msg:3581912
 10:06 am on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Its not so daft at all.

Google stated many years ago that can identfy and can crawl un linked URL's, so in the era of trust rank it is conceivable that these are factored into the Algo.

IMO it is 'Natural' for sites to have unlinked urls pointing to them.

Why not remove their URL from your page and see what happens in the serp's?

fishfinger




msg:3581936
 11:02 am on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Or just make an image to display the url or make it a 'nofollow' link?

youfoundjake




msg:3582341
 7:21 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd be curious to see what happens with a nofollow added? If the one unlinked url brought them up so high, can they get dropped back down again with a nofollow?

Robert Charlton




msg:3582359
 7:42 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd be curious to see what happens with a nofollow added? If the one unlinked url brought them up so high, can they get dropped back down again with a nofollow?

How can you add a nofollow attribute to an unlinked url?

youfoundjake




msg:3582372
 7:55 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow"> ?

Robert Charlton




msg:3582379
 8:06 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow"> ?

This is the nofollow meta tag, which you put on the page you don't want indexed.

In this case, would you sneak this onto the other company's ranking page in the middle of night, or would you put it on the page containing your article with the unlinked url, so Google would removed it (ie, your article with the url) from the index? ;)

The nofollow attribute is included within the code of an href link. Since there is no href link here, where would you put it?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:07 pm (utc) on Feb. 22, 2008]

youfoundjake




msg:3582382
 8:16 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Isn't <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> used for not indexing the page while <meta name="robots" content="nofollow"> is used for not following links on the page.

Maybe I have mis-understood, but I thought I can either NoFollow the entire page with
<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">,
or nofollow an particular url with the attribute.
<a href="http://www.example.com/" rel="nofollow">

And I'd place it on the page with the unlink URL so that when google hits the page, see's the meta tag and ignores the link (as well as others on that page which is the downfall)

man in poland




msg:3582396
 8:31 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

My gut feeling, from my own experience, is that unlinked urls can help rankings far more than we might expect. Internetheaven's attitude is similar to many webmasters' with quality sites who feel they have to mention certain other sites in their niche, but are reluctant to pass PR for obvious reasons. In a way, its almost the ultimate stamp of approval, and I am sure the Google techs spotted this way back and give such 'links' more 'love' than we might think....

Robert Charlton




msg:3582413
 8:52 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

(as well as others on that page which is the downfall)

Yes, that's precisely my point... using the meta robots nofollow element would remove the entire page... "your article with the url." It doesn't just remove links... it removes the entire page from the index.

youfoundjake




msg:3582453
 9:58 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

K, I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm actually going to disagree with a moderator, (sigh)
[google.com...]

[mattcutts.com...]

Both talk about the purpose of the robot meta tag in relation to noindex and nofollow.

So, internetheaven, if your nervous about the site you unlinked to getting to close to you in serps, maybe think about nofollowing that whole article page, which means other links on that page won't get followed from that page, but if pointed to from other pages, will still get followed as normal, or ask them to put a noindex tag at the top of their page. :)

edited by: youfoundjake, 2:02

tedster




msg:3582459
 10:11 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Seems to be some confusion here - or maybe just some mis-typing. These attribute parameters are pretty descriptive. Nofollow in robots.txt just means "don't follow the links" and noindex means "don't index the page". But if you don't have a link in the first place, then I can't see how nofollow would apply to this situation.

The rel="nofollow" attribute in an anchor tag means "this link [only] on this page [only] is not a vote - don't send any link juice." And you know what? The only times I've ever typed that attribute have been in forums, emails and Powerpoints. I hate the thing and always have, with the possible exception of the original idea for blgo comments. Put it back in the box already! But of course, it looks like it's here to stay so I will shut up.

Now about the opening question - I've seen unlinked urls apparently help rankings. In particular, a client got a fat mention of their url in the NYTimes, but it was unlinked. Rankings jumped within a few days, but I always assumed it was because the mention stimulated others to link to their service, which really is an exclusive one-of-a-kind with decent demand, once people learn about it.

Now I'm wondering - maybe there is some part of the algo that values unlinked mentions of a url. We already know that Google will attempt to spider such urls if they haven't already, so somewhere in that vast data farm the url is being stored. And it would make a kind of sense for Google to do this, especially in measuring "burstiness" for a new domain.

Now that the topic is on the table, I have this little itch in the back of my brain that just maybe I read something about this in the piles of verbiage I sort through reading Google patents. If I locate a reference, I'll post it later.

Robert Charlton




msg:3582507
 11:09 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm actually going to disagree with a moderator

youfoundjake - Moderators are all too human.

...the purpose of the robot meta tag in relation to noindex and nofollow

In the case of this moderator, there was some jumping ahead to the conclusion, and thus some mistyping in answering the wrong question. Since there was no link on the page to which nofollow could be applied, I'd assumed that you must have been talking about blocking the entire page, using this form of the robots meta tag (where nofollow is commonly but not always associated with noindex)....

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">

I was discussing the effects of noindex. Sorry for the extra confusion.

youfoundjake




msg:3582516
 11:18 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

(Robert, between you and me, when I typed
i'd be curious to see what happens with a nofollow added?
I had a brainburp at that time and was actually referring to the unlinked url, but I think I recovered nice and gracefully with the meta follow up)
jimbeetle




msg:3582523
 11:33 pm on Feb 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just a quick related observation. When I was doing an allinanchor search on a site this morning I did find one unlinked URL (in the form of http://www.example.com) that was included in the results. Now that doesn't mean that it hadn't been linked at some point, but I thought it was a curiosity.

internetheaven




msg:3582769
 12:11 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'd imagine this is something SE's will never give us even a hint of answers for ...

FromRocky




msg:3582860
 3:41 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

internetheaven,
This jump in ranking from the mentioned site may be due to other sites' linkings but not from your mentioning the url without the link? I wonder if you change this mentioning to a link with "nofollow" attribute to see any change from ranking.

youfoundjake,
..or ask them to put a noindex tag at the top of their page.

Hope other webmasters can do this for my asking!

tedster




msg:3582876
 3:58 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

One other possibility for the jump in ranking. It could be the acquisition of another domain with lots of existing backlink strength - and they 301 redirected it.

youfoundjake




msg:3583004
 7:54 pm on Feb 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Maybe they just got out of the sandbox?
(ducks for cover)

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