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Should I Dump all My Outgoing Links .

..that are less than "valuable"

     

old_expat

3:40 am on May 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Pardon if this has been discussed before/elsewhere, but this phrase in Matt Cutts' blog about pages dropped and Big Daddy got me to thinking.

Id think about the quality of your links if youd prefer to have more pages crawled. As these indexing changes have rolled out, weve improving how we handle reciprocal link exchanges and link buying/selling.

I think we all have links that were exchanged years back before link selling was done and when link exchanges were very popular.

1 - Should I be dropping these "less than valuable" links?

2 - Should I selectively add <rel="nofollow">?

3 - Should I delete all my links pages?

pageoneresults

6:17 pm on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



I received a sticky stating that I might be a bit smug and seem to be talking down to people when that is not my intention.

I guess the sheer number of topics these days where people are expressing concerns that should have been addressed all along have gotten to me. ;)

When it comes to exchanging links, you have a negative point against you from the start. Why does there have to be an exchange? Why can't it just be a natural occurence? You link to a site, over time they see the referrers from your site and then one day viola, a link back to your site. When I hear the term natural linking, the above comes to mind.

If you look at some of the examples provided by Matt, those are purely link exchange strategies. Whenever someone drops a sitewide link in their footer to a site that is totally irrelevant, you're going to raise a flag. For one, it could be a filter in the algo, two, a competitor is surely going to use that spam report provided by the search engines.

If you have links pages attached to your site, it's like carrying a disease with with you in some instances. The more competitive the industry, the more apt that disease is to affect the health of your main site. The days of trying to influence PageRank are most likely over. What you are seeing now is a move away from the monster that Google created.

Wavers - Webmasters That rode The Google Links Wave
[webmasterworld.com...]

If your pages were built as part of that wave, then yes, you may need to do something about them. If nofollow works for others, then by all means, use it where necessary. Personally though, if you are linking to resources where you have to consider the nofollow, then maybe that resource isn't of value to your visitors?

annej

11:06 pm on May 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Whenever someone drops a sitewide link in their footer to a site that is totally irrelevant, you're going to raise a flag.

I just went back and tried to find his comment on that again but my 'eyes just glazed over'. :) I thought he didn't even call that a penalty though, just that it wouln't help. Correct me if I'm wrong as all his comments are getting muddled in my mind.

I think what we need to sort out is the difference between red flag situations and just an old fashioned link exchange (the kind we did before Google and did a little more after Google).

These include a link to uncle John's unrelated site and traded links mostly related but some not. In one comment MC says;

your site seems like an example of one of those sites that might have been crawled more before because of link exchanges. I picked five at random and they were all just traded links. Google is less likely to give those links as much weight now.

Here he seems to be talking about ordinary link exchanges that were not bought or such. It appears to me there would be no need to drop your exchanged links as though they may not help they don't hurt either.

Another MC comment

its not that reciprocal links are automatically bad. Its more that many reciprocal links exist for the wrong reasons.

Am I right in reading that ordinary related exchanged links are OK, they just don't help much?

JuniorOptimizer

12:24 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I have pretty strong evidence that not all recip links have been devalued. I would urge people to make no changes because of something they read on a blog without investigating further.

pageoneresults

1:43 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



I thought he didn't even call that a penalty though, just that it wouldn't help. Correct me if I'm wrong as all his comments are getting muddled in my mind.

Oh no, I didn't say anything about a penalty. It's a devaluation process or what I refer to as negative points. You start out with a clean sheet of paper. Then you list the various things that would be positive points and those that would be negative points. The Franklin T Method.

I believe a link to a web developers site to all of his/her clients is of benefit. Not from an indexing standpoint but, from a branding and referral basis. There wouldn't be a penalty unless of course there were other signals present.

Here's the comment from Matt on the unrelated sitewide links in the footer. In this instance, it may be affecting the crawl priority of the site in question.

Linking to a free ringtones site, an SEO contest, and an Omega 3 fish oil site? I think Ive found your problem. Id think about the quality of your links if youd prefer to have more pages crawled. As these indexing changes have rolled out, weve improving how we handle reciprocal link exchanges and link buying/selling.

annej

2:18 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Thanks so much for finding this. I read it just last night along with a lot of other responses from MC It does imply the kind of devaluing you mentioned. Yes, that is more accurate than calling it a penalty.

Linking to a free ringtones site, an SEO contest, and an Omega 3 fish oil site? I think Ive found your problem. Id think about the quality of your links if youd prefer to have more pages crawled. As these indexing changes have rolled out, weve improving how we handle reciprocal link exchanges and link buying/selling.

On the other hand this comment from MC implies that some recip links are harmless and in some cases could even have a little weight as he just says they are less likely to give much weight.

your site seems like an example of one of those sites that might have been crawled more before because of link exchanges. I picked five at random and they were all just traded links. Google is less likely to give those links as much weight now.

Our challenge is to sort out between exchanged links that are harmless and ones that could incur negative points. What I hate to see is people throwing out the baby with the bathwater. I just looked through some of my recip links and many are to nice little ma and pa widget shops. I'd really like to give them a boost. Though maybe it's not a boost at all anymore.

TerrCan123

5:23 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



When it comes to exchanging links, you have a negative point against you from the start. Why does there have to be an exchange? Why can't it just be a natural occurence? You link to a site, over time they see the referrers from your site and then one day viola, a link back to your site. When I hear the term natural linking, the above comes to mind.

I would be curious to know how Google is able to tell the difference here. If they only spider every so often now and that natural link happens around the next spidering, then it seems they would conclude it was a link exchange.

Another example is I have a Yahoo listing that I never paid for and was never a link exchange [they added me to their directory long ago for free]. Yet I do have links to Yahoo on my site. How can they determine this isn't a link exchange? Or is it according to Google, if two sites have links to each other it is an automatic exchange regardless of the circumstances.

steveb

5:43 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



Exchanging links is often a natural occurence.

I get an email. They say "I like your site, I linked to you, if you like my site will you link to me?" I look at their site, think it is good, and say "Sure." That is what natural linking is. You put up a link when you have reason to. I'd never know about half the great sites I link to if they hadn't been brought to my attention by the site owner.

The interesting thing here isn't that Google is looking at links that are on two sites differently, but that Matt actually said links from blogs are good. He and Google need a lie down if they actually think that. Not even counting comment spam, blog spam links are a plague and Google's positive scoring of them is pretty nuts. It's no coincidence that the deterioration of their results coiincides with the mass introduction of blogging.

annej

5:54 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



When you get in a small hobby niche topic like mine it's only natural that all the top sites will have linked to each other at one time or another. Not that they are planned recip links, it just happens. For example I have an article and something someone else wrote compliments it so I put that link at the end of the article. A year or so later that person will link to me for the same reason. Sure I could go through and remove all those links to everyone who has ever linked to me; but that is crazy. The links are a service to my visitors that want to go learn more about a topic.

That's why I am trying to get a sense of where the line is. At what point is Google going to penalize(devalue) cross linking?

The more I think about it this fixation on link exchanges has gone to far. I've linked to every single outstanding site in my field. Does that mean if they link to me it will the link will be devalued. Good grief, the Library of Congress has linked to me so now I'm not ever supposed to link to the Library of Congress.

old_expat

9:57 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Good grief, the Library of Congress has linked to me so now I'm not ever supposed to link to the Library of Congress.

LOL!

glengara

11:23 am on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



With academic citations allegedly being one of the ideas behind the PR system, I don't see G having a problem with reciprocal links/citations per se, after all they're not uncommon in academic papers dealing with specialist topics.

pageoneresults

1:05 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



When did the term Link Exchange become part of the SEO vocabulary?

pageoneresults

1:26 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



The interesting thing here isn't that Google is looking at links that are on two sites differently, but that Matt actually said links from blogs are good. He and Google need a lie down if they actually think that. Not even counting comment spam, blog spam links are a plague and Google's positive scoring of them is pretty nuts. It's no coincidence that the deterioration of their results coincides with the mass introduction of blogging.

It raised an eyebrow when I saw Matt make that statement. Makes you wonder...

To the degree that search engines reflect reputation on the web, the best way to gather links is to offer services or information that attract visitors and links on your own. Things like blogs are a great way to attract links because youre offering a look behind the curtain of whatever your subject is, for example.

gendude

2:10 pm on May 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I don't agree with the blog links, because 95% of the links that people try to put in comments one one of my popular sites are spam links back to sites that have nothing to do with mine.

If somebody is covering content similar to my site, and comments on a story and does a trackback or pingback or whatever (i.e. a link shows up in my comments that points back to a story on their site about the same thing), I have no problem with that.

It's when you, as an example, write about some particular brand or model of car, and somebody tries to link back to their site that is about some wonder drug of the month, that is bad.

I see tons of blogs that do not secure their comments, do not run them through spam filters (WordPress, etc., all have good spam filters if people would just set them up), and Google doesn't seem to penalize them.

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