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Cross-linking filter implemented?

   
12:19 am on Jun 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



When the last update went live a group of heavily cross-linked sites in our theme came from nowhere to dominate the serps not only in our geographical area, but right accross the board for searches relating to nearly every European country.

48 hours ago it was relegated heavily, and just when I thought it was really gone, a few minutes ago it returned.

Anyone else seeing this with huge cross-linked networks? I have a feeling Google is tuning their cross-link spam filter and they haven't quite decided where to set it yet.

P.S it needs to be more severe GG ;) - turn up the power!

3:04 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Doesn't look like spam to me. Looks like good SEO. Correction....all of those sites are PR7? Great SEO!

I MIGHT AGREE > I guess contacting each site owners in turn and asking why they have a some wierd links on their site might get the response you are are looking for e.g. "I AM REMOVING THOSE LINKS YOU PLACE ON MY SITE and oh BTW YOU'RE FIRED!

NOTE: assuming each site owner isn't informed of the tactic.

3:07 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Far be it from me to side with an SEO operator, but . . . looks like good SEO, not spam, to me.

Hey, don't webdesigners, webhosts and other sorts of affiliates leave their hyperlinked tag all over sites they've had their paws on all the time?

And hey, looks like a legitimate way to draw new customers. After all -- it worked.

3:19 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Did they also do the site design or part of it?

Are the links visible?

If yes to both then what's the problem? :)

If web designers cannot put tiny but visible links on the footer of the pages (or at least one page) then we'd have few links.

On the page that is linked to, is it SEO focused?

As a client- I wouldn't want my competitors to know who helped me out. But if the sites agreed to it...well, that's the way the cookie crumbles.

In the end, if the site owner agreed the links were Ok (and they are visible) then it's Valid SEO strategy.

Regards,

AW

3:39 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hmmm wierd links at the bottom of every page you say? Somewhat like the "BestBBS v3.11" link at the bottom of every WW page? :)
4:01 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Sorry guys/girls, but I don't see how a site suddenly having 17,000 links it didn't "earn" can be a good thing for the user, given what we all know about the power of links. I'm not naive, I realize in many cases this is what SEOs do, so perhaps spam is good SEO these days. In some cases its a fine line, but I know what I think about this strategy and I'm content to let Google pass their own judgement. I suspect they're even more hardline on this kind of thing than me.

Did they also do the site design or part of it?

In many cases, no, the only "optimization" performed was including the client site in the crosslinking scheme. The links are chromatically visible, though very small.

4:01 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Dolemite

This is the exact kind of site that I reported to google a month or so back.
Basically a ring of sites with the only thing relating them is the web designer.
Now for these websites all of the links are hidden at the bottom with trans 1x1 gifs.
The kicker is after a couple weeks Google finally penalized them with a greybar and out of the index...for 9 days and then they where back at #1 in SERPS.

I guess a hidden crosslink scheme is legit when it comes to what Google considers spam. Sign me up ;)

4:33 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hmmm wierd links at the bottom of every page you say? Somewhat like the "BestBBS v3.11" link at the bottom of every WW page? :)

A single link to the BBS developer or the web site designer is one thing. Links to other (unrelated) BBS's that use the same software, or other (unrelated) Web sites designed by the same company, are something else.

5:09 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




Who are you to say whether or not the links are good for the user or not? If you think its spam than go ahead and report it and we'll let Google decide.

I think you are just jealous that your competitor is ranking better than you.

If I were you Id call that SEO that your competitor is using and hire them.

5:26 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This reminds me of the Classic Oilman definition of Spam

There are 10 places to get. If your competitor is no 1 you can be no 2. The SEO is good IMHO bcoz he is using each page and not Link pages to give links. To all those who advocate Related Links I would like to tell it is good for ranking Purpose but I as an Individual can link to any Unrelated site I want :)

6:30 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Sorry guys/girls, but I don't see how a site suddenly having 17,000 links it didn't "earn" can be a good thing for the user, given what we all know about the power of links.

But they did earn it buy getting all that business in the first place. I bet they gave a "discount" for placing links on the page or perhaps told the site owener's it was a good thing for them to do.

E-mail a few sites just asking if they agreed to the link.

What's the text of the link? Just curious.

AW

6:32 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



And here lies the keys with Staza and mil2k posts.

Remember that the ultimately authority on "what spam is" is that of the dis-interested search engine users/visitors not a competitor.

The first thing I do on all sites is remove that bleedy "links page" as it really has no purpose. I then add those outgoing links to the most appropriate page they can be on.

If no appropriate page exists - either develop a new "related" page or dump the link.

In addition - each page of a site gets "link to this page (and easy to insert code)" and (request a link) plus seeking out link exchanges, new directories, etc. It does not take long to over-power less desirable strategies (that as we all say - are irrelevant links).

As to the cross-linking strategy > sure report it > but beyond that there is no reason to continue dwelling on it > get your own strategy in gear instead.

Ultimately the "client" paid for services and the SEO is servicing and although you may not like how this effects your positioning - the strategy is obviously much more effective than yours.

Also note: regardless of whether Google reduces the effectiveness of this strategy or not, or whether each client is aware of the risks > getting rid of this does not change your problem > as I am quite certain many more strategies will take its place and push you further down than where you are.

Concentrating on improving your site will keep you at the top > reducing the effectiveness of others will not. There is always room to improve and your competitive edge will not be found by contemplating someone elses advantage.

8:25 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Ultimately the "client" paid for services and the SEO is servicing and although you may not like how this effects your positioning - the strategy is obviously much more effective than yours.

Why are you attacking my strategies...which you know nothing about?

Just because I see problems with how this particular strategy is rewarded doesn't mean I'm hurting. I'm doing fine and definitely taking pleasure in knowing I'll be around when these guys are PR0'd.

Concentrating on improving your site will keep you at the top > reducing the effectiveness of others will not. There is always room to improve and your competitive edge will not be found by contemplating someone elses advantage.

I disagree. I plan to protect my SERPs from this sort of thing...and learn something even from methods I can't endorse.

Also note: regardless of whether Google reduces the effectiveness of this strategy or not, or whether each client is aware of the risks > getting rid of this does not change your problem > as I am quite certain many more strategies will take its place and push you further down than where you are.

Sure, there will always be ways to exploit automated systems, but as long as Google keeps improving their detection systems and the spam reports keep flowing, I can only see the situation improving.

Its not my problem, its theirs.

8:55 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Why are you attacking my strategies...which you know nothing about?

Not attacking anything Dolemite, nor am I implying anything either.

Just alternative suggestions. Obviously the other strategy is a concern... it's easier to see a bigger picture if you are on the other side of the fence so put yourself in their position not just your own... You'll see more.

I'm doing fine and definitely taking pleasure in knowing I'll be around when these guys are PR0'd.

What if they are "not" PR0ed? What if Google sees value in their core site content and contact them before any action is taken, and then they alter they tactics to be far less conspicuous or much more visitor appealing and beneficial... (this does happen) thereby you have successfully helped them out to improve... right?

What if others come along and develop a similar strategy (believe me there are a few 100 totally unrecognizable and very beneficial strategies that in no way shape or form be intrepreted as spam... what then?

I disagree. I plan to protect my SERPs from this sort of thing... and learn something even from methods I can't endorse.

My personal thoughts here... "you can't protect your SERPs, they are not yours to protect... they're Google's SERPs" Google is at the controls. In addition, I see spam (or what I define as spam) all the time but never report it. IMO that's Google's job to labor over and concern themselves with spam not mine. Incidentially, Google does not define spam as I, or you do and therefore like I previously noted a "tactic" or "technique" does not define a site... thus Google will use their influence to say...

"Hey guy, nice site, you should change this however"... and you won't be the wiser, and never know.

Sure, there will always be ways to exploit automated systems, but as long as Google keeps improving their detection systems and the spam reports keep flowing, I can only see the situation improving.

Its not my problem, its theirs.

Agree... but who gets paid here, Google or you for doing their job?

You can't protect what you don't control... yes > learn from it, so that you can become better, but honestly even if the site does get penalized in the future... do you really believe they will just pack up shop (both competitior and the SEO) and become monks living in Alaska... they will be back, and even better than before... at your expense.

IMHO only.

9:20 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



this looks spammy to me.

However..
there is nothing you can do about it.

just check out
[internet.com...] - doing the same thing for thousends of netword site.
[about.com...] - same network.

you may argue that some of the links are related, but what i tell you is, there is still quite a number of them is un-related.

so, in conclusion.

i would say this is a "GOOD SEO", as long it makes sense and you don't abuse it.

i would love to see what google gonna do about this. "nothing" i say.

------>googleguy. what do you say about this?

9:23 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The first thing I do on all sites is remove that bleedy "links page" as it really has no purpose. I then add those outgoing links to the most appropriate page they can be on.

If no appropriate page exists - either develop a new "related" page or dump the link.

Think about this. It is the Future. I am a Big fan of this idea. It is easy to make link pages and difficult to implement this strategy especially for ecommerce sites. As a real fan of this strategy you will always find my post below fathom's encouraging this strategy. :)

10:07 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



What if they are "not" PR0ed? What if Google sees value in their core site content and contact them before any action is taken, and then they alter they tactics to be far less conspicuous or much more visitor appealing and beneficial... (this does happen) thereby you have successfully helped them out to improve... right?

I don't mind if they don't get penalized, as long as they play reasonably fair and compete using real content and organic link strategies.

What if others come along and develop a similar strategy (believe me there are a few 100 totally unrecognizable and very beneficial strategies that in no way shape or form be intrepreted as spam... what then?

I don't agree. The google algorithm itself hasn't changed much from its first incarnation, IMO. The basic formula for good rankings is much the same, and not likely to change drastically, as I see it.

You will always be able to check backlinks and recognize patterns. This particular SEO didn't make much attempt to camouflage his work so it was easy to spot, but even subtler strategies are easy enough to identify.

My personal thoughts here... "you can't protect your SERPs, they are not yours to protect... they're Google's SERPs" Google is at the controls. In addition, I see spam (or what I define as spam) all the time but never report it. IMO that's Google's job to labor over and concern themselves with spam not mine.

...who gets paid here, Google or you for doing their job?

You can't protect what you don't control... yes > learn from it, so that you can become better, but honestly even if the site does get penalized in the future... do you really believe they will just pack up shop (both competitior and the SEO) and become monks living in Alaska... they will be back, and even better than before... at your expense.

The reality is that I can get paid for protecting "my" SERPs. If I can benefit and help improve the index, that's enough to convince me. And no, I don't expect them to all give up and pursue hand modeling careers, but these sort of tactics don't strike me as being terribly imaginative, so I don't think I'll worry about their next scheme.

10:15 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



bit off topic, but i just thought fathom's point

The first thing I do on all sites is remove that bleedy "links page" as it really has no purpose. I then add those outgoing links to the most appropriate page they can be on.

If no appropriate page exists - either develop a new "related" page or dump the link.

In addition - each page of a site gets "link to this page (and easy to insert code)" and (request a link) plus seeking out link exchanges, new directories, etc. It does not take long to over-power less desirable strategies (that as we all say - are irrelevant links).

is a real gem and something that needed emphasising *again*

cheers fathom!

10:20 am on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member fathom is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Ya > a client use to advertise a full page spread and on the cover of various catalogues at $40K a pop > talk about spam.

Now they use cheap spam.

hmmm... if a bunch of competitors got together and developed a massive ON-TOPIC crosslinking strategies between them (much the same as competitiors all advertising in the same catalogue) > that would really kick some butt.

12:19 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)



Ultimately the "client" paid for services and the SEO is servicing and although you may not like how this effects your positioning - the strategy is obviously much more effective than yours.

It's an artificial linking strategy, though, and Google doesn't like artificial patterns that skew its search results. Nor does it like the buying and selling of PageRank--which is what's happening if an SEO firm offers PR-building crosslinks as a service to its clients.

IMHO, this is a perfect example of why PageRank inevitably will become a less important factor in Google's algorithm unless it's combined with theming and other safeguards against linking that exists only to transfer PR.

12:52 pm on Jun 10, 2003 (gmt 0)



Please go read Google's info on this:

[google.com...]

Links which are visible of any kind are not true spam, however the use of such links in a way meant to deceive Google into assigning false page rank is considered spammy.

It is likely however, especially with the next update, that more and more Google will attempt to root out this second type of spammy link conglomerations, as these are currently (well at least before the last update which has become bizarre) the main cause of dodgy results in hogh competition keyword areas (please please dont anyone say who cares about them - surfers do! That's why they use those words!) however banning, is unlikely, non-consideration of these particular links is more likely ie wont harm the sites, but wont help the sites either.

If I design sites for or work with fifteen thousand clients and they all link back to me, so what? If their sites are keyword related to mine then that will help me lots, if not then a little.

if I have two hundred interlinked domains, then in that case there is an obvious potentila case of trying to trick the Google algo, or at least improving PR simply by virtue of those multiple domains.

It is likely I would imagine that before long Googleguy will be proudly announcing their new algo/spam filtering will be fair to 'trying too hard with links' webmasters but will be making sure as far as they can that these webmasters do not benefit from the techniques.

Site conglomerations (ie multiple domains all linked up as a group) are possible to spot with the right algos, even if they mix their links up, long conglomeration 'threads' as opposed to 'bundles' can still be spotted ie five link to five link to ten link to - bundles and threads can be pictured in the minds eye, equally there are mathematical principles that can root these out.

Currently Googles biggest problem is differentiating good links from bad, spam or not, but I bet that's what much of this update is about.

My odds are 2.1 Googleguy tells us that virtually all 'hidden' type spam is eliminated by the next updates, and multi-domain conglomerates will no longer benefit from such artificial page rank practises, though not a banning offence.

Lets, hope so.

10:16 am on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



I've split my informational site about widgets up into various sub domains:

history.widgets.com
future.widgets.com
manufacturing.widgets.com
etc.

The navigation on each page includes a link to all the other sub domains (necessarily full URL), which I'd not worry about if they were in fact widgets.com/history widgets.com/future, etc. but being subdomains, will I get crosslinking penalties?

note:
I have a reasonable PR on www.widgets.com homepage and white bar PR0 on all other pages, however they are too new to have got past the dominic fiasco.

10:34 am on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



vince,

crosslinking related subdomains (canonicals) is perfectly legit to a certain degree ... alltough it should be done very carefully and layed out wisely. Some questions necessary to get answered before further discussion can be made:

- how many canonicals do you use?
- how many UNIQUE pages run under each of them?
- are there any duplications (even partially) across them?
- how closely targeted are the pages to the canonical theme?
- are the canonicals primary for structuring / themeing?
- do the canonicals make sense to your visitors?

11:08 am on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



- how many canonicals do you use?
at present 4, but i plan to expand in future, but never more than 8.

- how many UNIQUE pages run under each of them?
15-25 unique pages average under each, this is of course a figure that is likely to increase

- are there any duplications (even partially) across them?
The template is very similar, but the content is different. I have tried to take care to ensure that where pages are used by more than one canonical they use a fully qualified url to a single location.

- how closely targeted are the pages to the canonical theme?
The pages are very closely targeted to the canonical theme.

- are the canonicals primary for structuring / themeing?
The industry targeted has various sub-specialisms and these are targeted by each canonical. That is to say, someone specialised in specialism A will find A.widgets.com highly relevant.

- do the canonicals make sense to your visitors?
Yes, I believe that the primary reason for them is to help visitors. They are descriptively named and include brief descriptions of the content of each canonical.

11:17 am on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Whilst I can see your point, wouldn't it make more sense to have:

www.widgets.com/manufacturing
www.widgets.com/future

etc?

That way PR is kept within one domain and people are better at remembering www.widgets.com/future as opposed to future.widgets.com [I think]

11:29 am on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



vincevincevince,

sounds pretty perfect to me - i'd go for it ... in fact i allready do;).

only one small concern left: i feel that the more canonicals you use, the more risky the thing will get. Me personally, i don't run more than 4 canonicals per domain ... however, stay really targeted and think about using different templates and different navigational structure without confusing the users.

Unfortunalety paynt resigned as a mod recently - she's been the voice of canonical usage here. However, there are plenty of great discussions and suggetions about the use of canonicals at the forum Link Development [webmasterworld.com]!

3:35 pm on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



Thanks Netizen and Yidaki. It's good to know Yidaki that you use a similar scheme without having problems with Google.
3:38 pm on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



you're welcome vince - feel free to ask again if you run into further questions while you develop your structure. Good luck!
3:58 pm on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



No problem, vincevincevince - just differences in personal preferences. There are older and wiser heads around than mine too :-)
8:05 pm on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



however, be [webmasterworld.com] carefull with crosslinking ...

mods, i'm ashamed, but i'm in a good mood and life's sometimes risky ... ;)

8:24 pm on Jun 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The power of the dark side...
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