homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 23.23.57.144
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

    
Tired of Link Rot - Link to Google Instead?
Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 5:16 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

At some point, a while back, I became really tired of finding dead links on my pages. The task of checking for link rot became a real "time sink". And, or course, it had to be done frequently.

So, as a solution, I started to link to Google instead. I would come up with a carefully crafted Google search, which would present the Page(s) that I wanted to link to. By doing this, when one of my previously linked-to pages disappeared, Google would automatically link to the next best web page(s).

My perceived advantages are:
1. I don't have to spend hours and hours checking for link rot,
2. Google doesn't see any dead links when they index my pages, and
3. I certainly don't have to worry about "no follow" (ha-ha). I don't think that Google would ever get upset, by my linking to THEM!

Do you see any disadvantage to this approach? It seems to be working quite well.
.
.

 

Robert Charlton

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 5:58 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Note that Google does not like search results pages to appear in its serps, including Google search results pages, so in that sense they don't like links to Google results. From Google's Webmaster Guidelines [google.com] ....

Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don't add much value for users coming from search engines.

Matt Cutts also discusses this in his blog...

Search results in search results
[mattcutts.com...]

Google already does similar things with our web search results, Froogle, etc. to try to prevent our web search results from causing problems for any other enginesí index. In general, weíve seen that users usually donít want to see search results (or copies of websites via proxies) in their search results.

Google considers how a site's content adds to the user experience. In the light of the above, it's unlikely that linking to Google would reflect well on your site.

Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 8:23 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

. . it's unlikely that linking to Google would reflect well on your site.

Wow. It looks like I have to rethink my strategy. I thought I was doing the right thing, but maybe not. I certainly don't want to be penalized, for using what I thought was a "good for the user" tactic.

It looks like I will be linking out far less frequently. Because I am getting tired chasing link rot. And I CERTAINLY don't want to do anything that Google disapproves of, knowingly.<edit>OR UNKNOWINGLY!,</edit>
.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 9:10 pm (utc) on Aug. 14, 2009]

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 8:59 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Sally.

Not sure how your users would react but on some of my client's sites I have set up a way to report broken links.

It is just a little icon that appears next to external links, clicking it brings up a box asking if they want to report this link as broken. If they click yes then it sends me an email.

It isn't perfect but it does help track down bad links and may save you some time. If links can be added via a CMS or user submissions then it is easy to build in the "report broken link" logic.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 9:12 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Broken links are one kind of link rot - but with Google it matters more if the original site you linked to has now turned into a bad neighborhood. And that's a whole 'nother level of clean-up work to sustain if your site links out a lot.

phranque

WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 10:52 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

it doesn't take long to run xenu link sleuth occasionally and scan through the results.

Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 11:13 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

Demaestro - Sounds good if you are using a CMS. In my case, all my pages are individually hand-made. So, we are talking about a lot of work.

Tedster - It happened once to me - a link went pron. I dumped that link instantly. But, it looks like eternal vigilance is required.

phranque - xenu is PC only, and I am Mac only. However, I have used deadlinksdotcom with good success. But it is very time consuming. And it doesn't tell you when a link goes "bad", as Tedster mentioned.

Demaestro

WebmasterWorld Senior Member demaestro us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 11:32 pm on Aug 14, 2009 (gmt 0)

thanks ted,

Now I have all this new work ahead of me.

proboscis

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 1:39 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

You could try the bad neighborhood link checker, I have found lots of links that went bad as well as sites that were hacked with this tool.

Jonesy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 1:57 am on Aug 15, 2009 (gmt 0)

Double indirection: You could encode your "carefully crafted" search URL with tinyurl or the somesuch, I s'pose.
Jonesy

Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 7:50 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Perhaps I should start a new thread -
"Don't Link Out - It Can Only Harm You"
1. The link can go bad (dead), when you are not looking.
2. The link can go REALLY bad, by going pron.
3. You are throwing away page rank, for no good reason.
4. You will get fewer AdSense clicks, since you have provided another escape route.
5. If I link to Google search results, I will be penalized, as this thread confirms.
6. You can avoid all the nofollow cr*p that must be utilized - another huge time-sink.

The arguments for linking out -
1. Some visitors may find the link useful
2. ?

"Linking Out" has been weighed in the balance, and been found wanting.

I believe I am going to stop linking out, and I am going to start removing my outgoing links. They are simply too much of a hassle, they can get you in trouble, and they offer little in return.

Thoughts?
.
.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 7:54 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

The arguments for linking out -
1. Some visitors may find the link useful
2. ?

2. There is data to suggest that outbound links to good sites are a ranking factor.

Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 8:07 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

But without knowing what the risk/reward factor is, one might assume that the risks might outweight the reward, especially since we know what the risks are, but we can only guess at what the, perhaps marginal, rewards might be.

And, some of my best performing pages don't have ANY outgoing links. So I don't think there is any penalty for not having outgoing links. And I haven't noticed any "Boost" on my pages that have quite a few outgoing links.
.
.

[edited by: Sally_Stitts at 8:12 pm (utc) on Aug. 17, 2009]

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 8:11 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I believe I am going to stop linking out, and I am going to start removing my outgoing links.

Generally users are not fond of having useful features removed.

Do you know how many of your visitors leave your site via your outbound links?

Have you tracked to see which of your outbound links your visitors use?

Which of your outbound links cause your visitors to recommend your site to their friends?

... stop linking out ... start removing ... Thoughts?

Your competitors will appreciate it!

Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 8:18 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

You are right. I don't have the answers to those 3 questions. Can Google Analytics provide those answers?

I could just provide the link text, and those who are really interested can copy and paste it. Inconvenient? Yes. But much safer. And, no maintenance required.

graeme_p

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 9:05 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

I could just provide the link text, and those who are really interested can copy and paste it

They copy and paste and then find it is a dead link. Not convenient for them.

callivert

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 9:17 pm on Aug 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google does not like search results pages to appear in its serps

that's not quite the same thing as not liking links to search results. Does Google have an explicit policy on this practice?

Sally Stitts

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 5:06 pm on Aug 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Google does not like search results pages to appear in its serps

It was never my intent to have the search results appear in the SERPs. It was my intent to send my visitor to a web page that confirmed and illustrated some point I was trying to make, or to confirm specific data. Since pages change, I thought it was a BETTER OPTION to let Google select the CURRENT best page to make my point, by selecting a very specific search phrase.

When I check the results of the searches I specify, I am happy with the pages that Google chooses to present. If I am not happy, I change the search, so that it DOES reflect exactly what I want. Sometimes, I will use as many as 8 words in my search phrase. If that is not quite specific enough, I will use quotation marks to ensure that visitors will see exactly what I want.

My main purpose in doing this, is to avoid sending the visitor to a dead link, which WAS excellent, but which is now gone. There is not much "good stuff" on the net, that does not appear in multiple places. I am trusting Google to present LIVE links, that are dead-on appropriate - IF I can create a very apt search phrase. That has been my theory, and goal.

They copy and paste and then find it is a dead link. Not convenient for them.

Good point. Another reason why I am going to stop linking out. Until someone can prove to me that the benefits outweigh the known, substantial risks.
.
.

julinho

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 11:59 am on Aug 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

They are simply too much of a hassle, they can get you in trouble, and they offer little in return.

And precisely because of this, outbound links can help tell the good sites from the bad ones.

Any webmaster can do trivial work like stuffing meta tags or increasing font sizes; but finding and maintaining links to external pages which complement your own pages and enrich your users experience requires knowledge and effort.

If I were Google, I would be trying to identify which sites face the hassles involved in providing useful external links to their users, and would reward those sites accordingly.

vero

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 2:13 pm on Aug 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't know how many outbound links you have. What has worked for me is to keep a list in Word every time I add an external link (add a space after the url to make it an active links). Once a week, I just go down the list and ctr- right-click on them all, to make sure they are OK. It's a pain, but I once had a link turn into "adult" content, so I'm really careful since.

jomaxx

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jomaxx us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 6:37 pm on Aug 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

I don't see any problem with this strategy. You can even experiment with using the "I'm feeling lucky" operator if you're linking to a website homepage. (As a directory owner, I am frequently reminded that even homepage links are constantly shifting.)

I have also been tempted at times to use the Google "site:" operator to link to websites that have a lot of useful content but a lousy or nonexistent internal search facility.

As long as you make it clear to your site visitors what they'll see when they click a given link, this seems totally fine to me.

Jonesy

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3972100 posted 2:34 pm on Aug 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

You could link to a now-missing-web-site using the Way Back Machine.
I've done that -- but I include a 'heads up' in the body text at the
link point.
Jonesy

Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved