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Fiction: Joining a link exchange or "free-for-all" link program will boost my rankings.
I am fortunate to have many directories in my industry. I can submit to them, they review the site, and I'm listed with them. How is that different from a FFA in the eyes of Google? How does Google know the difference? How does Google know a site that isn't DMOZ but has thousands of outgoing links isn't a FFA?
200 links on one page, no real content, links on page go to some junk websites
200 links with 10 on each page (20 pages total), broken down by category, real content on pages, links are to related sites that are quality, not junk
I'd think that Google could tell the difference between the two. Everyone's goal is to be more like Website 2, rather than Website 1.
It is my belief, from reading the posts here, that as long as you are not giving a reciprocal link you should be fine. As many have pointed out in various threads it would be to easy to have your competition penalized by submitting their sites.
They can have up to 3 or 4 directories in some cases, all linked together.
Is this a new trend among SEO's? Create Directories so you can have control of that ever elusive PR?
I'm guessing these go in the same category as mentioned by anallawalla, its up to the poor guys at the other end of the spam report form :)
I am not sure that using this as an SEO tool is good for anything except maybe getting googlebot to see new sites...