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Does Google PENALIZE any kind of links?

Only penalized links, not "not counted" links

     
5:24 am on Dec 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm trying to get a handle on the Google's algorithm regarding links. I know that higher PR links are better than lower PR links and links from quality sites are better than from spam sites, blah, blah, blah. But what I am interested in is this...is ANY link a good link (good in the sense that it will not hurt you as a penalty from Google)?

If any link is a good link, then getting links from blogs, PR 0 pages, link farms, etc. shouldn't worry me...right?

I've heard the bad neighborhood discussion...but can my site get penalized if someone from a bad neighborhood links to my site and I don't link back?

8:25 pm on Jan 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Theoretically what you say is true, businessezines. If you don't link back to the spammy sites you shouldn't be penalized. Nevertheless, I wouldn't encourage such linkage if you have a long-term future in mind for the site. Excessive linking from bad places could be a liability if some other aspect of your site trips some kind of spam flag.
8:47 pm on Jan 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think as Google automates filters to ignore link popularity from known artificial sources: Blogs, Guestbooks, etc., you just don't realize any value from these sources.

If G was to actually penalize these types of links, competitors would be going after each other, rather than worrying about increasing their own inbound links. There has been a lot of previous discussion about one way inbound links..

11:45 pm on Jan 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As redzone points out, you probably just don't get any brownie points for links from questionable sources. GoogleGuy has stated on a number of occasions that incoming links cannot hurt you.

rogerd you make a good point with the question of tripping a spam flag. It would be best to stay as clean as possible in developing web sites obviously, but in competitive fields it's more like staying ahead of the algorithms...

11:46 am on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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The more that a search engine tries to deal with artificial link inflation, the greater the risk becomes of it being tricked into thinking it's been tricked.

Google's Webmaster Facts & Fiction [google.com] page used to contain this:

There is nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.

Now it contains this:

There is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.
11:54 am on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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almost

I guess you could bribe their web design firm to use frames ;)

Seriously, what could a competitor do to harm my rank?

Best wishes

Sid

12:31 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> almost

Thanks for this!

> Seriously, what could a competitor do to harm my rank?

That's a very good question. After Florida many people here thaught that there is a penalty for too many inbound links with identical anchor text.

To get your inbound anchor text percentage close to 100% is theoretically possible for any competitor, though very difficult.

12:32 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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There is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index

That's interesting, Google wouldn't have changed that sentence had they not changed some policies.

>What could a competitor do to harm your rank?

How about track down your IP address and go to your hosting service and register some domains with the same virtual IP or very similar so that once they develop these domains as spam the server gets flagged as housing a "bad neighborhood".

Another thing could be to fill out a spam report, albeit there would need to be some *dirty, evil, conniving, low down search engine optimization tricks* on your site, something we all know that SEOs never use.

But perhaps...and I'd take this with a grain of salt, the NEW and IMPROVED G-Google might just be watching the incoming links to your web site closer than you think...

12:42 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hey dirkz,

Have you had any of your sites penalized which might fit this description?

After Florida many people here thaught that there is a penalty for too many inbound links with identical anchor text
12:51 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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your ignorance would give advantage to Competitor.

THEN close to 100% same anchor for incoming Links and close to 100% links from blogs/forums/FFA etc is possible too.

But wonder, if google could handle this situation, right now it sems that loads of innocent sites are getting throtteled (as Google somehow assuming they are black hat).

Especially the OOP issue.

So your ignorance might kill.

Edited - spelling :-)

1:30 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'm still hoping a competitor decides to torpedo one of my sites by creating links from hundreds of sites with identical money word anchor text... I bet I'll come out way ahead on that deal. :)

Getting back to the original question: in addition to automated filters, I'd worry a bit about a human review. If your competitor turned in a spam report on your site, the existence of lots of link farm and similar links might create a presumption of guilt that could tip the scale if the reviewer found anything dicey at all. I'm not privy to how Google does reviews, but my guess is that it's a quick process performed by lower-level techs in most cases. Unlike our US legal system, "presumption of innocence" may not apply. ;)

2:12 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I wonder how many people Google would need to employ in order to respond to all the spam reports, it seems unlikely they would use human resources to do so.

Everything we've seen from Google points to automated filters, so I would suspect the same thing for spam reports. Perhaps they run the html thru a much more precise algorithm which checks a lot more elements which could potentially be seen as spam. In fact, the whole Florida fiasco may be just such a case, where competitive searches in commercial sectors are subjected to more "precise" standards.

In terms of Google justice...you reap what you sow.
Time will tell.

2:16 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I think only a small number of reports get any kind of human action... Presumably, many get a cursory glance for algo development, but only the most egregious get an actual intervention.
5:28 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Here is a follow up question to the one which kicked off this discussion...what are the flaws in the following strategy:
1. www.widgets.com (create a reciprocal link campaign which has all the inbound links point to this site).
2. directory.widgets.com (this is the site used to put all the outgoing reciprocal links).

Both sites have pagerank of 3-5.

Your thoughts?

5:46 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It's mostly b*llocks.

Think about it:

Reciprocal links: - this means that your site, and the sites that link to you are connected in some way. How could you possibly penalise this? This is the whole point of hypertext in the Internet!

Unreciprocated Links - let's imagine a mega-site links to mine. OOP penalty? Once again this is nonsense. It could simply mean that my site is so important that a mega-site feels the need to link to it. That's kudos - not spam.

Balls-Up in the algo - Possible - becoming likely

New algo - slightly ballsed-up - likely

Experimental algo - incompetently looking for themes and interconnections within the site, and its link partners - and marginally f*cked-up to the extent of booting out excellent content - highly likely.

7:46 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> Have you had any of your sites penalized which might fit this description?

Nope. But theoretically possible. Want to try it? :)

But there is a way to harm a competitor. I've read about it in this forum. It had to do with redirects to competitor's pages.

8:42 pm on Jan 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I'd just like to know if anybody has had their site excluded from the SERPs and by coincidence has most of the backlinks pointing at the site with the exact phrase that is now excluding the site.
8:43 am on Jan 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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> if anybody has had their site excluded from the SERPs and by coincidence has most of the backlinks pointing at the site with the exact phrase that is now excluding the site

Sorry, misunderstood the first question. My answer to this question is: probably yes. The index page disappeared during Florida for a two word phrase but is now there again.

10:32 am on Jan 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Bobby, that happened in a lot of cases. Seeing as it happened mostly to that one phrase and not to other phrases on the page, we might call it overwhelming coincidence. :-)

If a page already has a large number of, shall we say organic links, then this seems not to happen. This would explain why Googlebombing can still work.