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More evidence that links pages are dead

Don't ask for recips on link pages

     
9:50 am on Feb 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



So we have done an experiment that I would like to share with you all.

We did recips for years and now our sites have been declining in the serps slightly. Still page one but not position 1 anymore. We bought a load of links from many different sites totally unrelated and saw our rankings shoot up in 10 days and still going. This happened on multiple sites, so it is not a one off fluke.

The conclusive evidence is that related links is not true. Recips are OK, it is more about the structure of the page. i.e lots of links going out with one link coming in to that page looks like a links page, so Google will devalue it.

So you got it? Get rid of your links pages and start getting links on pages with only a few links on them. A link from a directory unless dmoz or yahoo or something is just as worthless.

6:22 am on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Incredibill - have you got related sites? If so is Google showing them as "related:"? I think that's a major factor in the wekaness of link exchange. If you promote your sites together they all appear on the same links pages and get lumped together.
6:28 am on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Also, it seems GG, on his blog, was talking about google implementing anti-spam measures on non-English sites. This is recent and aren't a lot of your sites in other languages than English.
3:36 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Mfishy

"However, it is nearly impossible to talk about any single factor in google without including the actual target DOMAIN in the discussion. The domain/s you are using may be far more important than you think."

You are right. For someone with a new domain, do not bother. You are in the SB until you come out.

"Oh, and crush, can i borrow $100?:

You still owe me $100, thanks for reminding me :)

As for links pages nueron my friend. Forget them. How is easy is it for google to spot "links.htm" "other-resources.htm"

I would guess that the vast majority of site owners are still doing them. I would put it close to 80%. This was the main point of my post. Look at where you are placing the links these days. A link on a long list of links with one link pointing at the links page will be useless.

The more links pointing at the page that the link is placed on will give you more value. I was actually thinking of spamming all my links partners pages to make them more valuable :)

I would think that links embedded in content are king.

This statement is probably the best way to go but what my experiment showed is that even links from Russian langage pages are acceptable for now. It is primarily about the structure of the pages where the links are place.

Finally all the people who stickied me to get the info where you can get these links. please get a life. You think I am going to tell you?

8:57 pm on Feb 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



" I was actually thinking of spamming all my links partners pages to make them more valuable "

Thought that was my idea bro'? Give credit where it's due

5:33 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Links that look organic

What is that supposed to mean? Where I'm from organic means containing carbon.

I wonder if Google's officers read WW. I bet they do. And I bet they get a kick out of stuff like this.

5:50 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"Thought that was my idea bro'? Give credit where it's due"

Ego in the way again :) Sorry Bro. Experiment 2, spam your links partners links pages see if the resulting inbounds help :P

9:53 pm on Feb 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I am no longer accepting link exchanges. I am now writing and publishing articles instead.

I'm wondering at this point if I should do one of 3 things with my existing reciprocal links pages.

Remove all my "resources" links pages alltogether, Manually remove just the bad links, or keep them but put in an exclusion in robots.txt for googlebot. I have already done this for slurp.

12:21 am on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would be more inclined to believe the loss in ranking was due to some more popular reasons for loss of ranking:

1. Your competitors' traffic grew faster and longer than yours.

2. Your competitors updated their site's page more often than you.

3. Your competitors added more pages than you did.

4. Your competitors continued to tweek their seo continually, to fight their way to the top, then maintain it.

5. While your competitors may have worked their site, they increased their keyword density to total page content ratio, while you may have added content, that diluted yours.

There are so many possibities, that without a log of everything you do, and do not do in a year, it is nearly impossible to narrow it down.

Failure to update the site continually, failure to increase the site continually, adding more content to the page that is not as relvant as it should be, are far more likely to be the reason for decline in ranking, than other contributing factors, such as links.

Try keeping a log so you can more accurately trouble shoot problems.

02/20/06
Today I didn't work on the site.

02/21/06
Today I only worked on the main page, and this is what I did...

02/22/06
Today I added the following paragraph to this page ...

02/23/06
Today I added the following link to this page...

02/24/06
Today I saw my competitor changed his template. I didn't work on my site.

02/25/06
Today I saw I was #1 and my competitor was #6. I didn't work on my site.

02/26/06
Today I saw my competitor was #1 and I was #2. I didn't work on my site. (maybe I should have worked on my site on 02/24/06 when my competitor changed his template, updating his entire site, and tweeking his seo.

Like that. Quit guessing.

12:23 am on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



For the last time...there is no Google Sandbox. That has been proven, over and over again.
7:35 am on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What evidence do you have that adding content regularly will increase the rank of your homepage, if that content isn't on the homepage itself? I'm assuming that's your assertion, so forgive me if that's inaccurate.

This has never really computed to me. Rankings are computed on a per-page basis, right? So how would adding a new page of content to a site help a different page (like the homepage) rank higher? I realize it will give a very modest boost if that new page of content has a link in the footer or a margin back to the homepage, but that alone can't really make a noticeable difference in rankings, can it? Somebody enlighten me!

Oh, and to keep this on-topic a bit, I've seen that Yahoo seems to have de-valued recips more recently, while Google has for some time. MSN is still easy to game with recips, in my experience, but it's a bit tougher (probably due to sheer volume of pages they index now).

12:02 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Failure to update the site continually, failure to increase the site continually, adding more content to the page that is not as relvant as it should be, are far more likely to be the reason for decline in ranking, than other contributing factors, such as links.

I don't buy that. It's true for some types of search terms but not for others. I own what I'd call a very stale site - a dozen tweaks a year - that has drifted into the number one spots for several competitive search terms for which it was optimised in 2003. 40 pages of good content, no link building since 2003.

1:48 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



40 pages of good content, no link building since 2003.

Three years of historical value at work. ;)

8:10 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Might lend credence to the notion that old links are 'worth' more in the SE algos. Just one variable among many, though.
9:30 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



MsHuggy,

Time to go back to newbie SEO School:

You said,

"I would be more inclined to believe the loss in ranking was due to some more popular reasons for loss of ranking:

1. Your competitors' traffic grew faster and longer than yours.

2. Your competitors updated their site's page more often than you."

Both of those are newbie like statements. Traffic has nothing to do with ranking, and updates to a site can be good or bad, not inherently good.

Then you said,

" For the last time...there is no Google Sandbox. That has been proven, over and over again.

Which has never, and can not be proven by anyone except google. That is why it is a theory.

9:49 pm on Feb 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Traffic has nothing to do with ranking, and updates to a site can be good or bad, not inherently good.

Can I rephrase that?

Traffic has a lot to do with ranking. Updates to a site are typically inherently good, not bad.

Traffic has a lot to do with ranking in today's algos. Toolbar data and all sorts of other click data are taken into account. ;)

Hopefully any changes made to a site are for the good and are inherently good and not bad.?

7:02 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



For the last time...there is no Google Sandbox. That has been proven, over and over again.

Call it what you will, it's present for more competitive keywords. How has this been proven time and time again? Show us your evidence.

1. Your competitors' traffic grew faster and longer than yours.

2. Your competitors updated their site's page more often than you."

Both of those are newbie like statements. Traffic has nothing to do with ranking, and updates to a site can be good or bad, not inherently good.

Unforunately disagreeing with these statements shows the lack of homework you have done in respect to the Google patent, whether you believe it or not.

To say that these elements are wrong is to explicitly disagree that Google is tracking user data, click trhoughs and traffic to sites to rank, as well as document freshness.

Is this what you are saying?

8:16 am on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



It is obvious that some search engines are filtering out link pages from their results such as Yahoo. Just do a search for inurl:links.html and you will see that Yahoo is clearly filtering links pages.

Google lists the links pages but probably doesn't rank them or pass PR from the pages as much as they could.

MSN indexes anything and everything and fast too. The MSN engine is way faster at indexing and is fresher and in spite of it's small problem with spam is a way better engine than Yahoo and Google's engine. Google should learn from MSN.

7:47 am on Mar 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Something very few newbies understand is the way that search engines can apply their algo's. I believe once you have gained that knowledge you will always guess about what is working and what not. I want to ask a counter question about this topic.

Does authoritive sites ever link to one another? If a university paper links to my site, will I link to it? When does a reciprocal link loose value? The truth is we cannot say with absolute clarity. We do know though that Historical rank are in play and there seems to be signs of TrustRank being in play as well. Another we know is that Google does apply some sort of sandbox to certain sites. However there can be many factors that keeps the sandbox in tact. It can be the age of the site, backlinks or lack thereof, less than frequent updates,... blah blah blah.

My issue with this "factual" posts is that I actually took some time reading the thread. Because I do agree with the header and thought... eventually, more evidence that TrustRank are in play! Imagine my dissapointment when it is actually a flaming thread with very little facts.

12:41 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I stopped exchanging links 2 years ago but still have my links page. My site still ranks very much the same in a competitive market.

Most of my internal pages are pr3 to pr4. I'm considering adding 2 pages of fresh content pointing to each pr3 & pr4 page. Will this internatl linking help those old pages or could it cause a negative effect in ranking.

sounds crazy, nervous to add content

1:09 am on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>>>sounds crazy, nervous to add content

I think at some point, everything thinks the "if it ain't broken don't fix it" thing... I decided a while ago that I was doing what was best for my sites and users and let the chips fall where they may.

3:16 pm on Mar 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



A conversation between Rani and his imaginary Mom :

Mom: "What's up with you Rani? You havn't exchanged a single link for a week now.You will never make it to page #1 on the SERP's if you continue slacking off like this."

Rani: "What do you want me to do? Nobody wants to link to my website naturally.On one hand i am too lazy to create original content.On the other hand i don't want to participate in artificial link schemes to boost my ranking.It's against Google guidelines.Google will nail me for it."

Mom: "Stop whinning.Everybody does it.In the worst case you get nailed,fall and start all over again."

Rani: "Yeah,but Crush said that links pages have no value anymore.He knows.He did some serious experimentation."

Mom: "Crush,Crush,Crush.I don't want to hear one more word about Crush.Stand up strait,pick up that phone and call that nice website over there and ask politely for a link exchange.These are nice people,good neighborhood,lots of money.You be a good boy now..."

7:30 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



This is bad news for directories.
And I am convinced you are correct.

However I am still building directories!

Consider this hypothetically. It is sound logically

Everything has an opposite.
Good........Evil
Rich........Poor

If there is Trust Rank there must be Suspicion rank
TR..........SR
Therefore my guess is that if you spout out unrelated links, you are dead in SERPS.

And that is what is killing serps, not the outbound,
but the fact that they are wasting the googlebots time
by making it follow them to a site that isn't of similar content. If it were I think you would be rewarded, with TR.

If you spout out good related links that are useful,
this is good and will not affect your serps.

7:42 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Rani you are too funny man!

Just get links from anywhere but a links page. Does not matter if it is on topic or not. The page can be in Hindu, Hebrew, Chinese or English.

Google engineer "how do we stop all these asses swapping links"

engineer 2 " well we can devalue. links.htm.html that should take care of 80% of it"

Engineer 1"<butthead type laugh> yeah coool, huh"

8:47 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



In an attempt to dispell the myth that link pages do not generate PR I checked several of my client's link pages that have their link pages named "links.html" (these are all PR 5 or 4 sites on home page):

#1 PR 4
#2 PR 4
#3 PR 3
#4 PR 4
#5 PR 3
#6 PR 3
#7 PR 4
#8 PR 3
#9 PR 3
#10 PR 3
#11 PR 3

9:02 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



pr means squat....g can still devalue them
9:40 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



No one is disputing that a links page can increase your PR.
What crusher means is that these #123
456789 etc'PR does diddly for your SERPS!
There must be an alogo that reduces this effectiveness
especially where ranking is concerned.
I nicknamed the algo SR above ^^^^^ since it is regarding this PR with suspicion.
3:32 am on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Well I tested the link page theory on a few new sites.

The first website I made is totally white hat and I traded links with over 600 websites with link directories within a 3 month period. That site achieved a PR4 on this PR update but still doesn't rank anywhere for it's main keyword. Internal pages get traffic for 3-5 word phrases.

Another site I built (white hat), I traded about 50-60 links with other sites within the same 3 months (slowly) and got a PR2 on this PR update. Home page does not rank for it's keyword but internal pages get over 1,000 visits a day. The site is the same age as the first site.

So I built a scraper directory site the same time as the first two just to see what would happen. I traded as many links as I could with that site which was about 160-180 within the 3 months and the site did real good like the second site where the internal pages got tons of traffic for 4-5 word phrases. But in the second month the site got completely banned from google and yahoo.

I got curious as to why the third site got banned so I built a couple test sites and it seems that the internal linking structure I was using was causing the ban because of the keywords I was using for the categories.

For example, I would have a shopping category that would have many links to other categories with the keyword "shopping" in the anchor text in my navigation column like this.

online shopping
outlet shopping
retail shopping
discount shopping
shopping center mall
shopping cart
florist retail shopping
shopping center
shopping mall
home shopping
comparison shopping
music shopping
clothes shopping

Those links would link to other categories with links on them.

Well apparently that is a big problem with google because it looks like doorway pages or something like that? Or it could look like keyword stuffing to the bot?

Anyway, I built two websites to test a theory I had. One site I built with the keywords in the links like the above example and another site I built with just the secondary word. So instead of "Clothes Shopping" in the anchor text of the internal navigation links, I would just put "Clothes".

Needless to say, The second site was not banned but the first one that used the main keyword in the links (e.g. "Shopping Cart") was banned.

So my advise is not to build a site about "widgets" and then link to internal pages with "red widgets", "blue widgets", "yellow widgets" etc... It looks to me like this raises a big red flag. This could explain why some white hat websites are getting banned and they have no idea why.

6:03 am on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



So my advise is not to build a site about "widgets" and then link to internal pages with "red widgets",

I think you mean to say :"So my advise is not to build a link directory about "widgets" and then link to internal pages with "red widgets".

Am i correct?

6:32 am on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yes I mean a link directory or any thing else. Basically any kind of site navigation that looks like that could possibly trip the spam or over optimization or keyword stuffing filter.

I don't know what filter is doing it but there is definately one that automatically bans a website for linking internally like that.

I had a Shopping site get banned for the same thing about a year ago but didn't realize what it was that caused it until now.

6:53 am on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I can't believe anyone even wanted to sit down and write a response in this thread. WOW! ... and yet here I am! :)

How many of you actually use or visit links pages ... that is to say if you aren't looking for links to your own site?

Links pages are a thing of the past! If they aren't ... they soon will be. They serve NO purpose whatsover other than to placate "hungry" webmasters scrounging links from any source they can find and sad "atta boys" from others with like minded (and flawed) marketing strategies.

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