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Are the ranking effects of new links changing?

     
8:19 pm on Jun 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The way links are being used to rank sites has changed.

Its taking longer for them to be effective - if at all.

I think old existing links are still holding most of whatever power they had whilst still in place.

I think newly found links are being looked at differently.

I cant explain it - but I know its true.

I remember a couple of months ago some google engineer saying "we will be changing the way we handle links soon" - well - its happened I am certain.

Anyone?
8:11 am on July 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What I think is a bunch of us here should take a domain or 2 each and conduct some controlled experiments on editorial, sitewides, anchor, non anchor etc.

We could try it on a new domain as well as an oldie.
1:24 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Im in.

Hit me up on PM or here.

Who else wants to experiment?
1:47 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Come on pussies, pledge some sites
2:59 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They don't link out properly and no url fields in comments at all, so the networks just horde PR. Pretty much an amatuer SEO getting happy on trust juice,


This is interesting. I am seeing the exact same thing for sites doing well in a lot of the SERPs I watch here in the U.S.
5:05 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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2 sites
5:21 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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They don't link out properly and no url fields in comments at all, so the networks just horde PR.


I wonder if you can still get benefit by commenting and using the domain name in the name field of the comments box.

I understand it will NOT have a link, but it might look like a "citation" which could still count for something. And since they don't have URL fields in their comments, I guess you wouldn't have much competition because no (other) spammers would be posting there...
5:27 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hey - what spam am I missing out on here?

what sites are these? :)
9:33 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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links are not what make the internet work anymore. The flow of traffic through connections is what makes the web work. In the past, G did not have insight into this so links were the only way to make a "best guess" at connections on the web.

By golly I think he's got it!

Get a few authoritative links and then follow the traffic. Get links that will bring traffic to your site, not just higher PR or other factors.
10:17 pm on July 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Get links that will bring traffic to your site, not just higher PR or other factors.


Traffic - A Leading Sign of a Quality Link? [webmasterworld.com]

In my opinion, traffic is a great (but not the only) metric of what a link from a site is really worth, more accurate as a quicky metric than the toolbar PR.
4:01 am on July 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Google has confirmed that URL shorteners pass both PR and anchor text.What is used as the anchor text in those cases?
1:31 pm on July 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Links are not what make the Internet work anymore. The flow of traffic through connections is what makes the Web work. Links are dead. Connections and traffic flow are the key.


That quote from hannamyluv is rather <u>insiteful</u>. ;)
7:07 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree that as of recent from my experience, links are not helping/doing much at all to help rankings for sites, even in-content links from authoritative sites!
7:31 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone expand on what is meant by traffic flowing through connections? Do we have to become network hardware experts now?

Im prepared to do it - but having read the post - I need clarity.
10:18 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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MrFewkes,

I think they are saying that the links themselves aren't as important as the traffic that flows through them. It is a very interesting concept.
10:30 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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that's possible, but while I've seen speculation on this, never seen an iota of proof.

Plus I know that measure has some difficulties. In my industry, virtually no traffic flows through links; it all comes from the serps.

I've got about 2 links that provide me traffic, one is a nofollow because it's a paid ad, the other is database driven and I believe is not indexed by Google. And both of them provide traffic levels that are close enough to nonexistent as to be worthless for measuring. Still, it's way more than what most of my competitors have.

I've got further concerns with the measure as well, because it's a self propogating thing - the more traffic you have, the higher your serps? Bought links on high profile sites then, even nofollow, should outrank everything including true ontopic, high authority sites. And I'm not so sure that's a good way to rank sites. It's a good idea, but I'm not yet sure it's practical.

Very best case, traffic is a supplementary ranking factor. As always, backlinks are still the king of the jungle.
10:34 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I agree that as of recent from my experience, links are not helping/doing much at all to help rankings for sites, even in-content links from authoritative sites!


On the other hand...

Have looked at a few sites over the last couple of days with TERRIBLE link profiles doing pretty well. And a site with a good link profile seems to be killing it at related phrases (mind you, these are low volume search phrases), but they are doing better than the amazons and ebays that have a presence in the market.

there is some pretty good discussion about this over in the link development forum as well. The thread on general directories in that forum has some pretty diverse opinions.
10:44 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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There's a reason for diverse opinions.

I'm of the opinion that's what has changed the most is not the ranking factors of links, but instead the link building practices of website owners. No longer to site owners go after the top tier huge authority sites. No longer do sites go after .edu's and .gov links.

Site owners end up with a backlink profile full of mediocre, middle class links. Their profile doesn't have the strength to stand up to Google's constant fiddling, sites go up and down, and everyone starts talking about reasons for it. The reason is, your backlink profile isn't strong enough.

That's my uneducated and unproven opinion on the subject. And in my niche, the sites that have really, really strong backlinks still dominate everything. Some pop up and down, but it's always the sites with strong backlinks at the top.
10:56 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm of the opinion that's what has changed the most is not the ranking factors of links, but instead the link building practices of website owners.


funny story: I often get newsletters from SEO sites saying, "don't buy links." Yet they give out my email address to lots of "partner" SEO service companies that then send me emails saying, "Buy links from us."

They even put in the newsletter a note saying that they are partners with the SEO site that keeps telling me NOT to buy links.
11:01 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What if Google is already measuring the traffic flow through links, and this is why new links appear to have no effect? Because having discovered a new link, Google then has to measure the traffic flow through it, and on low traffic sites that could take a while. Maybe Google could even measure the bounce rate through that link which tells it whether it's relevent or not?
11:40 pm on July 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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well, that would mean that the site that has the link on it would have to have google analytics on it. Otherwise, off the top of my head, I don't know how they would be able to measure traffic flow.

so while I am sure that is something google would LOVE to do, I don't think most sites have GA on them.

the sites that I get links from DON'T have GA on them. Maybe some universities have GA on them, but most don't, since they aren't really "selling" anything on them, and they certainly aren't trying to #*$! their adsense ads...
12:03 am on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I believe it can collect this data from Chrome / Android, it doesn't need GA.
1:39 am on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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So if someone would put two links to page that ranks on page five for term and within a week it moves to the top of page two, does that mean the new position is secured?

Or will that page move back to page five in a couple weeks?

Are pages given a score once they had a chance for real traffic?

If they are scored, are they pegged for life?

Are any new links added to that page useless?
3:44 am on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I believe it can collect this data from Chrome / Android, it doesn't need GA.


Interesting point. The chrome user base is pretty small (compared to IE and firefox), but it certainly has potential.

But the type of people who use chrome are probably different than the type of people who use IE. It's kind of like the type of people who use FaceBook versus the type of people who use twitter.

For example, on most ecommerce sites and other sites, the number of facebook likes massively outnumber retweets for a post.

But certain tech oriented sites, it is completely reversed.

So I wonder if by using stats from chrome they are getting just a biased picture or not.

Android, on the other hand, seems like it would have a much more evenly spread demographic of users, I think.
12:45 pm on July 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What if Google is already measuring the traffic flow through links, and this is why new links appear to have no effect?


Wonder if ranking effects should be reflective of traffic flow from links. Traffic can be transitory, situation, purchased, faddish

The end goal of a search engine should be to deliver results that users find useful. The question is, what mechanism is better at predicting the usefulness of information: links from existing pages that themselves have a ranking and percentage of relevance, relative to the page being linked to OR references that can drive traffic but which may be very transitory such as social media references. Those references tend to flit here and there.

You have to wonder how many linked and unlinked citations given by a user of a forum, blog (as in comments), or social media...would still be given if the individual actually owned the site providing the linking and were perhaps developing a resource list, or citing another website in an article that they themselves wrote.

I think hard links from clean, well-regarded sites will always work in the long run.
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