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Exchanging links to receive content - what are the risks?
gn_wendy




msg:4184693
 9:09 am on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I work on a site with millions of pages in several languages. One of our problems is that we have a fair number of pages where the text-to-code ratio is very low , little unique content, few inbound deep links, and a high keyword density.

Since certain algo-updates (such as MayDay and July ~20) we are seeing competitors we previously outranked slowly, but surely, glide past us for longtail queries.

The only solution I can see is to add more original, contextual and relevant content to the pages.

The problem is - I have no way (and I really mean not possible) of generating or producing that amount of content. However, there is a third party. They have vast amounts of content - original, editorial and best of all: relevant.

The content they have has never been published online, but the company (which is a semi-competitor) does have a website. I think they would be willing to give us access to limited parts of the content in exchange for a link to the source (i.e. their website; root domain).

This would mean giving a sort-of competitor 1 link from every instance of using their content. It would be an image link, with their company and competitive-keyword domain name as the alt="" text. We may be integrating their content up to 10 times on certain pages, and at least once on a minimum of 60% of pages.

Here are my thoughts:
- the link is identical in it's form, and very repetitive so Google may not pass full value for each link (from each URL)
- the pages where we link to them many times will pass a lot less value internally, which means we will be hemorrhaging link juice site-wide

The two questions I need to get answered would be:

* How much would the loss of link juice hurt my site and how much would our "competitor/partner" stand to gain from the links?

AND

* What value would the content actually add (I have a feeling it could be substantial) and would the trade be worth it for us?

tl;drWe want to exchange site-wide, yet contextually placed image (with good alt="" text), links with a competitor for original and unique content integration. Would it be worth it and what issues can this forum identify?

 

tedster




msg:4184766
 12:35 pm on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

the link is identical in it's form, and very repetitive so Google may not pass full value for each link (from each URL)

I see it that way, too. Not a problem, just a reality when one site links to another many times.

the pages where we link to them many times will pass a lot less value internally, which means we will be hemorrhaging link juice site-wide

There is evidence that repeated, identical links on a single page act as only one link. So I don't think you have a concern here. Even if the links all "count" I wouldn't use the word "hemorrhage" to describe the situation. If you think about directories, they have a lot of external links but still can get lots of PageRank built up. It's the iterative part of the PR calculation that makes the difference.

gn_wendy




msg:4184783
 1:22 pm on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

There is evidence that repeated, identical links on a single page act as only one link. So I don't think you have a concern here. Even if the links all "count" I wouldn't use the word "hemorrhage" to describe the situation. If you think about directories, they have a lot of external links but still can get lots of PageRank built up. It's the iterative part of the PR calculation that makes the difference.


That is a valid point - I was thinking along the lines of adding their links to a majority of pages so that on a grander scale I would be "losing" a little bit of link juice on each page. I may have been overly "defensive" in my thinking. I am just in the "brainstorming" phase before I kick this up the chain of command.

One of the reasons I bring this up for discussion is that, in my opinion, how Google would treat this type of situation and how much juice would be lost and how much would be passed along is "undefined". I have never heard of any tests where the results could predict any type of outcome for what I am proposing to do.

Also, I may need to mention: the site I am linking to does mostly white-hat stuff. However, on analyzing their linkgraph I see some gray-hat tactics being employed. Nothing offensive, just of questionable taste. The real issue would be if were running black-hat stuff or had malware. Which isn't the case, but worth mentioning as a potential issue - since the sites would become "joined" to a certain extent from a SE point of view.

Robert Charlton




msg:4185037
 7:36 pm on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

This would mean giving a sort-of competitor 1 link from every instance of using their content.... We may be integrating their content up to 10 times on certain pages, and at least once on a minimum of 60% of pages.

In the spirit of paranoid brainstorming ;) ... the concern here might be that even though these act as one link at the destination page, they might create 9 "black holes" on the linking page. Though various aspects of multiple links on a page have been tested, I'm not sure whether this particularly concern has been looked at.

Also, I can't help but think that if Google saw two sites in the same market area with as many links as you describe going one way to the second site, Google might think something was odd and do a manual inspection. So you'd definitely want to clarify on your image link that these are "content from" attributions. Even if you did, though, Google might look at the arrangement as a quid pro quo of some sort, and not credit the bulk of the links. It's doubtful that they'd ding you for content bartering, but you never know.

It is unlikely that Google would pass on full credit for the links to your competitor in any case, just because they are multiple links from the same site, so I don't think you need worry about boosting them up too much.

About the drain of link juice, I think you should pay attention to where in your site architecture you place the pages with multiple outbound links. You obviously don't want ten of them on your home page or on a main category page.

It sounds like you do have a lot to gain by this, btw, particularly if, going forward, you have more varied sources for inbound links to the duplicated content than your competitor does.

mhansen




msg:4185129
 12:36 am on Aug 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm just overly simplifying this... but if your "website" is millions of pages, I'm guessing its also an authority site in the space and has many authoritative pages.

It seems to me you could save time and effort by working on a hierarchal onsite funnel to flow more juice (and physical traffic, so click that toolbar trigger) to these pages from yourself and to yourself.

With +1mm pages, surely there are a handfuls of pages up each tier that could be used for the funnel steps.

< speculation begin >

I HAVE read some recent opinion where a few people are starting to see good post-Mayday recovery by increasing their link graph TO authority pages (On and Off site) from within their own.

< / speculation>

gn_wendy




msg:4185224
 7:24 am on Aug 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

you have more varied sources for inbound links to the duplicated content than your competitor does.


The thing is - the content wouldn't be duplicate. The content from the competition has never been published online before. It's origional content - that is what makes it so awesome.

'm guessing its also an authority site in the space and has many authoritative pages.
...
It seems to me you could save time and effort by working on a hierarchal onsite funnel to flow more juice


Yes, the site has a lot of authority, but for several languages there are competitors who also have very good sites. The problem is not flowing juice through the site. It is well optimized for that. Rather the issue is that even though there is a lot of link power. The pages where we are being outranked in the longtail are the pages where we have little editorial content (i.e only a little text and a lot of product + keywords).

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