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From around the web

 2:15 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

I noticed that some large websites have begun linking to other sites in a "from around the web" section of each page. For example Mashable, TMZ and several news websites etc.

Has this become an optimization technique webmasters should embrace? Are search engines rewarding sites who interlink to other sites?



 3:11 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's something that has been in effect for quite a while. I posted a couple years ago about an amazingly fast success with a site where I took on the discipline of a minimum of two useful outbound links on every page.

Matt Cutts also talked about the value of outbound links this past year. Many webmasters are overly focused on incoming links (often because of an obsession with PR as described in the original paper) and that isn't nearly the whole story.

Over the past year, I've noticed that heavy duty spam network sites are including a lot of outbound links on their pages. When you smell that kind of smoke, you just know there's some fire around ;)


 5:45 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

And when I see it on the NYTimes and TMZ at the same time, it's gotta be for SEO.


 9:19 am on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Are you seeing, in a very small font and lightly colored text, a link that says "what's this" at the bottom right side of the list of links? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure those "from around the web" links are PPC ads.

Robert Charlton

 6:23 am on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

The TMZ "Around the Web" links... which are large, in a clearly labelled section at the bottom of the page... are nofollowed. As such, Google... if its once-declared behavior hasn't changed... doesn't "even use such links for discovery". So rel="nofollow" makes it harder for me to imagine how Google might factor these links into the algorithm.

How would Google regard the engagement of a user who vanishes into a black hole and doesn't come back to Google to repeat the same search? Looking at this from different angles, I've basically stayed with dofollow outbounds because I feel that they offer more algorithmic upside than the nofollows do... and less potential downside.

Nofollowed links don't strike me as the kind of outbound links that Matt was talking about earlier this year, or the types of outbounds that have been helping, as tedster points out, for several years. That said, many of the outbounds that I've been seeing pop up for the past six months, which have appeared to be helping in the current algo, are in fact nofollowed. It may be that both types of links, if good for users, offer algorithmic benefits.


 2:27 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

From back in the dark ages: Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone [webmasterworld.com]

G) Outbound Links:
From every page, link to one or two high ranking sites under that particular keyword. Use your keyword in the link text (this is ultra important for the future).

The more things change...


 2:50 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

All of the sites upon which I make good use of outbound links do pretty darn well in the search engines. Even the brand new ones. Of course, I am linking to some pretty authoritative sites, too. I'm sure that helps. Maybe it's a quality signal, I dunno. Pretty sure it casts a better shadow than some of those mainstream media sites that do everything they can to keep people on page in case they just might click on an ad.

(As an added bonus, I find that when I link to them - some of them actually link back!)


 5:27 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I make the extra effort of keeping my outbound links within the 'editorial' text of the page and not in the sidebar or footer. Sometimes it takes some extra wordsmithing to get the keywords right, but it's proven it's worth.

Wiki pages take it to an extreme - search on 'sea of blue' as they even know they have an issue at times.


 6:15 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Crazy. This has made me contemplate. I think this works, yes. I know of a couple of websites which credits the source at the end, and these sites are unaffected even after the Panda update.

However, a large chuck of sites, despite irregularly crediting source have been a victim of Panda. On the other hand, I came across a news site with strictly editorial content. This site had no internal or external links yet, according to Google Trend, it was able to gather good crowd.

This begs for the question whether to have external links, if yes, then should they be nofollowed or dofollowed?

I'm also seeing a trend of hyperlinks pointing to the same site opening in new window.

Also, I think it is appropriate to analyze the sites before implementing anything on our website because, you know, bigger sites have been heavily affected after the recent Panda debacle.


 6:50 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think it works cut and dried like that. It's more likely just an overall indication of site health and quality to link out. Without worrying about stuff like following and new windows (which are really really annoying on internal links, by the way)


 7:33 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'll do some tests next week on 5 different sites of mine which could do with a boost.

I have some ideas on laying out these links - but if anyone wants to help me out - I would be open to suggestions. Like this

A test with outbounds on all pages.
A test with outbounds on index page only
A test with outbounds on index page and some subpages
A test with Outbounds on some subpages and not on index

I really only want the index pages of each site to rank well for their phrase (or move up some in this case).

I could also do with some input on how to locate a good site to link to. Its on page 2 for example for my target phrase? Good toolbar PR? On topic? Outbounds link to index or sub-pages?

That sort of thing - anyone want to help out and I will report back. These are not really money sites - they will earn me about $50 per month (say $10 each site) if they were ALL at number 1.


 8:36 pm on Aug 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

The TMZ "Around the Web" links... which are large, in a clearly labelled section at the bottom of the page... are nofollowed. As such, Google... if its once-declared behavior hasn't changed... doesn't "even use such links for discovery".

I don't think nofollow works anymore when a link leads to a site GOOGLE already trusts.


 12:51 am on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Pop, there's another one - the Los Angeles Times (latimes.com) is now displaying a "from around the web" section which is identical to that of the NYTimes and TMZ. In case you didn't get the memo which has obviously been circulating - start linking to other sites asap. It looks like you want to DEEP link related articles from top sites according to recency and use Google as the measuring stick on what constitutes a "top site".

I realize that these sites are all using software that displays paid links which is leading to a lot of links to ehow type sites but none the less... the sites being linked around are dominant for their subject so there must be some SEO juice behind the sudden use of this code (at least until Google adjusts the value of said paid links, something they have NOT done yet).


 1:19 am on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Can these outbound links be applied to ecommerce sites?
We can put a text link on our products page to an authoritative review site that talks about the same product.


 2:52 am on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Links out just for the sake of having links out are probably not going to help you any.

Links out that enhance the user experience might have a shot.

Just sayin.

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