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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.


9:50 am on Mar 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

eyezshine,thanks for sharing the results of your experiments.I find it very interesting.But i am still not
sure about your conclusions.There are just too many different parameters to the equation.

For example:the big shopping link directory that you describe.What is the general theme of the website where this link directory was hosted?


4:08 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The shopping website was a gift shop with products etc. Originally I used Zeus reciprocal link software which worked great 4 years ago but my link directory got so big I switched to links 2.0 which helped alot and automated most of the link trades.

But I got crazy with the links 2.0 directory and began creating thousands of categories using the overture keyword suggestion tool for the category names. I also used SSI to put search results on the category pages so that there would be content on all the pages. When someone added a link to a category, the search results were automatically replaced with the reciprocal links instead using <<if>> and <<if not>> commands in the template.

That worked awesome for about 2 years and I made most of my money from showing Fastclick banners on the pages because Adsense did not exist back then.

After Adsense came out I made a small fortune from that site and another one I built similar to it except it was just a directory only.

Then one day, Thursday, July 28, 2005 to be exact according to my adsense stats, those sites got completely banned and never came back to this day even though I submitted many reinclusion requests to google.

It hit me pretty hard going from lots of money to no money in one day but luckily I don't depend on the internet like I have seen alot of people do.

So sinse that day I have been building test sites over and over trying to figure out what caused the ban and I have finally come to the conclusion that it is the internal category links causing the bans.

Google looks at it as keyword stuffing or spam. Even adsense does not like that kind of category structure and they personally said to keep it under 10 categories per page.

I have found that google itself does not ban a site with 6 or less categories per page but they will ban a site with more than that. I have also tested a site with over 80 categories per page that didn't get banned because it didn't use the keyword of the page in the anchor text of the links.

And that is how I came to that conclusion.


7:23 am on Mar 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

wow! that internal linking thing sounds interesting.
however, I see lots of sites in my niche that use a lot of keyword stuffing in internal links.
wondering how it goes if i put synonyms into internal links. for example, instead of the word: cars, i would put: cars, vehicles...
will google find them in the same keyword range and possibly penalize?

BTW. that sounds a bit crazy to me. all usability experts advise to make all links as clear as possible, so that user does not have to think about what they clicks. Deleting the keyword from the internal link sounds a bit stupid then.
If I have a site about cars, and instead of "red cars" category I put just "red" category, my user will definitely get lost on the page.


4:00 am on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, if you think about it, Google really likes DMOZ and if you search through DMOZ you will notice that they allmost never use the page keyword in any of their internal links and when they do, there are not very many of them maybe 5 at the most and there are other words in the links too like in the related categories.

This could be why they allow up to 6 internal links with the main page keyword in them but more than that will get you a ban or penalty. So that sites like DMOZ won't get banned but others that abuse the keyword will.

You just got to remember that google is trying to figure out how to fight spammers algorythmically without wiping out the good sites and they do that by studying the charicteristics of the good sites and the bad sites looking for patterns. Then all they have to do is draw a line in the sand so to speak and create an algo that watches for pages that step across that line. It also looks like that algo is not done until after the site is indexed and ranking because the sites I built did good for about a month before they were banned.

Also another thing is, all the sites that got banned by google were also banned by Yahoo for the same thing probably. It seems like when google does something, Yahoo does the same thing shortly after. MSN on the other hand has not banned any of the test sites I ever built.

It does look to me like MSN ranks a web page very well as long as it is increasing it's links to that page. But if the page stops increasing it's link popularity the page tends to drop it's ranking slowly while other pages from other sites increase their link popularity. MSN does not rank the same as google. Each individual page on your site needs links pointing to it to rank well in MSN. Whereas in google, your home page PR causes your internal pages to recieve PR which causes your internal pages to rank higher which is why Google's ranking method is so much better for webmasters because you just need to build links to your home page to get the rest of your pages to rank well.

It's also better for searchers because they can do a search on google and find the internal pages of a website with the content they need instead of only finding pages with the most pages linking to them. If you do a search on MSN you will notice alot of home pages ranking where on google you will see alot more internal pages ranking.

Also on MSN, all links seem to be created equal. Whereas with Google one link from a PR6 page can give you a PR4-5. With MSN they just count the amount of links a page has and rank it accordingly. Also MSN only counts a link from a site once so that site wide links won't help a page on MSN. I think Google is moving thatway also.

I should write a book! HAHAHA!


11:00 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Slow down, this is important!
So if I had a directory of e.g.
the UK and on that page had internal links that offered
Wales and for example on the Scotland page had a link that said
cheap car hire
that could get me banned?


11:41 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Also on MSN, all links seem to be created equal. Whereas with Google one link from a PR6 page can give you a PR4-5. With MSN they just count the amount of links a page has and rank it accordingly.

Definitely untrue. I have a site in a very competitive niche and for the most competitive search term in that entire niche (30,000 searches per day), my site ranks #1 at MSN. And it has a very low inbound link count. Much much fewer than virtually every other page in the top 10. The difference is most of the IBL's to my site are high quality, meaning they are on pages with content that is closely related to my site's topic and there aren't a bunch of other links to dilute mine. MSN seems to care a lot more about on-page content and the relevance and number of links on the pages where you have your IBL's. I see this same pattern across many niches.


12:34 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


MSN's ranking method is definately more complex that it looks on the surface. They take into account not only link growth (popularity) of your pages but also the freshness of the pages. If your page stays updated all the time, it will rank a little higher than a page that hasn't been updated in a long time. If your page is getting new links to it, it will rank a little higher than a page that doesn't get many links.

They also use anchor text in the links pointing at your page from other pages to rank you so that is why a page with fewer links can outrank a page with many links similar to the way a pr1 can outrank a PR6 on google.


1:33 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

can you guys prove that about MSN?


4:03 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm too tired to prove anything. I just wanted to help people because I am tired of webmasters getting banned from google and other engines and not knowing why? It seems like they should at least tell us in a little more detail the things that will cause a site to get banned instead of ripping our hard earned income out from under us causing people to lose their jobs suddenly.

I have seen so many people on webmasterworld telling their story about how they had to lay off many people because they lost their ranking in the serp's and couldn't afford to pay their employees and if I can help some people keep that from happening to them then I am happy.

I had a friend that had a business that went bankrupt (Not Internet) and he killed himself because it was too much for him I guess. I think he took the chicken way out but it does hurt other people (family) when that happens.

So, I try to help as much as I can when I have time. As for proof, to the best of my knowlege what I said in the posts before are true to me. Believe it, or not....


8:24 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

No one outside of the engine's employees can prove anything about their ranking criteria. I base what I wrote on my own observations of my network of sites. Obviously, that isn't authoritative, only anecdotal.
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