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I wonder if Google checks circular link trading

     
1:53 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google discourages and penalizes direct link trading:
site1 <---------> site2

However uni-drectional it improves the PageRank:
site1 ----------> site2

However if there is a circular link trading, do they recognize it, and if so, penalize you if you do so?:

However uni-drectional it improves the PageRank:
site1 ----------> site2
^..........................|
|..........................|
|..........................v
site4 <---------- site3
4:29 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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remember google is dealing with vast data sets, of course they can recognise that kind of linking.

as to whether they penalise it, i've no idea, i try to speak only from experience not heresay, and as i don't do it i don't know if there is a problem with it.
6:35 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google discourages and penalizes direct link trading:
site1 <---------> site2


If there is any proof that google "penalizes" it, I would love to see it. I know many sites that rank in top 3 where the vast majority of their links are straight reciprocals.

Do they value it less than one-way linking? Most likely, yes. But to say that they outright penalize it would not jive with the results I have been following lately.
6:41 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Wasn't there a video from Matt Cutts last year where he specifically said there was no penalty for reciprocal links? As I remember it, what Planet13 observed is what he said: there is just a limit to how effective they can be. So many sites have done reciprocal links for so long that a penalty would make no sense.
6:56 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I give a $1 check to Bob.
Bob gives $1 check to Mary.
Mary gives $1 check to Jack.
Jack gives $1 check to me.

I am not any richer from when I started. The bank has recorded all the check transactions and can follow the money if they care to.
7:08 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The $1 example assumes that all links have equal weight (rarely true). If site1 is a PR5 site with only 1 link out to site2, and site4 is a PR3 site with lots of links out, then site2 is richer than site1 for the exchange.
7:10 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What if some of the links actually generate traffic? That used to be a reason for links, didn't it ;)
8:14 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Links for traffic?! How old school can you get? ;)
8:42 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I recall years ago the subject of "SEO bad neighborhoods" It was very clear then that Google does see these link circles. I believe there are even software tools online that access link data and create a visual map of the neighborhood for a site.

So the answer would be Yes; However, the research of link neighborhoods it is also clear that not all neighborhoods are bad. Many groups tend to associate; this may be by industry or belief ... So I would not spend time looking that there is no circle if the content is good and has "other reasons to be indexed." If it does not have other reasons no other links outside the circle - I would not plan that robots trust that link (if I were programing an algo that would be how I would handle it); I do not have any info that google handles it that way.

If somebody offered a link that was building or doing circular linking as a method, I would decline ... they may not be a "bad neighborhood" today but that does not mean they will not become one.
9:05 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Links for traffic?! How old school can you get? ;)

Anyone else remember webrings ?
9:05 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I should've added that in my view I own all of the sites... :p
thanks for all your useful views!
9:30 pm on Apr 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"I own all of the sites" ... ah yes that would be one of the exceptions on my list. Me, Myself and I form a neighborhood.

All sites are being developed and the links are content based. Links to resource (my) happens to be on the first domain (self) and is respected - building new content on domain (My) which does not have a resource links page to (my) content type. Any resource I may link to on the resource page that links back based on content form a circle but it is because of content. Just like all the other natural neighborhoods.
12:06 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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if it's possible to do it, probably yes, but does Google do it, probably no. There are maybe few billion links on the Web, what Google have to do is following - take every link from my site (let's say 20.000 urls) and match it with billions of links on other sites and figure out reciprocal links and give it some weight. Then do the same for every site on the Web. It's incredibly complex, even for Google. If they do it and get any useful information out of it, my hat is down, however I doubt it.
12:27 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Anyone else remember webrings ?


They still exist in some widget sectors:-)

Google discourages and penalizes direct link trading:
site1 <---------> site2


Not in my experience, I have quite a few of these between my sites and my customers' sites plus, of course, my own interlinking between company sites but that's another thing altogether.
5:52 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google depends on links to build their index. If they penalized links they would end up with only sites that have no links in their index; that is not their goal. Direct link trading is natural and exist because people link to other experts in their genre type.

However,

site 1 ---> site a
site 2 ---> site a
site 3 ---> site a
...
site 1000 ---> site a

site a ---> site b

site b ---> site 1
site b ---> site 2
...
site b ---> site 1000

is not natural. If these 1000 sites don't have links to them from other sources they may be part of a spam network. Add other clues like thin content, duplicate content, - etc - they are well above the radar and in the strike zone.

If content dictates links then Google is your friend.
6:01 pm on Apr 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Then do the same for every site on the Web. It's incredibly complex, even for Google. If they do it and get any useful information out of it, my hat is down, however I doubt it.

You may be underestimating Google's infrastructure by several orders of magnitude. This is not only something they can check, it's something they've been checking since their earliest days - it is their core competency.

A link graph of the entire web is what Google uses to calculate PageRank. The whole of the web is really a huge collection of "circular links", only some of the circles are a lot bigger than four members. Linking patterns jump out at them.

That doesn't mean it gets penalized, it just means that Google knows about it.