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G) Outbound Links:
From every page, link to one or two high ranking sites under that particular keyword. Use your keyword in the link text (this is ultra important for the future).
Why is this important? and why is it ultra important for the future?
One of the easy ways to define a site, is to see who it links too. If site A links to Blue Widgets, but no links to Red Widget sites, then it must be about Blue Widgets.
That could be context from the link text as they now do with inbound text. If you link out with "blue widget" in all the link text, then it is a pretty good bet, that the page is about "blue widgets".
It could also be contextual in there could be predefined keyword sectors that the destination site is "boxed in". Sometimes referred to as "keyword vectors", or (again) the over used "themes". Under such a scenario, a search engine could already know that "cnn.com" is about "news" and thus sites linking to cnn with the text "green widgets" would need to be discounted.
Using such a system would prevent engines like google from being gamed". The so called RF'ing or blog bombing of Google would be derailed. Under a outbound link contextual system, a link to bill gates home page using the keyword "evil" or "satan" would be discounted. Thus, it would HIGHLY increase relevancy for the engine.
I believe that is one direction search engines must reach to ad more context -- ultimatly relevance -- to their engine. Thus, link out with a quality link on every page.
In this context I would suggest
...to link to...
On top, how many sites link to their DIRECT competitors (competition.com/blue_widgets.htm)?!
I would further suggest the algo to perform similarity calculations of inbound/outbound links to accomplish each other as opposed to shuffle around very similar content which would be rather unnatural and might even be considered spam or feeding duplicate content (inclusing all other bells and whistles like copy and stuff).
Just a thought...
Also, what's the effect of these outbound links on other SEs? For a given keyword will they consider the linked site as the superior site and place them above the linking site in SERPS?
It is particularly difficult for sites like ours to link out as we are kinda already authority sites on some key phrases. If we have to find relevant sites to link out to ... the only sites we'd find would be direct competitors.
On the other hand, I've always thought that sites who were bold enough to link to their competitors show they have nothing to hide - if you offer a superior product, or the same product for a better price, then you would WANT your customer to look at your competitor, even if they're a bigger name than you are, so they can compare and see how much better you are.
The point of the excerpt was to link to someone who already HAS a high PageRank / Position. If they're already number one in searches they can't get any higher - so linking to them won't help them, but it will help YOU get higher.
If site A links to Blue Widgets, but no links to Red Widget sites, then it must be about Blue Widgets.
That may be accurate in some cases, but to suggest it as a universal truth and something an SE algo should rely on is faulty logic.
As adfree suggested, Site A may link to Site B specifically because Site B is "about" something that Site A doesn't offer.
Then you have businesses / web sites with similar names or domain names. You've seen the "Are you looking for XYZ company's web site? We're not them. You can find their site at www.example.com." The link shouldn't imply that the sites are about the same thing, and if the SE algo thinks it does, that's a mistake.
If this works then all SEOs will be building links to relevant authority sites in their niche. As the authority sites are unlikely to reciprocate the links isn't it the case that in the long term our sites will lose PR, the authority sites will improve on their (already high) PR, and they will ultimately feature even better in Google?
Yep, sounds like it to me. So the trick is to make your site the Authority that everyone else wants to link to. :)
An authority site doesn't have to be a competitor ... could be a manufacturer who doesn't sell directly, eBay, or an information site.
The site may not need to be an authority at all. And if you are in control of enough sites, you can, of course, create your own authority sites.
A heavy bias towards outward links is nothing less than a spammer's dream come true.
digitalv, I'd agree with you about being bold enough to link to competitors but it's not always the best company or the best price that wins. Sometimes clever marketing, big promises, and falsehoods do convert customers. If that's something commonly practised by competitors and not something you will stoop to... you will lose. Linking to competitors is a dangerous game. You wouldn't tell someone who walked into your shop to go next door, would you? You treat him as a guest, give him the information he needs, provide him a fair price and encourage him to take the product to the till.
So the trick is to make your site the Authority that everyone else wants to link to
They choose a keyword, extract title and description from all the sites that come top for that keyword in SERPS, bung all that text on a page on their site, name the page keyword1-keyword2-keyword3.htm and are beginning to feature well on search engines.
Yep, I've seen that, too. My hobby site (about a rock band) is probably the #2 authority site about the band (behind the official site), and I've seen my site victimized by exactly what you just described. That kind of crap may work for now, but I'm sure it won't forever.
if you specialize in blue fuzzy widgets, and only blue fuzzy widgets, you might want to suggest that if your customer is interested in generic widgets that they go check out the widgetworld site because they have a great selection, and from your experience, they seem to have great prices and customer service.
If Google does indeed look kindly on pages because they link out to other relevant sites for that keyword then these cr*p auto generated pages are going to gain a level of importance in SERPS that they don't deserve.
Most of such auto generated pages are gone after the last algo tweaks. I'm analyzing this since a couple of weeks now and the only explanation i currently have is the Latent Semantic Indexing & Co [webmasterworld.com] ...
If you generate a page, extract results from a database matching <query>, put <query> in the page title, url and headline, and <query> in most of the outbound links, your page won't get found any longer at google - at least not prominently. As explained in the LSI threads and papers, your <query> would be seen as something like a stop word - and simply filtered out. I know, there's still no proof that Google uses LSI but after running some tests myself, i have the feeling they do use something like LSI.
If you generate a page, extract results from a database matching <query>, put <query> in the page title, url and headline, and <query> in most of the outbound links, your page won't get found any longer at google - at least not prominently.
In the example I mentioned above, the spammy site is grabbing the <title> from my site and using it as the <title> on their page, and then taking my <title> and making it a word-for-word <H1> that links back to my site. And their page ranks pretty well on certain terms that are in my <title>.
They do this same thing, creating pages for other similar sites, and each of these pages links to the other. But they're all ranking highly because of the outbound links. There's no other content to speak of. Oh. Aside from the affiliate links they're trying to cash in on. :)
Most of such auto generated pages are gone after the last algo tweaks.
not in my area <snip>. ALL of the spam directories are still there, and I just saw a new one that shows up for quite a few results.
however, I do agree with you about your LSI points. It is an interesting concept, but too many good sites get thrown out with the others. And unfortunately, it doesn't matter how many webmasters here complain about the new algorithm because Google apparently interprets silence as a nod of approval ("we see 100 people (whiners) dissatisfied with the results over at WW, but XXX million people are NOT complaining, which means that they are happy with the results. A job well done! Crank up the filters!")
Sorry, back on topic. Spam directories with outbound links are the way to go these days. Why? The only reason you need is that "they rank high in Google."
A heavy bias towards outward links is nothing less than a spammer's dream come true.
I tried wearing the white hat, but Google has converted me. Spam is king.
[edited by: Marcia at 6:58 am (utc) on April 9, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics, please - see TOS. [/edit]
It so happens that the point of this news page is to link to other sites, so it is concidental and not intentional to get the seo benefit, but still it is en excellent example to me of how sending various signals to search engines can help them more accurately judge the content and the merit of the content on a page.
I believe that this an important factor in determining the 'hub' or 'authoritativeness' factor of the site.
It's just logical that SEs should consider this in their algo. If they follow external links in order to crawl the web, why not give it an algo score as well?
And, there are those who recognises that there is opportunity on this process thus the proliferation of 'directories'.
The directory might have a commercial agenda like promoting certain site/s or product/s in the guise of being a HUB.
At first glance this might be a problem because they are making money using their listing as a come-on to SEs and users. (Isn't that SEs are doing the same thing?)
But, as long as there is an actual link to outside site/s, the recipient benefit as well from the links, might not be PR transfer but in terms of traffic.
Fact is, my unsolicited traffic from this directories/links (some of you might call it a spam directory) are much higher than the worst commercialize Yahoo.
Outbound links could be a major part in Semantic indexing. I have just started looking into the hole area of semantic, and outbound links would, of course, say quit a lot about the semantic coherence (for lag of a better word) of your site.
If you are in the Widgets business and want to do well for keywords relevant to Widgets, it is logical that your site link to other sites in the Widgets business. An outbound link to a site about wangers (are we starting a new trend her) might not be helpful and might hurt your position in the semantic hierarchy, where a link to a site about custom paintjobs for Widgets might help, even though this site do not have Widgets as a keyword.
The rely tricky part starts when the inbound links are taken into account, If the SE’s are not careful, you would be able to hurt a site simply by linking to it from sites not relevant to the semantic roam chosen by the webmaster. Lets hope this is not the future
If the SE’s are not careful, you would be able to hurt a site simply by linking to it
GG has stated, and I have to assume all SEs understand this, that you cannot control who links to you and how, and so you cannot be hurt by someone linking to you. If the outbound links on another site use anchor text that's not relevant to your site, I'd assume those links just don't offer much credit -- as opposed to offering "negative" credit.