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Are People Abandoning Link Exchanges?

Is the "I will link to you if you link to me" game over?

     
11:42 pm on Dec 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



With all of what happened with the Florida update, I'd like to know if people are still linking to each other as much as before, or is this a thing of the past?

Are any of you guys removing your links pages? I've read in some forums that many people have removed them, since Google will probably abandon that anyway, if it's not done already.

When you think about it, the whole thing didn't make that much sense anyway.

Google will rank a site higher if its content is relevant to another site and it links to it- Now THAT makes a whole lot of sense. Personally, I think that the old "I will link to you if you link to me" game is pretty much all over...

Your toughts anybody?

12:10 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



For one site, that has fall foul of Florida, no, I've sent out a few hundred link requests to related sites using different anchor text. For my other sites that are OK post Florida I've left alone.

I'm sure people will say "link to sites for your users", "content", etc, but I know that doesn't help in many situations. IMHO links are significant factor of what the web, and google, is about.

Bretts guidelines, and many of the senior members here, will point you in the right direction about site design and promotion, but personally I don't believe google will move away from the PR *mentality* ranking of pages (disclaimer: in the near future!) - which means get links from good related pages! :)

12:11 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I hold the top spot for my keywords and have watched a competitor go from near the bottom of the listings to the 2nd spot in two months. The only thing that I can see that would have caused this is that he went from 3 backlinks to over 200.

I only have 20, I guess I better get to work before I lose my top spot.

I don't think they will eliminate PR, but I do think they will start punishing pages with too many links. I have seen a couple sites recently that had high PR's, with many links suddenly drop in PR. They could, also, punish those that link to these "link farms".

3:24 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



I think it's a question quite a few people are asking themselves now.

I'm not as worried a about reciprocity as some people are, if two sites compliment each other then why not link? It's link farming, mass bought links and heavy linking within a group of domains tha have caused problems at various times in Google.

4:04 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I'm not as worried a about reciprocity as some people are, if two sites compliment each other then why not link? It's link farming, mass bought links and heavy linking within a group of domains tha have caused problems at various times in Google.

Amen. It's when you start to abuse linking that you run into trouble. If you're trading links to serve your site visitors, that's great. But when you do it just to increase PR, bump yourself in the SERPs, etc. ... not great.

4:05 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



>Google will rank a site higher if its content is relevant to another site and it links to it- Now THAT makes a whole lot of sense. Personally, I think that the old "I will link to you if you link to me" game is pretty much all over...

This assumes that Google can discern whether the content of one site is relevant to another? I question if they can. And, any attempt to try and do so would likely have a lot of false positives. I can see Google devaluing reciprocal links if the pattern seems artificial. The main problem is that it is common for amateur sites to link to other amateur sites on a topic rather freely. Not for search engine reasons, but simply because it makes sense for the users.

4:38 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



With all of what happened with the Florida update, I'd like to know if people are still linking to each other as much as before, or is this a thing of the past?

I'm getting more requests for link exchanges than ever. I doubt if 1 in 1000 Web publishers is even aware of the Florida update.

4:46 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



That makes since europeforvisitors. There are a ton of people that were not ranking very well or just did not have very many words up. I bet they don't know. How would they unless they read sites like this. People that did rank and lost came here to find out what happened. I have seen a lot of new members latly.
4:51 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Personally, I never saw the problem with exchanging links. I have done so long before Google ever existed. The reason I exchange links is to benefit from any traffic the other sites might send my way. Sometimes I trade links because the other sites can provide services which I don't and an exchange becomes a way of building business. Now if Google comes along and decides all of this is Spam, the they are being really short sighted. I really don't like the way things are turning out at Google. It is becoming a dictatorship, where its rules seem to change on a whim.
4:54 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



"I doubt if 1 in 1000 Web publishers is even aware of the Florida update. "

This is true. Most webmasters do not follow serps closely, and even fewer know the SEO basics. The folks here at webmasterworld are indeed on the bleeding edge of the industry, and if you can't find your answer here, you probably aren't going to find it anywhere else.

My site was dropped for several of our money terms. We do have a link exchange, but the vast majority of the links are with sites in the same ballpark as ours, so I'm not worried (yet). I think Google knows they have a problem (I'm sure 1/2 the webmasters that have been dropped have emailed them several times already) and will be working to refine the new changes in the coming weeks. If your site is clean and you have good quality content and relevant links, even by link exchange, Google wants your site in the index. It hurts Google in the long run to exclude these sites, so I'm sure the majority will be returning soon.

5:01 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I'm getting more requests for link exchanges than ever.

Yes, but are you agreeing to them?

5:09 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



allanp73

I agree. I also had a page on the internet before G and it had links with a page called link.html. Heck, my first page was nothing but links, with a little tongue-n-cheek comment about each one. LikeÖ

Motorola - Been there, did that
Intel - OK the Pentium jokes got old last year
Etc.

Of course back then there wasn't one dominate SE.

I have a link page that I am proud of because it links to relevant sites with extended information that I was too lazy to type in. And that is just good for my visitors. All handy in one form. Although I also have a few links from some pages for the same reasons.

>>I really don't like the way things are turning out at Google. It is becoming a dictatorship, where its rules seem to change on a whim.<<

Yea, well the same thing happen to M$ just before the got had by the US federal Government and all the State Attorney General offices. You just watch and see if the same thing doesnít happen to G. Someone already filed a law suite against them, but the judge dismissed it. Another judge in another place may not have.

Personally I donít think their last update did anything for the problems in the US economy. Penalizing, thatís right penalizing, because when you donít show up for a 2 KW statement with PR5, it is a punishment and a lot of people donít know why. Their day will come, and Iím thinking first quarter 2004.

5:27 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>> Are People Abandoning Link Exchanges?

=======================================

Now it is premature to abandon link exchanges altogether and it seems to be a short-sighted practice - IMHO ...In order to keep one's site viable, you still need links as well as PR. Without them, your sites might be very close to extinction.

>> Is the "I will link to you if you link to me" game over?

=======================================

I don't think so at this moment. We still receive many requests a day and we do link exchange if the sites meet our criteria as before the Florida update. On some sites we switch our habit a little bit.

In conclusion, we do keep on exchanging links with selected sites in order to keep the strength of our sites' PR strong. We don't trash old link partners merely because the old anchor text strategy does not work. We also don't refuse new link partners if we view them as good potential ones. With good PR strength, you always have options on how to utilize it efficiently as for now and for the future - for ex. passing it to somewhere else that you find it useful and appropriate.

5:28 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



"I doubt if 1 in 1000 Web publishers is even aware of the Florida update. "
This is true. Most webmasters do not follow serps closely, and even fewer know the SEO basics. The folks here at webmasterworld are indeed on the bleeding edge of the industry, and if you can't find your answer here, you probably aren't going to find it anywhere else.

A lot of assumptions set forth as fact around here. The real estate industry consists of everything from Fortune 500 sites done to mom & pop agent sites, with mom & pop having the lion's share. I can assure you that most of these people know that something is up (many lurk here and at several other similar forums and then share what they read on real estate forum). There isnt a real estate forum or online publication that isnt asking why Google is "penalizing" the real estate industry.

Some are bailing on links, some are sending out emails asking for change in anchor text and many are dropping the linksmanager type pages. They may not understand all the issues, but they know about ppc and the serps.

75% of people in the US start their homes searches online, more with mom & pop than with the corporate sites, so please let's not be so arrogant as to think that only 'professionals' follow the serps and have a clue.

5:45 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



" so please let's not be so arrogant as to think that only 'professionals' follow the serps and have a clue. "


Kirby, who's being arrogant?

5:50 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



I couldn't give 2 hoots whether Google continues to use PR, with links in being only one factor, or not. Links in from on-topic pages bring in targetted traffic. Links out to on-topic pages benefit my site visitors. To me the questions is "why wouldn't you"?
6:07 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



SEO_practioner,

You are confusing my irritation with arrogance.

6:10 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



I'm getting more requests for link exchanges than ever.

Yes, but are you agreeing to them?

No, for two reasons:

1) Most (not all) of the requests are from sites that don't meet my editorial requirements; and...

2) A good many of them are boilerplate requests.

I link profusely, but I'm not interested in link exchanges per se. I prefer to link in an editorial context, because that adds value to my site (which in turn attracts readers and unsolicited inbound links).

6:29 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



2) A good many of them are boilerplate requests.

So if Microsoft sent you a "boilerplate request" saying they would like to link to you from their hompage you blindly say no?

boilerplate or nor boilerplate, it takes about 2 mins to find out if it's a suitable link or not.

because that adds value to my site (which in turn attracts readers and unsolicited inbound links).

Do you think your users care if the value link orginated via a "boilerplate request"?

6:35 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I think the point of this thread is to discussed -

If Google devalue links from link exchange. (link swapping)

Instead of

Why can't we exchange link if their site benefit our visitor (you can, but do googlke devalue them in terms of ranking?) Links is an important part of Google (of course, but do links from link exchange still count?).

Google has the largest database of who links to who and they can easily come out with an algo to detect if a link point to your site has been swapped by checking the database. No more further crawling is required.

6:40 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



So if Microsoft sent you a "boilerplate request" saying they would like to link to you from their hompage you blindly say no?

Well, MSN once linked to me from its home page, and I didn't object. :-)

boilerplate or nor boilerplate, it takes about 2 mins to find out if it's a suitable link or not.

I'll look at a site if the boilerplate request sounds interesting, but in the vast majority of cases, such requests are obvious spam. (And BTW, it doesn't take ten seconds, let alone two minutes, to determine that a hotel booking site in Costa Rica has no place on a site about European travel.)

Do you think your users care if the value link orginated via a "boilerplate request"?

My users care if the links are relevant to their needs and to the topic at hand.

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 6:47 am (utc) on Dec. 12, 2003]

6:43 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



If Google devalue links from link exchange

Probably yes, if it's only done to try and boost PR from an off-topic. Probably no if the 2 way link is on-topic.

7:01 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



My site in the serps have been virtually unaffected. I have a links page and a strong link exchange program which I am continuing as usual. I try to get relevant links, but who is Google to say what is relevant. I sell a personal care product made in a certain country. Sure I get related personal care links and traffic from them. I however, link to websites from that country and also get a lot of relevant traffic from those sites.

I will continue to do so because I am in business to make money. If Google penalizes me for that, then so be it. In any event, Google's high-handed action underscores the fact that you can't, over the long term, build a successful business on anything free.

The top website in my category is a crappy site which has tons of reciprocal links most <PR4. My site is #3 for my main keyword. I have more >PR4 links in Google and ranks #1 in allinanchor:widgets. What this means is that all these low PR links do add up to something although they are not counted by Google.

Another top site that secured a lot of low PR links through a link exchange program, has disappeared from the serps. Another crappy site. No one will miss them.

For those of you whose sites are missing, I will strongly recommend that you check who you are linked to and also who links to you.

7:06 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)



and also who links to you

I highly doubt it's possible to reverse engineer anothers site. The biggest crappiest link farm in the world can link to you and probably have no bearing on anything. However, if you link back it may well be another story.

9:59 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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



"so please let's not be so arrogant as to think that only 'professionals' follow the serps and have a clue."

Most people who posted in these post-florida threads, on this webmaster board, had/have no clue (if only partly because Google doesn't tell us many clues). It's a lead pipe cinch most non-professional webmasters who don't read webmaster forums have no clue what is going on now.

10:16 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've used addweb with it's link trader section for a long time now and there is another point to this post which hasn't been brought up yet.

My links exchanges are mostly not relevent to my site but the sites I exchange links with _are_ interesting. They are the kind of sites that someone surfing would click on which brings me to my point.

Yes I exchange links to help PR but that isn't the main reason. Around 10% of the traffic of each site I LE with (currently 23) is coming in from the LE's. I'm lucky enough to be able to track orders from point of entry on some of them so I know that the exchanging is bringing in income my clients would not have had.

I am also aware that google won't cache more than a certain amount of a page so I know a lot of sites I link with won't affect my PR but because they DO affect sales I use them anyway.

Even if google did suddenly do away with links I would still carry on because any extra sales can only be a good thing imo.

Simon.

10:35 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Are People Abandoning Link Exchanges?

well, atleast for my web design related keywords .. the site which keeps topping for different words has nothing but link exhange directory/farm.

10:38 am on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



GG posted in a thread few days back saying "more incoming links to your site...more we'll be persuaded to crawl you! and that helps in a lil thing called PR".

now
1) It would be ridiculous to penalise the "natural linking" on web, but to ignore the "artificial linking" makes a sense.

2) But statement as above from GG again persuades for Link trades. However this is again possible that GG intended to say more incoming RELEVENT - RELATED - NATURAL links :-)

3) Defenitely, unnecessary Link farms needs to be flushed out to produce better results!

6:43 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



>It's a lead pipe cinch most non-professional webmasters who don't read webmaster forums have no clue what is going on now.

No argument on this point, especially since most likely no one outside of the 'plex really knows what and why. But many non-pros are aware about the serps being different.

I responded to the point that 1 of 1000 web publishers dont even know about the Florida update. This I find hard to believe. In several industries with a lot of non-pros, they do know that things are different with Google. They dont know why, but hear things about filters and links, so many are dropping links or asking for AT to be changed.

Keep in mind that in industries like real estate, there also exists several dozen companies that each pump out template sites by the thousands. When these and other mom & pop sites got buried in Florida, the scam artists sent out emails and cranked up the boiler rooms and are now selling their services with the line, "We have solved the Florida Google algo with proprietary software and can get you back into the serps".

The point was that many are aware (have a clue) that things are different even though they dont know why (have a clue)and are dropping links and grasping at other straws (de-optimizing?) to get back into the serps.

7:58 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If some one is linking me and I am not linking them, can there be still a problem?

Aji

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