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Google, please define 'link schemes'

it is not very clear

     
10:47 am on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Google webmaster guidelines contain : "Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank.".

Hm, but what is a link scheme according to Google?

Matt Cutts said that relevant link exchange is OK, so it seems that it is not a link scheme.

I'm confused I think the term needs to be better clarified.

3:39 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)



Google isn't likely to define "link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank" in detail for at least two good reasons:

1) In effect, Google would be saying: "These are the link schemes we don't allow, but if you can think of another method, you're home free."

2) Spam and artificial linking schemes are moving targets, so any official list of unacceptable schemes would require frequent updating.

If you follow the advice of Google's Webmaster guidelines and design your sites for users, not for search engines, you're unlikely to get into trouble, so why worry?

3:46 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



If you follow the advice of Google's Webmaster guidelines and design your sites for users, not for search engines, you're unlikely to get into trouble, so why worry?

Sounds logical, however, in the real world, it apparently is not. Many, many thousands of websites rankings have been destroyed and I'm sure, for the most part, they were attempting to follow Google's guidelines and design their sites for users.

4:34 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)



Many, many thousands of websites rankings have been destroyed and I'm sure, for the most part, they were attempting to follow Google's guidelines and design their sites for users.

Maybe, but I'm inclined to believe that site owners who use unnatural linking schemes have a greater chance of being hurt than site owners who don't, all other things being equal.

#*$! happens, but inviting it to happen isn't a great way to keep your shoes clean.

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

5+ Year Member



So perhaps google should define ...UN-NATURAL LINKING SCHEMES then.
6:36 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)



I disagree, for the reasons given in my earlier post.
7:08 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



EXAMPLE OF UN-NATURAL LINKING SCHEMES

To be member of a forum and to have in your signature a link with keywords in anchor text and some snipet around.
Every post of yours carrying that signature.
If somehow you make the mistake to put a link in your site to that forum ,your domain will be baned for that keywords.

7:14 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)



to paraphrase someone: "they now it when they see it" Technically, anything done simply to gain an advantage in SEs is a link scheme. Within a minute of looking at two sites that link to each we can tell, let's be honest. The challenege is translating that into code without harming legitimate sites. Of course, some are less harmful and less obvious than others, and some sites get away with much more...but be careful!
7:19 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



The site I brought back from being banned was roughly an automotive site. They had a whole section of pages devoted to links - hundreds of them; everything from casinos to psychics to viagra to ringtones to home improvement to drug rehab to carpet cleaning to I dunno what all. But almost NOTHING related to cars or trucks. And all those links had links back to my client site. That's what caused Google to toss 'em out of the index (even though most of the linked people were still in - don't ask me why) and removing all the links got the site back in.

I don't know how they have programmed their bot to tell (I can't believe they did it manually) but somehow it knew and they acted accordingly.

8:34 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



If they cannot define what is 'link schema' (unacceptable types of links), maybe they could define acceptable types of links.

Let us know what is acceptable for sure.

Otherwise, we CANNOT know which links are OK and which ARE NOT.

(Relevant) link exchange IS MOSTLY designed for search engines not for the users.

9:00 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Sadly, the only links Google would be willing to publicly endorse are those that aren't of much interest in this forum -- links that "just happen" as "natural" votes in favor of the site because someone liked the site and thought others should know about it -- totally without any stimulation or encouragement from the site owner.

Now, it's perfectly obvious to everyone, including Google, that in this day and age no one can profitably build a new website if they simply wait for links to "just happen." At a bare minimum, you would have to design the site with some sort of "viral" qualities or inbred-lnk bait to attract plenty of attention.

The problem is that it is not in Google's self interest to publicly draw any bright line distinctions between a acceptable forms of marketing and unacceptable "link schemes".

Of course, in their algorithms that's exactly what Google is doing -- drawing sharp distinctions -- but the results aren't necessarily pretty enough to expose to the public spotlight.

Sometimes Google lets people get away with murder; sometimes Google hits their targets perfectly, and sometimes they accidentally destroy good sites that happened to stumble across one of those bright lines that no one gets to see except the Google engineers.

You could think of the lines around "links schemes" like mines placed in a battle field. If you announce exactly where they are located, they don't work as well as if you just hide them and warn people to stay miles away from that general area.

The more Google says publicly about where the lines are being drawn, the easier it would be for our blackhat friends to dodge the bullets.

And, the more Google says publicly about where the lines are being drawn, the angrier everyone will be when they are collateral damage from an algorithm that didn't perfectly implement the intended bright line distinction.

9:04 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



You need to stop thinking in the binary "okay" or "not okay" and realize that there is a range. If you split it up into just four categories, "good", "okay", "not-okay" and "bad", you might get a better handle on

Good links would be the type where you are likely to get full credit. Every indication would point to it being intended as a legitimate editorial vote for that page.

Okay links would be where there is a vote for the page, but there is probably some sort of relationship between those pages. A link to one of your other sites, internal links, a link exchange with a site that you like. They get credit, but probably not as much.

Not-okay links are the sort that google is not likely to count against you, but they aren't going to count them as very valuable for you either. If you engage in a massive link exchange program where the link text is always the same, and all the links are on obvious "link exchange" links.html pages, then you should not expect to be receiving all that much credit for those links.

Bad links are where you run into an actual penalty. This would include exchanging many links with others that are already on Google's $#!+ list, or engaging in a massive automated link building scheme.

Of course, there is a fine line between these groupings, and that line might move unexpectantly at times. Or you might do something that changes the category that your links are placed in. This might cause your links to move from okay to not-okay, or from "not-okay" to "bad". This can affect your ranking, even if an actual penalty is not applied.

In fact, I have often linked to sites that Google considered to be in bad neighborhoods with no ill effects. It seems that all my "good links" both in and out of my site were enough to keep me out of trouble.

Google does not need to define these things for you. If you actually put some time into thinking about it, you should be able to figure out what sort of link you would put into each category if you were Google.

9:23 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



BigDave

Great post! Thanks.

However, we are still left with purchased links, not to mention linking using rel=nofollow .

How would those be classified:

Good links
Okay links
Not-okay links
Bad links

11:15 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Can you explain, how your brain manages to identify the "Gestalt" of your long-time-no-seen-friend's face at the station?

Google definitely uses pattern recognition to identify critical link structures. Don't try to explain the output of those neuronal networks, even the programmers won't know HOW it works in detail. However, it does (in most cases).

Concentrate on the visitor and pray you'll be left thru the iris-scan at the airport next time.

11:21 pm on Aug 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



However, we are still left with purchased links, not to mention linking using rel=nofollow .

I suspect that Google would prefer to put those links in "not-okay". I suppose a better way to say it in this context is "links that don't really matter".

Paid links are a great example of links that might count as good or okay, but as google refines ways of discerning paid links, they may move down into the not-okay category and you will lose their positive influence. If you were depending on those links for your ranking, it may feel like a penalty, but it is simply that the links no longer count..

12:12 am on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Big Dave: I agree with you about the need to realize there are shades of grey.

There is a very important difference between hitting a penalty land mine that blows up your site and merely crossing into territory where you are wasting time and money, but you aren't actually being damaged.

3:55 am on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)



I can't believe that Google really have much of a campaign against link exchanging. It's always the same with Google, if they make a big change against a particular method of PR boosting, they also produce a weapon that can be used to destroy someones PR. For instance, if Google penalised a site for suddenly having thousands of incoming links ... the next month we would all be linking to our competitors in an attempt to get them banned.

Let's face it, most of us will have, at least, considered having some peripheral (blacklisted) sites, unattached from our main ones, that we can point at our competitors and make them look like they're paying for links ... or is it only me ;-)

All the Best

Col :-)

8:22 pm on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



You don't have control on who's linking to you and where he put the links or how manny links to yor site he has,
But the moment you reciprocate to him that mean that you agree participating in that link scheme and if that site is authoritative or known as SPAM site,he take the lead and your site get banned.
9:11 pm on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)



yeah, but if you have sites ... registered in your wifes name and you choose to 'Launch' your site, using PR from this site ... That's got to be spammy ... no?
11:07 pm on Aug 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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



yeah, but if you have sites ... registered in your wifes name and you choose to 'Launch' your site, using PR from this site ... That's got to be spammy ... no?

No.

 

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