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|Links from Blogs and Social Sites|
A Viable Strategy for Site Promotion?
For the past six years, I've pursued one-way links, reciprocal links, and submissions to directories, all of which were related to my sites' niches.
I've been reading many, many posts about getting link value by posting on blogs or social networking sites.
However, when I look at the source code for such sites, I see the links with rel=nofollow attributes.
So, where's the value?
It would seem that I'm getting behind the curve here.
Any replies much appreciated.
Would Google take a look at the link profile of a site and say :
"Hey - you're using a lot of blogs on your site"
"These are paid bloggers which we can see "
and then discount them? Most blogs stand out as very obviously paid and many are poor quality. One day this might be called a "bad neighbourhood".
I can see how these networks [ in the eyes of Google ] can be deemed abuse and manipulative for SEO purposes. What they can do about it remains to be seen.
However, on the positive side, what a fantastic opportunity for the internet to become even more interactive and dynamic. I think the blog network companies need to get there heads away from a quick buck quick death industry, and focus on ways to incorporate quality and genuine value in the eyes of Google.
Someone has a bright future if they are smart and can manage this in a Google complimentary way.
If a genuine, good quality site writes about another and links to it [ paid or unpaid ] everyone's a winner. If not, it will go the way of reciprocal linking and article writing.
|Would Google take a look at the link profile of a site and say : |
"Hey - you're using a lot of blogs on your site" or
"These are paid bloggers which we can see "
and then discount them?
First, what makes you think that bloggers are so willing to link out to you? (we're not talking about links in the comments here). It's no easier than getting a link from any other kind of web-page.
Second, I'm mystified by this assertion that blog link = paid link.
But if you think links from blogs are easy to get, go get em.
Getting Blog links so your link is positioned favourably is extremely difficult, I put it that it's the same as obtaining a homepage link on a site that gets millions of visitors per month.
This is the same old 'obtain free links' story discussed over and over again, except using a different angle - the social site angle - in an attempt to make it sound more interesting - but it's still the same problem we had 1 month ago, 1 year ago etc, so what has changed - Nothing! This is still about gaining the freebie link isn't it..... and the attitude of:
"I like this site, it's very cool, so I'm going to link to it and follow the Google worship thing" and, "My site cannot possibly exist without Google, so had better do as they say or my site will surely die in the serps"
-- there ARE many other engines and sites out there that don't control our lives for profit, and they offer good advertising services that are better than any blogs, social sites, search tool or forum, but unfortunately Mr poor webmaster - you have to pay for the adverts! So what's wrong with that, I bought 2 links last week, it's not a problem as they weren't expensive and help a bit.
So there are easier alternatives than fighting and begging with blogs and forums to place ya link.
I run 2 sites, one is informational and the other is a community, as a business owner, I don't want spam links lowering the tone of what I built, yet, when I check my forum in about 5 mins time, I know I'll spend the next 20 minutes removing fake members and their spam, unrelated links etc - and this irritates me way beyond anger, infact I'd like to get a weapon and...... Ok, that's another discussion entirely, but you get my point about why spam links won't last long on social sites, and is why it's pointless bothering to spam them.
So, will social sites now begin charging for all links?
Most social sites worth their salt, won't even touch paid links because of the problems with charging for what might be spam - the blog owner, will have to remove the untargeted links, and to punish the link dropper - NOT refund, and then follows complaints etc.
But it may not be a bad way to fight off spam here..... Who want their social site filled with crap? I don't as it's risky to my reputation and other business interests, so I see the freebie link disappearing very soon indeed - this has panicked freebie hunters and so they hunt for other new link drop opportunities and guess what... The social sites are the new haven for spammers.
[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 11:06 am (utc) on Sep. 1, 2007]
|Getting Blog links so your link is positioned favourably is extremely difficult... |
No, it's not. That's like saying "obtaining beer in a pub is extremely difficult."
Good lord. Some of us have completely lost it at the alter of SEO.
The value is in gaining traffic and new users. Amazingly, to many webmasters, search engines aren't the only way to accomplish that.
I'm talking about the large professional social sites, infact let's forget blogs for the moment, as they are nothing more than a very small presence on the web, and not worth the time it takes to add a link (unless you link for PR purposes, which is pointless anyway). And it will only confuse the issue and my point if blogs are included in the social band of sites.
Social sites like MySpace, (and I'd like to point out that I have a Myspace page, so I know the effectiveness of it) attract all-purpose traffic, then sell advert space in the hope visitors buy from the advertisers. This isn't right for many advertisers as the targeting is way too 'personal' (NOT business related targeting)- yet too many still pay to advertise on it when it's just the wrong type of site to begin with. Advertisers figure "It's large and must give us what we want" - just not true, as is many sites out there all offering amazing results but deliver little or zero results. End result, a waste of ad budget and the time it takes to place a link or arrange the ad campaign.
Advertisers will do much better moving away from General ad resources and go for targeting or ROI, as it's known as.
Social sites are for conversation and perhaps entertainment value, not strictly advertising ROI generating tools. And won't work as well, and my proof of this is contained in my logs which show nil clicks from the biggest social site - MySpace. I don't need to make this up, it's a fact, zero clicks in 1 year!
Hey, Myspace invented the site, and all I and everyone else did was to add their details and maybe their url right? - the traffic isn't reaching my sites, and that is because Myspace doesn't want it to. They have fixed it that way for a reason.
I think MySpace is about a different type of visitor, certainly not designed for businesses. Far better resources out there, and if it's links you love, then other options are available at low cost.
Big isn't always best, and in many cases it disappoints.
[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 5:21 pm (utc) on Sep. 1, 2007]
|...infact let's forget blogs for the moment, as they are nothing more than a very small presence on the web, and not worth the time it takes to add a link (unless you link for PR purposes, which is pointless anyway)... |
Based on my own experience, and that of countless others, I utterly disagree with everything in that statement for all the reasons previously set forth in this thread.
I have noticed a lot of sites with high pagerank and lots of links from blogs. And, no, the non-blog sites that linked to them were not important sites.
I have noticed lots of backlinks credited by Y! despite rel=nofollow tags.
|"I'm talking about the large professional social sites" |
No you are not. ;) Your words:
|Getting Blog links so your link is positioned favourably is extremely difficult... |
|...infact let's forget blogs for the moment, as they are nothing more than a very small presence on the web... |
That says everything we need to know about what you know about blogs. Thanks for clarifying.
|I'm talking about the large professional social sites |
I've actually got links on a quite a few small-time external blogs and they are completely worthless for traffic. I don't even target or ever will use external blogs to drive traffic, the minimal traffic they provide is untargeted for my visitors and site. That goes for these large social sites too, it just doesn't 'do it' for us.
...infact let's forget blogs for the moment, as they are nothing more than a very small presence on the web...
but these must get an unreal amount of spam to deal with, and thus have a bad reputation due to the spam problem. Would I put my links where I knew such spam resides? Probably not.
I'm not sure why you and others on here worship such blogs, you guys seem to value them, but the web is so vast, they won't even make a dent as far as traffic delivery is concerned.
The only value I see is perhaps the link gets picked up and linked to.
|The only value I see is perhaps the link gets picked up and linked to |
You sound certain that the links from blogs don't pass good link juice, or help a site rank. Any experience with that, or just a feeling?
|but these must get an unreal amount of spam to deal with, and thus have a bad reputation due to the spam problem. Would I put my links where I knew such spam resides? Probably not. |
For the most part, one thing that is so helpful here at WebmasterWorld is that, more often than not, posters either are asking pertinent questions or know what they are talking about. In this case, that just isn't so.
My blogs, at least, are protected from spam, and those (usually legitimate) comments that do get through are monitored and I delete them if appropriate. I'm only familiar with WordPress, but I'm assuming that other platforms have similar tools. I'm confident that my blog sites do not have a "bad reputation" and I know of many that have stellar reputations.
IMO, blog sites will proliferate as the platforms evolve further. In terms of flexibility, opportunities for viral dissemination and SEO strategies, the blog configuration offers many distinct advantages over static sites.
And, I'm not suggesting that static sites should fall by the wayside. My suggestion merely is that, if you haven't given development of a blog site a try, you owe it to yourself to do so. I'll promise you that once you get into it, you'll begin to see a multitude of new possibilities.
>>>>>My suggestion merely is that, if you haven't given development of a blog site a try, you owe it to yourself to do so.
In my relatively competitive, yet very dry and stagnant market, there's really no need for blogs. Nobody's going to read them, and the market's too competive for them to rank for anything. It's really a pointless waste of time. I've maintained this to be the case for a couple of years now. Automatic 'you gotta have a blog' comments puts people in the same class as those that think recips are the way to go IMO. It's a fad.
Case in point, one of my (non-SEO) clients hired a new webmaster. The webmaster lambasted this old fellow into writing three posts a day on the blog on their site. Not completely dry stuff, just talking like he would to a client in this again, rather dry industry.
As a result of this nonsense and work, it seems they're getting some long tail, high converting traffic to their site. I also recently checked my stats on an old, dead blog I've got. Turns out it's taking some very nice traffic on targetted terms, stuff I've never bothered to try to convert.
I may have to reword my opinion on blogging so that I better line up with reality.
This thread brings back home to me why I and other veteran ww members spend so little time here nowadays. Over 95% of the posters here are more concerned with arguing theory, than contributing anything of scientific researched value for everyone to USE.
Before I spend even less time on ww, since the other social media heavyweights haven't bothered to, here's some of what this post lacks: hard science. I hope you get something from it:
Two niche business sites, both out of the sandbox, zero SEO or other activity for this period (i.e. clean scientific experiment). Submitted to digg:
45 visits per day
visitors: day 1 - 40'000 digg visitors, day 2 20'000 digg visitors, reddit and stumble followed.
Links: 1000 (from 1300, reduced 30% after 6 months).
3 months later 260 visitors (475% increase), 6 months later 220 visitors. 60% traffic from SE's.
78 visits per day,
visitors: day 1 - 18'000 digg visitors, reddit and stumble followed.
Links: 540 (710 reduced 30% after 4 months)
2 months later 175 visitors (124% increase), 4 months later 165 visitors. 70% traffic from SE's.
All links are OWL (one way).
Most links are earned in a period of days (so study posts on how this affects SE's).
Social Media visitors: You get a few RSS subscribers/Newsletter, but pretty much zero conversion.
It takes months of daily long hard work to build up a digg account that can earn you home pages.
If it wasn't worth the effort, then why is the market price for achieving digg home pages $3k-$5k?
Now if you'll excuse me, I have link bait/viral marketing articles to edit, and social media accounts to build up.
To maybe annoy Coburn, as no scientific results, yet keep short:
Seems to me that much of this thread is about putting crappy links on crappy sites/blogs.
No statistics from me, but I've certainly found strong blogs - including on science (global widgeting, say).
Made occasional comments on these, with links to sections of my sites that are relevant. Only occasional, so no stats, but surely a good move - and over time, can lead to getting noticed if some knowledgeable bods follow the links, find I have good content.
Previously seen traffic/links resulting from participating in discussions on the much feared avian widget lurgy.
So, even in "2.0", surely almost the same old same old: if you're gonna try slapping links any place, can of course expect each one to be near worthless, and to get deleted darn fast if site owner doing his/her job. So, find some folk have automated the posting task, and can inundate forums/blogs if find flaw in software (yeah, I've experienced this: 200+ crap posts within 10mins; made changes since).
While, if you find places within your zone of expertise (you do have some, don't you? - you're not just writing unoriginal woeful fluff?), and add comment/link that makes contribution, links from blogs and social sites can surely help.
|Seems to me that much of this thread is about putting crappy links on crappy sites/blogs. |
Accurate and fact of life because many are desperate and can't be bothered to do the necessary research or read books. If they are after free links, then at least seek out targeted sources - at least!
I own a blog - but it's internal only (no posts allowed on it), and a very good reason for it. I find my forum is far more effective than the blog would be, it's the different set-up that makes it work eg:
Forum Advantages (over a blog)
Forum has a search function/Blog doesn't.
The forum design is more like a home, than a sporadic comment dropper.
The forum has superior features that make it more attractive eg: post count/member status etc. Perhaps all this helps members to feel a sense of belonging and teamwork - certainly a working towards a common goal. (so it's kind of social, in a work way, rather than a Fun Social way.
There are a few blog types:
External (Stand-alone and Outsiders add the content)
Internal (Usually part of a large site, used for communicating News and site's happenings. No 'users' allowed).
Don't get me wrong, certain blogs are very popular, but these are usually part of a major website, and already have a ton of traffic ready to use the blog. Stand alone blogs don't work.
The popular social sites have this all covered now, and can't be beaten. The entire social scene is now covered totally, and the 'Youth Market' is owned by players like Facebook, Yelp and MySpace. Other businesses control the Youth thing too, but with other services, they don't compete with the Facebooks because they know they can't compete. Besides, their interest isn't there anyway.
Better to think of a different idea than to copy anything.
|Forum has a search function/Blog doesn't. |
Baloney. Have you even looked at WordPress? I give up.
|Baloney. Have you even looked at WordPress? I give up. |
Nope. But I'm not interested in running another useless blog software site, so why would I look at wordpress. I would feel like I'm providing another pointless link to a personal diary about my dog and cat.
Ofcourse these personal blogs are of no use to the businesses that operate on the web - the blogs are personal and private use only
Private use only (to flog affilate products). The blogs you and others refer to are webmaster owned, so it's likely they will be supported, for it lines the pockets for the webmasters that own them.
I'm not the novice you think I am.
[edited by: Maxnpaddy at 2:02 pm (utc) on Sep. 2, 2007]
|I'm not the novice you think I am. |
Then why are you saying things that are completely false, such as blogs not having a Search function?
Because a lot of blogs haven't. Why is that so hard to accept.
Why would I make up something like this, what for - to float my ego?
Trying to give advice here and point out the flaws in the blog system, but all I've seen is insults and one-upmanship talk.
|You sound certain that the links from blogs don't pass good link juice, or help a site rank. Any experience with that, or just a feeling? |
Experience. Our site logs tell us the links our traffic comes from, and I see no blog or social site traffic. That tells us a lot about how the multitude of blogs perform.
We don't deal in hearsay or opinion, we provide raw proof, as our business relies on it.
"You sound certain that the links from blogs don't pass good link juice, or help a site rank. Any experience with that, or just a feeling?"
|Experience. Our site logs tell us the links our traffic comes from, and I see no blog or social site traffic. |
Ok, thanks for answering. But I wasn't speaking of traffic. Some webmasters think the PR passed in links from blogs is somehow devalued. You seemed certain, and I'm just looking for "raw proof" of any devaluation of blog links.
PR is for entertainment purposes and cannot help decide on how a website performs. Some webmasters do use it to help sell the space on their site, but Pagerank is no measure of a site's performance nor tells the site's ability to send traffic, quality of visitor rate, targeting or return on investment.
Many now realise this and have uninstalled the Google toolbar.
|Our site logs tell us the links our traffic comes from, and I see no blog or social site traffic. |
So you are looking at traffic for one site and extrapolating that one data point to assume that none of the millions of other sites on the web get significant blog traffic?
Some sites have topics that attract more blog links than others. I have some sites that get a lot of traffic from blogs and social networks and others that get don't, even though I personally tend not to do much Web 2.0 promotion of my any of my sites.
This is a hot topic! Check out the Pubcon Agenda, Day 1, 2:45pm - "Social Media and Search". This will be an exciting session and definately cover this topic in depth!
I'll be there!
|For the past six years, I've pursued one-way links, reciprocal links, and submissions to directories, all of which were related to my sites' niches. |
Well, bases purely off your 6 years of experience...have you seen benefits from your work?
"Well, bases purely off your 6 years of experience...have you seen benefits from your work? "
Absolutely. The links on other sites bring in traffic. And, of course, I've gotten the sites I did the work for on to the first pages of the major search engines.
There are people on this forum who say that they're getting first-page results without using links. I'd love to know how they do it, as searching for good link partners is incredibly boring.
It's not a matter of whether blogs or social networking links work. or even whether Google counts the links.
If you find blogs, social networking or whatever that are totally related to your topic then it's probably worth your time to get involved because they will bring visitors that are actually interested in your topic.
Otherwise look at other possibilities. It's not a matter of what kind of site it is (block, myspace, etc) but if it will bring you visitors whether directly from the site or indirectly through links that will boost you in Google.
I've never seen more people who argue something to death as not working... against people who have no reason to lie about the fact it is working. What is the point?
There are pointless social media site links... there are great social media site links.
There are pointless blog links... there are great blog links.
There are pointless recip links... there are great recip links.
There are pointless forum links... there are great forum links.
There are pointless sitewide links... there are great sitewide links.
Should I waste more vertical space in this thread? Should You?
Nobody is going to draw you a map. Why not look at who is telling you something, check their posts, their rep, etc and either take heed or not. But don't waste everyone's time talking about links from certain sites being worthless because they don't have a site search function.
(Newbie here, living fearlessly and jumping into an involved discussion while still wet behind the ears. No guts, no glory, I say.)
I see validity in Receptional's comment earlier that "the nature of most blogging systems is that the linkjuice is short lived," and I've seen that with a blog I had in a previous life. Amazing burst of traffic when you strike a chord followed by rapid decay, especially if you're dealing with stuff that has a short shelf-life.
But I'm still wrapping my brain around the implications of the social sites. MySpace strikes me as being a remarkably closed system. I've seen external links from MySpace pages, but they appear to be the exception more than the norm, and MySpace users appear to operate for the most part within the confines of MySpace.
As social bookmarking sites go, I owe my recent explosion of traffic to being picked up by StumbleUpon users. I didn't do anything to attract StumbleUpon's attention...someone just liked my site and the ball started rolling naturally. This particular service is interesting because it puts your page in the faces of people who want to see something they haven't seen before.
Having seen the rapidity with which blog-based traffic can decline after the fires have cooled, I have been watching my site's traffic with more than academic interest since it was "Stumbled Upon." But going three weeks into the deluge, it seems to be holding steady at present.
My sense is that the category "Blogs and Social Sites" is a pretty broad one, that there is quite a bit of variety among the different species of these animals, and that the devil is probably in the details of how each player in this particular space works.
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