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SEO company claims that my out bound links are hurting my directory?

link juice, outbound links, directories, directory

8:09 pm on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I have a local directory and of course I have lots of outbound links now the SEO company is claiming that this is harming our SEPR.

This is the recommendation I received from them can any one clarify please!

Before adding links on the home page or any category pages we need to redirect the outbound link through java script code. We are sharing our link juice with different websites. I would recommend you to add our website link on all your partner website on their home page. It should be text link since this would enhance our position in search engines. You need to use different keywords for different website. You can convey them the message that our website will help their business since their website is listed on their directory. For example Godday, Ebay or any merchant account or payment gateway does.

They asked my programer to do a link cloacking?
8:12 pm on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I think this black-or-white perception of a directory with outbound links is naive on the part of the SEO company.

It's understandable that they have this perception, because the historical PageRank algorithm would have functioned in this manner. With the old PageRank, linking out more than you are linked-to might have indeed resulted in you retaining less PageRank than ideal.

HOWEVER, there's quite a few things which have been added to Google's algorithm over time. For one thing, search engines have long considered both Hubs and Authorities to be generally good types of websites. An Authority is linked-to by well-known Hubs and related topic sites. A Hub links out to good-quality sites.

So, your site sounds like a Hub. In that respect, it's not bad at all that it links out to other websites.

Further, Google has indicated that it's a bit suspicious or undesirable for a site to *not* link out.

If your SEO company's advice were sound, then directory sites like DMOZ would have zero PageRank, because they likely link out a lot more than they're linked-to.

So, here's my recommendation (as someone who managed a very large local info directory):

- If you have a process to check the outbound links in your directory to make sure they're good quality (not #*$!, not malware, not errors, not expired domains), then link out to them using simple, plain links. If your site is an information resource, doing this will show you are a good quality site.

- If you don't check pages you link-to, and don't validate the links on a periodic basis to make sure they haven't gone defunct, you could add Nofollow to the links. This is precisely what the Nofollow protocol was developed to address. This would say that you merely do not endorse the pages you link-to.

- Your SEO company is recommending that you use a somewhat arcane method to trick search engines into leaving ranking weight within your site rather than transfer it outside. Being too greedy in this way may have you undermining your goals, since Google indicates that sites which don't link out at all may appear suspect. It's more desirable to build your site to appear natural, well-formed, and of high quality than to appear to be trying to manipulate PageRank overmuch. Overdoing it is called "over optimization", and it's considered riskier.

Building well and naturally will be more sustainable over the longterm.
8:59 pm on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks alot Silvery for this informative reply. This was my main thoughts as well, to focus on presenting a high quality website which derives traffic. When they argued that the outbound links are harming my SEPR the example of the DMOZ jumped to my mind, it is good that I seeked the advise of an expert.

If you aproved what they are saying then I whole idea of a directory will be screwed up and I have to close it.

However, as inbound links are very valuable, I will try to make some listings link back and give them the listing for free.
8:52 am on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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EH, Silvery is spot on. I too managed a large directory with thousands of outbound links and hardly any deep links coming in. (Lots to the home page) The home page is still PR8 and the lower level pages show a spread of PR.

However, I think your SEO is also referring to text links on your home page that go to other directories, i.e. a reciprocal link arrangement. Depending on the placement of such links, they may look like paid links and a no-follow might be advisable. For links on category pages, a clean link to them is fine, but those pages might get greybarred.