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Should I still be collecting incoming/reciprocal links?

Even if they are irrelevant

   
1:21 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hi,
I've recently eased off the link exchange thing and have stopped actively pursuing any link I can get back to my site.
What I'm wondering is, is any incoming link better than no incoming link or do some actually count as nothing?
I guess this wouldn't be a problem but then I guess you're leaking PR by reciprocating.
I'd be happy to dump the whole reciprocal links thing as it seems like another form of spamming, however, it seems some of my successful competitors are actively seeking links with any site willing to reciprocate.

Is the PR calculation still based only on incoming link PR but has just been given less weighting in the over all algo?

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated
Chris

1:57 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If you exchange links with sites on related topics that might be helpful to your users then you should be ok. There's not much point exchanging links with sites where your link is one of hundreds in a long list. If you're worried about impact of outbound links on your PR then you can put most of your links on the same page, that way your other pages are unaffected. However, the general rule is to link for the benefit of users, not for the benefit of PR.

Don't exchange links with irrelevant sites - it's an abuse of the interlinking nature of the web, devalues your site and may have implications with search engine ranking.

2:11 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



link for the benefit of users, not for the benefit of PR

I agree with this in principle but I guess I still need the PR from incoming links - relevant links are much harder to find than irrelevant ones.
Another question that springs to mind is what is relevant/irrelevant.
Are geographically diverse competitors relevant or irrelevant. For example if I'm widgets UK and I exchange links with widgets USA this would seem quite relevant.
2:43 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I think if both sites are widget-themed they would be considered relevant, although certainly the book is still being written on this whole issue.
3:13 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



I don't believe that the restrictions are as tight as some imply.

Basically, an inbound link in and of itself cannot hurt you. Once the inbound is reciprocated, issues can arise, depending upon the nature of the other site/page, and the nature of your site/page.

While clearly the best inbounds are tightly (theme) related, if a clothing site links to a travel site, and the travel site is about islands, and the clothing site is about bathing suits, that's still good, perhaps very good.

When a site about a completely unrelated topic links to you, if the site is quality and the page is not free for all, there is still some benefit as far as I can see.

In the old days, sites often linked to each other when they were only vaguely related. Not only was it OK, it actually made the Web more interesting. Imagine that!

My two cents.

4:57 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think it would be close to impossible for an algorithm to determine if one page is truly completely irrelevant to another. I have an esoteric educational site that got a link from an online sports column a year or two ago. I was certainly surprised to see those referrals start popping up, but when I went there to check it out, the link actually made sense in context. There was no other content about my topic on this page other than the sentence with the link to me, but it was actually an organic link.

It would be silly of Google to penalize links whose relevance wasn't immediately apparent, and I find it hard to believe they do this. More likely links from clearly on-topic sites are getting some kind of bonus. I'd be very curious to know how that works--for instance, my site gets a lot of links from other educational sites and kids' surfing sites which are not about my topic, and I wonder whether Google notices that they are related or not. But I'm certainly not suffering any sort of penalty from any of them and they all show up in my Google backlinks, including the ones I've linked back to, and even including the sports link.

I also have a hobby page from which I've linked to a few pages by friends of mine on completely different topics, to no apparent ill effect. One of those sites has no other incoming links and now shows PR on the toolbar, so evidently Google counted the 'vote' from my site just fine.

I get the idea that Google is more annoyed with webmasters attempting to 'hoard' and manipulate PR right now than they are with webmasters linking out to other sites that aren't 100% on topic. I don't work for Google though, so who knows if i'm right or not. (-:

5:05 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

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



>In the old days, sites often linked to each other when they were only vaguely related. Not only was it OK, it actually made the Web more interesting. Imagine that!

Still quite common today. Particularly with the proliferation of amateur, personal websites. The webmasters will link to other sites just because they fing them personally interesting. Most of the WWW ain't e-commerce.

5:09 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I have a related link question...
I've checked out who's linking to my competitors since they are ranking so well lately. To my suprise, most of the links listed were pages within their own website. Is it better to create 100+ pages of content on your site and link them to your home page than to get inbound links from other sites? Is either strategy better for increasing your PR?
5:19 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Having 100+ pages of content AND getting the external links would be best! ;) Seriously, both content and external linkage are important and will affect your search performance in different ways.
5:24 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



What I was kind of getting at was don't exchange links with sites that seem to be only about exchanging links. Invariably, the PR boost from those links is negligible because they're on low ranked pages with hundreds of links on.

If it's relevant for your users then it's a relevant link. So if you run a site about animals and you link to animal feeds, animal conservation, Amazon books about animals, similar sites to your own in different countries etc. etc. then that's great. Don't exchange links with ringtones sites (I suppose unless they're offering animal noises...).

If you follow these kinds of guidelines then there's no need to even think about Google penalties.

:)

[edited by: John_Caius at 5:35 pm (utc) on Mar. 23, 2004]

5:26 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Could someone please remind me how to weed out the internal back links from the same site, i.e. internal links.
I've tried
link:http://www.domain.com -site:http://www.domain.com
but that doesn't seem to work
9:01 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



While we are on this topic, I've had a question for awhile. Is there any truth to the theory that Google discounts links to your site if they are less then 1 year old? (1 year = approximate guess of time.)

My sites that haven't done link exchanges in the last year are doing better then those that have.

9:31 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



nobody can tell you that. However bear in mind while google will ignore links it doesnt like Yahoo will ban you for them. Link spamming is not just a filter with them, its out the door. The lines are really being drawn, you gonna play with Google or the others?
9:54 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



You sound pretty adamant about that SS, care to amplify on specifically what Y! may see as link spam?
10:50 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



any attempt to swap links for improved rankings is link spamming to Yahoo! Theres no tip toeing around it. If you do it your spamming in their eyes. They are now taking sites out for life on a human review using those guidelines.
1:48 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



this is driving me crazy. Why exchange links with only sites your users will benefit from? I think that one should exchange links with any site that is doing good. Not just similar sites, or sites your visitors will find useful. Look at all the damn blog spammers who move up the ranks everyday. They are obviously not linking to similar sites..but they sure are getting a reward. Im not saying that blog spamming is good,(it's bad), but my point is that link partners do not have to be beneficial to your visitors or anywhere related to your own subject.

Somebody please prove me wrong.

1:56 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Somebody please prove me wrong.

Florida to the Ides of March.

2:30 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I get 15% of my traffic from the links I have acquired over the past 3 years. If nothing else, it increases your internet presence/traffic. So, with respect to traffic, it is well worth it.

C

8:51 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Spamming techniques may be useful in the short term but are unhelpful in the long term. Sites employing ethical SEO generally continue to improve their performance and traffic over time. So it depends on your motivation. If you want to make a quick buck then spam in a profitable area. If you want to generate a decent long term income then employ ethical SEO. Either way has the potential to make money - that's why you find both in the SERPs.
8:58 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



The only problem is that nobody really knows what ethical SEO is anymore. Only the search engines and they are certainly not telling you.

Yahoo's total policy of not telling you the rules is like saying: "bring your softball team and play in our tournament - but we should warn you, we've changed the rules and we can't tell you what they are. If you break the rules you can take your team and go home."

That's the mentality of the search engines these days.

9:47 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Ethical SEO:

1) Quality, unique, on-topic content
2) Titles accurately reflecting page content
3) H tags accurately reflecting text importance
4) Image alt attributes accurately describing image content
5) Incoming links from relevant sites and reputable directories, some with keywords as anchor text
6) Outgoing links to relevant sites that your users will find helpful
7) Hub and spoke within-site interlinking structure, where more important pages have a lot of other site pages linking to them with keywords in the anchor text.
8) Sitemap linked off the homepage to facilitate search engine spidering

That should give you a start. :)

10:02 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



John_Caius

i dont think there is anthing called ethical SEO. There is good practice and there is artifical manipulation of the results. Making a sitemap doesnt improve your rankings, it allows you to be spidered more easily, thats good practice.

1) Quality, unique, on-topic content
good practice
2) Titles accurately reflecting page content
good practice
3) H tags accurately reflecting text importance
good practice
4) Image alt attributes accurately describing image content
good practice
5) Incoming links from relevant sites and reputable directories, some with keywords as anchor text
SEO. Artificially boosting your rankings.
6) Outgoing links to relevant sites that your users will find helpful
good practice
7) Hub and spoke within-site interlinking structure, where more important pages have a lot of other site pages linking to them with keywords in the anchor text.
the way you describe it SEO.
8) Sitemap linked off the homepage to facilitate search engine spidering
Good practice.

if you do it for your users its good practice. If you do it because it wil help your rankings its SEO. Calling it ethical implies its not done to improve rankings. If its done to improve rankings its SEO.

11:49 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Ok, well then maybe 'ethical' isn't the right term, perhaps 'open' would be better.
1:31 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



right, open. Anyone looking at your site can see exactly what you did. You have nothing to hide. With Google this is fine, i agree with their approach of only banning for outright cheating and spamming. Its just that this is the difference between Google and yahoo. No longer can you try something in innoncence and see if it works because Yahoo are banning not flitering for 'ethical' SEO.
3:25 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>>5) Incoming links from relevant sites and
>>reputable directories, some with keywords
>>as anchor text

>SEO. Artificially boosting your rankings.

There is nothing you can do to control this other than providing good content and an excellent user experience.

This is not artificial if you have good content.

Good content generates good relevant links from relevant sites and directories.

4:05 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



This is not artificial if you have good content.

placing keywords in anchor text is artificial. It is there for the benefit of search engines and is therefore SEO.

4:20 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It's only artificial if you did it or you influenced it being there. In discussion forums it's now quite common to see a useful website [webmasterworld.com] linked in this way, or something like the Webmasterworld search engine forums [webmasterworld.com]. Both ways involve anchor text keywords.
4:33 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



i assumed we were talking about self-placed links.
4:45 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



placing keywords in anchor text is artificial

It's anything but not artificiall: if you have a link to a page about blue-widgets, it's logicall that you have something like:
A blue widgets store [blue-widgets.com]
If your inbound links have good descriptions, they have to include some keyword.

Hernevardö

PS: Don't try to follow the link :P

5:11 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



>i assumed we were talking about self-placed links.

We all know what they say about assumption. ...

The list from John_Caius said

5) Incoming links from relevant sites and reputable directories, some with keywords as anchor text

...

Links like that are almost never self-placed.

The reputable directories have competent editors who will edit anything submitted so that it is meaningful and relevant.

If it is not relevant, they will delete it.

...
also
...

The reason #5 above says "some with keywords as anchor text" is because other people are making those links. You can't control what they will use as anchor text. That is why the current algo. reduces the ranking of sites where a large percentage of the anchor text is identical.

It is presumed that if the anchor text always says:

The World Famous San Diego Zoo (for example)

then those are self-placed links but if the anchor text is varied and sometimes says

San Diego Zoo

and sometimes says

Visit the zoo

and sometimes says

Zoo in San Diego

and sometimes says

San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park
(DMOZ.org - is that keyword stuffing?)

and sometimes says

Our local zoo

Then most of the links which do not say

The World Famous San Diego Zoo

are legitimate backlinks and those which say

The World Famous San Diego Zoo

are considered invalid or self-placed.

That is why a certain site vanished from the SERPS for a certain search term for the past "many months."

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