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Automated link building plug in's - are they safe
Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 6:50 am on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure if mentioning service product names is prohibited here, so I'll pitch my question as best i can.

There are some well known network systems out there that semantically match content with bloggers needs for republishing, via the use of CMS plug-ins on most of the major systems. The benefit to publishers is that the bloggers will link back to the orginating articles , some PR might be extended, it's claimed, creating authority opportunities.

There are claimed to be 100,000's of quality websites reciprocating on the system, and likely the plug in leaves some traces in the code for Google to pick up, as well as the risk of duplicated content and patterns for Google to penalise or filter.

So my questions is, assuming you are familiar with the system, do you consider this technique a risk, given Penguin. It's not really freely given editorial is it, but it's tempting ?

You know how much Google hates link schemes. Any thoughts ?

 

Receptional

WebmasterWorld Administrator receptional us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 7:20 am on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is more than one platform like this - so you were right not to mention one in particular.

I found a site that got burnt in one of these systems years ago - before penguin - although every post used the same anchor text three times on the page, so that was probably a red rag to a bull to Google.

Of course, if you feel there are "100,000s" quality blogs on the system then clearly the word "quality" has lost some of its subjectivity... as have, perhaps, the bloggers.

There ARE good bloggers on some of those systems - but they may also be the naive ones. If the network has that level of scale, then Google will already have assimilated these imho - especially if, as you say, there is code on the blogs.

Pjman



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 6:24 pm on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

A big no-no here. I met up with three different site owners that got torched by using those systems. You should focus solely on legit links and refrences.

martinibuster

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



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 7:27 pm on Mar 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is a non-reciprocating system called Zemanta that is better. You pay per impression to Zemanta. The bloggers aren't getting paid for anything. You aren't paying for a link. The bloggers will link to the article if they find it useful or topical. The bloggers don't get paid for linking or for anything else. They are simply using editorial discretion to linkto content they find useful. This is a good way to advertise viral or highly topical content to a wide audience.

[edited by: martinibuster at 2:28 pm (utc) on Mar 4, 2013]

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 12:18 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

Some of the networks leave branding links and tracer codes identfying the network. In the case of this particular network, I'm seeing over 7m incidents of "Enhanced by xyz " in the Google search results coming from the alt attributes and related code.

If other sites put links back to your content in a snippet of your aggregated content, on any scale and it's identified as a network, potentially medium to low quality I just wonder if it might tip Google to discount, neutralize or even penalize both publishers and advertisers.

Then there's the issue of the content surrounding the links being considered authority.

Also, IMO , the model is really selling links in a round about sort of way isn't it? I mean if you're paying for impressions it equals a sale if someone links back to you as a percentage of impressions. I mean I know folks will argue that it isn't, but it might be interpreted otherwise by Google - and they are the folks one has to second guess as to what is acceptable or not.

It looks less crude than some of the other networks that bit the dust 3-5 years ago, and more sophisticated in intent than existing ones, but I just wonder if these types of setups pass the webmaster guidelines test at Google.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 1:51 pm on Mar 2, 2013 (gmt 0)

I just noticed a press release on Reuters from Federated operated in conjunction with Zemanta - looks pretty big. I just wonder what Google thinks.

“By combining best practices in content marketing and new authoring tools, we will help brands target exceptionally relevant authors and conversations at a scale that was not previously possible,” said Deanna Brown, CEO, Federated Media Publishing. “FMP finds relevant conversations and Zemanta offers authors unique ways to give their content more engagement, greater relevancy and extended reach.”

“The products we create together will bring tangible revenue to independent writers,” said Bostjan Spetic, Zemanta’s CEO and Co-Founder. “We believe this is a major next step in building the blogosphere as an alternative to traditional media.”

[reuters.com...]


... hmmm , still makes me nervous.

Is the editorial choice a publisher exercises without payment, strong enough to be within Google's threshold of not moving the goalposts to redefine "paid" or "networks".

There have been plenty of disqualification in the past with regards to things like reciprocal links, automated footer links , etc etc many without payment and many with editorial choice involved. Some were arguable, others blatant, but in this age of Penguin is it really worth the risk?

martinibuster

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



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 3:13 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Zemanta is partnering with Federated Media to provide a sponsored post advertising opportunity to bloggers. From the few examples I reviewed, they are complying with FTC recommendations for disclosure as well as Google recommendations for not passing PageRank. The links are redirects through a domain that is blocked to bots by a robots.txt, so the links won't pass PageRank. That's Google friendly, white hat and above board.

Zemanta is an authoring tool for Wordpress, a plug-in that helps bloggers in their writing. Federated Media is a company founded by John Battelle, a man who is extremely knowledgeable about Google and who actually wrote a book about Google. He also founded Wired and The Industry Standard.

If anyone is looking for a paid links scheme under the covers they're not going to find it here. I have not done business with either of these two companies, so I don't have a conflict of interest. I would be the first to call BS on it if the aroma was there. But it's not, as far as I can tell.

jakebohall



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 8:00 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

In my experience, Zemanta is a great way to assist in building a natural link profile. You provide them with a feed of content from your site, and they recommend it to publishers authoring "semantically relevant" content.

You pay on an impression model for the recommendations to appear for the bloggers in a list of other recommendations. There is no incentives (that I am aware) for bloggers to use your content over others.

The anchor text of the links is typically the title tag of the page being linked to.

My only issues with this strategy are in the pricing model. Zemanta seems to be above board and in compliance with Google TOS.

With Zemanta in particular (I don't have experience with any of the others), the links are placed in a way that does make them easy to pattern match across sites, but as far as I am aware, there is no duplication of content outside of the anchor text of the link being the same if linked from multiple sites.

phranque

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



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 2:58 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

welcome to WebmasterWorld, jake!

adder

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 8:57 pm on Mar 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would be very careful with these. A while ago I wrote a short PHP script that runs on a huge database of content-based website urls. The script was looking for HTML footprints left by Zemanta and I was able to identify several dozen of sites displaying their shared content box. If I can do this with limited resources, how do you think, can Google do it?

There is a non-reciprocating system called Zemanta that is better. You pay per impression to Zemanta.

@martinibuster, with all due respect, are you sure about this? Maybe they've introduced a new service but the way I see Zemanta is very different from what you described.

over 7m incidents of "Enhanced by xyz " in the Google search results

Exactly, that's a footprint that everyone can see. In addition, many networks also leave hidden footprints like <div>, <span> and other programmatically detectable stuff.

In my experience, Zemanta is a great way to assist in building a natural link profile. You provide them with a feed of content from your site, and they recommend it to publishers authoring "semantically relevant" content.

Yes, that is one of the products. You don't technically pay the blogger. You pay Zemanta for the facility. So, from that perspective, I gues it's ok.

But! There is another product where you put your feed into a large pool and your stories are distributed across partner websites. They get displayed underneath the articles as a block of "related articles". Is that safe? Well, because it is an HTML widget and the links are not nofollow, the short answer is no, it's not safe. And these links are not very high value either because they're hardly contextual. @martinibuster, if this is the product you were refering to, how would Google know that these links are PPC?

If you want to participate in a content network, do it for traffic, not for links. And choose one that distributes content via a JavaScript widget or with nofollow links.

I have used Feedbox (double-check this, I'm not sure it's still whitehat because I haven't used it for a year) and Outbrain for blogs. Mind you, this is not money-traffic. More like browsing traffic, but if you sell stuff that appeals to lolcats and beliebers, you might get something tangible out of these networks.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 10:32 pm on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have used Feedbox (double-check this, I'm not sure it's still whitehat because I haven't used it for a year) and Outbrain for blogs. Mind you, this is not money-traffic. More like browsing traffic, but if you sell stuff that appeals to lolcats and beliebers, you might get something tangible out of these networks.

If the network has that level of scale, then Google will already have assimilated these imho

Even so, I also tend to suspect that these types of networks are easily picked up and may be flagged for low quality, and if the network is large enough, discounted or even penalised.

Matt Cutts demonstrates on this video [youtube.com...] @ 0:47:33 approx as long ago as 2010, of how easy it was for Google to see non contextual content on an overall site, not just a singular blog post which may appear contextual. And he goes on to say again how much Google dislikes the influence of links on these types of sites which often appear unnatural.

Google's capability for non contextual linking identification goes back before 2007 from memory, even if it was more primitive and blatant then.

If you can't control where the content is going on these plug in networks, and folks are linking back in a big way, across an identifiable pattern or footprint of low quality, off topic sites , doesn't that further throw up the possibility of being demoted or penalized?

I mean it's different if you do some PR and some of the folks that link back to you are on topic quality, original and with reputation. How can you control 100,000's of sites.

I mean Pengiun and Panda are an upgrade on previous procedures for attacking low quality content and linking relationships that are outside of tolerance thresholds aren't they [amongst other things].

Can anyone else contribute thoughts on how some of these networks can be managed better and used positively.

martinibuster

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



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 1:48 pm on Mar 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

@martinibuster, with all due respect, are you sure about this?


Yes.

Please read what I and others have posted above. Please don't ask me to repeat myself because that's really what you're asking, whether you mean to or not. Rather than repeat myself, please read what I and others have already posted.

The links are 100% white hat. As has already been posted. The Federated Media/Zemanta links are 100% white hat too because they are redirected and blocked by Robots.txt so that no PageRank is flowed to the linked site. As has already been noted above.

I'm trying to be nice and respectful about this so please you be nice and respectful too. :) Moving along, any further speculation about Zemanta and the Zemanta/Federated Media program that does not contain a factual citation, is not backed up by facts is going to be treated as part of a whisper campaign and dealt with accordingly. Please take a moment to read the facts posted above FIRST if you have something to add about those two programs. This is getting way repetitive because it has already been established that the Zemanta/Federated Media programs are 100% white hat.

adder

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4550040 posted 2:55 pm on Mar 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've never taken part in any speculation or whisper campaigns. My approach to SEO is scientific.

I'm looking at data and facts but right now I'm looking at a certain webpage that has been a publisher for the aforementioned network (pardon, program) and the cluster of outgoing links is VERY far from white hat.

In fact, I wish I could post a link to prove that I'm not indulging in speculation but since it is against ToS, I won't do it.

I may share it via sticky if anyone requests...

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