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Cutts at PubCon: "Only the links Google trusts count."

     

potentialgeek

3:51 am on Nov 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Q. Everyone says I need more links. How do links improve the quality of the site? I don’t want to play this game and I don’t want to do this.

A: What matters is bottom line. Links are a part of search – they represent online reputation. Although there are many tools that report links, none of the tools can tell you which links are trusted by Google (not even Google’s tools). While the link structure looks bad from the outside, the actual linkgraph that Google uses/trusts looks much better. When the New York Times complained about a site with 10,000 spammy links, Google investigated the site and not a single link had slipped through Google’s filter. Only the links Google trusts count.

Does anyone know which kind of links Google trusts?

greenleaves

6:37 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



You heard 'em people, link building is dead unless it is 100% natural. Google is all knowing and nothing gets past it. BELIEVE!

If you are really good in this lifetime; and follow all its commandments; even if you aren't rewarded in this lifetime, you'll get 13 virgins on the next life!

honestman

7:18 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



And if spammy or malicious sites link to your site, what are you supposed to do as a webmaster? You cannot really block such unwanted links as far as I know, so I would hope that all the authoritative links counter this situation and this is taken into consideration.

netmeg

7:23 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



If you are really good in this lifetime; and follow all its commandments; even if you aren't rewarded in this lifetime, you'll get 13 virgins on the next life!


Great; just what I need.

Content_ed

9:40 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Funny, one of my sites has two links from a feature story in the New York Times, and one from the Wall Street Journal, and they aren't NOFOLLOWED. We've got nothing but organic links from all sorts of high-end sites amd got slammed in Panda all the same.

Only my hobby site with just a handful of low quality links got a big boost from Panda.

The best links in the world aren't protection and a handful of links (mainly from forums) can get you thousands of visitors a day from Google now. Since Google no longer trusts their link-based algorithm, why worry about what links they trust?

That said, I'm sometimes suspicious that they are actually counting the NOFOLLOWED eHow links that show up in WMT:-)

azn romeo 4u

9:57 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



You heard 'em people, link building is dead unless it is 100% natural. Google is all knowing and nothing gets past it. BELIEVE!


Hmmm, I got 1,000,000 new back links this month. Not sure when I'll get a boost or a boot.

johnnie

10:32 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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As aristotle said though you can still accumulate trust with links from non-authorative sites but the further they are away from the authority the less the link is worth.
I had no idea Aristotle was so web savvy ;)

Andem

10:53 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Funny, one of my sites has two links from a feature story in the New York Times, and one from the Wall Street Journal, and they aren't NOFOLLOWED. We've got nothing but organic links from all sorts of high-end sites amd got slammed in Panda all the same.


You're right. It is rather funny in an awkward sense. We too have links from newspapers and magazines, along with citations in books we've stumbled upon over the years and Panda is still down our throats. I don't have a hobby site anymore perse, but I do know that some of my own content that I've scraped and posted on blogspot and another test site are outranking my original almost across the board.

Like you, a couple of forum links (with permission) and some real blog comments with my name linking to the scraped copy nofollowed is all it takes, it seems.

That said, I'm sometimes suspicious that they are actually counting the NOFOLLOWED eHow links that show up in WMT:-)


It looks like we're in the same boat! Only most of my eHow links are to completely outdated and archived content which also include their original publish date (circa 1999-2004).

Though GWT *does* list nofollow'd links.

martinibuster

11:26 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



Though GWT *does* list nofollow'd links.


Google's backlink report (in GWT or the SERPs) has NEVER shown the links that help a site rank. It is well known and this has been stated by Matt many times, that just because a link shows up in a backlink report it doesn't mean it was used to rank a site. Those reports are just a sample of sites that are linking to a site. Scroll up to my previous post and read about the PR 4 Myth, it's related to the no-follow myth in that it was assumed that only PR 4 links counted to the ranking of a site and the lesser links did not. Same error by assumption.

CainIV

11:49 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The problem is that even Google has a serious issue understanding what should count.

Is a dofollow link from a lower quality domain, unmarked blog worth less than a nofollow link from an authority blog?

The whole premise of link value has to be revised by Google entirely.

I see my fair share of websites ranking in competitive genres with what is a very healthy obvious dose of dofollow contextual links from overseas blogs.

Conversely I see better quality websites with real links from sites like BBB.org (but less overall C class links) losing to the other lot.

Some verticals are so large with so much at stake that some business owners would rather take a Lion's share of top 5 for 6 months, than to work for years to compete.

And it's working.

Content_ed

11:59 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Never heard of the PR=4 myth. Not sure who the italics are intended for, but I think you are mistating the case with:

Google's backlink report has NEVER shown the links that help rank a site


Perhaps you meant,

"has never shown ONLY the links"

or

"has never shown ALL the links"

I can't tell from the context. I'm assuming here you didn't mean that Google specifically exludes listing ANY links in WMT that ARE used for ranking.

martinibuster

12:04 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



You can't tell by the context? Are you quibbling me? :P

Context:

It is well known and this has been stated by Matt many times, that just because a link shows up in a backlink report it doesn't mean it was used to rank a site. Those reports are just a sample of sites that are linking to a site.


That's the context. ;)

Andem

12:05 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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>> Those reports are just a sample of sites that are linking to a site.

martinibuster, I completely agree with you on all counts. I don't think Google minds listing any of the crappy, scraper backlinks in the WMT console. I have noticed that they don't list all of the good links.

Is a dofollow link from a lower quality domain, unmarked blog worth less than a nofollow link from an authority blog?


I'd love to see this changed, even if only half way as in doing away with Blogspot et al and completely ignoring links from blog comments.

tedster

12:09 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



In the early years of Google the link: operator used to only show links that were PR4 and above - not all of those links, but what was shown were only those strong pages.

Then after a suggestion from a well known UK SEO at Pubcon, the link: operator was changed to show a sampling of links, high and low PR, and that sampling was changed up about once a month or so.

The PR4 myth started in those early days, before the change.

martinibuster

12:12 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



nofollowed links (and most blog comment links are nofollowed) are ignored. So right now it can be said that most blog comment links are being ignored- regardless of if they show up in GWT or not.

My understanding is that nofollowed links account for less than a percent of all links on the link graph. So the overall effect on the link graph, good or bad, is said to be negligible. The effect I'm referring to is from sites that routinely nofollow all outbound links, like ehow, wikipedia etc. It's surprising that a massive site like Wikipedia can be a PR black hole and not have an effect, but that's what is said to be the case.

It wouldn't surprise me if blog comment spam moves the green bar on the toolbar. But in all cases when something like that seems to be happening a check of quantcast/google trends for websites shows the site is experiencing only a trickle of traffic. Which means the comment spam didn't work to increase traffic- for that particular site.

greenleaves

2:54 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Hmmm, I got 1,000,000 new back links this month. Not sure when I'll get a boost or a boot.



Yeah, and I ate flour, eggs, sugar and yeast yet it didn't taste like a cake.

I also used gasoline in my car and yet I still crashed when driving! Therefore, my super logic tells me that gasoline makes cars crash and you can't drive well with it!

potentialgeek

4:22 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Can anyone confirm specific parts of Google Patents on link valuation which were adopted into the algo?

Sgt_Kickaxe

5:00 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



A: What matters is bottom line. Links are a part of search – they represent online reputation.


Maybe they used to, now they represent how deeply a webmaster is willing to mine for them, and how many "friends" he/she has.

I don't want to play the link building game anymore either.

joeychgo

5:36 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I would suspect that Google has 3 basic levels of trust....

1. Links they trust
2. Links they dont trust
3. All the rest

There might be other levels that fall inbetween, but I belive this is the basic strategy. Those they dont trust pass no link juice, those they trust pass high link juice, and all the rest pass mormal link juice.

So in other words, all links count except those google absolutely doesnt trust.

np2003

6:06 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think I know how Google trusts a link... I tried this idea about 7 months ago on a keyword that had over a million searches per month. I can report back now that for the past 2 months, 8 of these sites have been on page 1/2 for that keyword term... It's actually a very simple but time consuming strategy and best of all was pretty cheap to setup. Remember, Google is looking for "natural" link patterns. Sending an email out or getting a link on a PR9 site just smells like link buying and that will get you no where. I know coz I tried that (paid $2k mo) for twox PR9 sites and got nothing after 6 months.

zehrila

6:27 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I had two site wide links on 1 Pr6 and one Pr3 highly relevant sites, initially when i had acquired those links, i noticed a little boost in ranks, however, i made a bold decision and got those links removed, its more than 1 month and my ranks for those keywords improved, it leads me to believe one thing that, Google probably doesn't trust such site wide links that much (this has been established numerous times on this board)

Links, which seems to be working for me are from blog posts and some time social bookmarking sites!

realmaverick

7:42 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts simply publisises crap that discourages people from link building.

For years I stuck by the rule that content is king, out produced my competition, got high quality links, while my competition purchases hundreds of thousands of low quality links.

The result? Them getting A damn site more traffic and higher ranks.

Sure not all links count. But spend your time chasing the few high quality links you're able to obtain, while your competitor is buying truck loads of links, you lose.

Also keep in mind that the extra traffic they get, then naturally leads to more users linking their content.

lfgoal

6:01 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



That said, I believe there's more going on than just links. Matt's just telling you a part of the story. There's more to it.


Working theory on this MB?

lfgoal

6:26 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Yeah, and I ate flour, eggs, sugar and yeast yet it didn't taste like a cake.


Goes into my collection of favorite quotes.

azn romeo 4u

6:42 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Yeah, and I ate flour, eggs, sugar and yeast yet it didn't taste like a cake.

I also used gasoline in my car and yet I still crashed when driving! Therefore, my super logic tells me that gasoline makes cars crash and you can't drive well with it!


Not sure what you are trying to say. But I did get 1,000,000 new backlinks this month. I compared it to the number that google said I had in webmaster tools a month ago and I had 1,000,000 less. In total I have 5.3 Million backlinks so far and growing. But...the increase of 1,000,000 the last 30 days is kinda strange.

That's a 25% increase. I had the site for 6 years and never have I seen it increase 1,000,000. So I'm waiting to see what happens.

rlange

6:45 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)



I personally find it difficult to trust anything Webmaster Tools reports, but maybe that's because I don't know how to read those reports properly...

--
Ryan

Bewenched

11:01 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



If they only count links that they trust, then why do they show us every link in webmaster tools from spammy scraper sites that happen to link to us?

smithaa02

11:04 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Getting back to the Cutts quote about the 10k spam links the Times found...they're referring to JC Penny's right?

If so, this doesn't make sense. JC Penny's WAS ranking #1 for tons of terms (mostly household but included terms like months). If Cutts is saying that these spam links didn't help JC Penny's...then what did?

martinibuster

11:21 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

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



then what did?


Their natural links.

I have heard of SEO firms hired by the JCP types who are doing nothing for their clients beyond buying links, sometimes straight from link brokers. The clients have so much authority that no matter what the SEO does the client site will not sink.

smithaa02

11:49 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I don't see natural links giving JC Penny's top rankings for all these terms:

dresses, bedding, area rugs, skinny jeans, home decor, comforter sets, furniture, table clothes, months, Samsonite carry on luggage, etc...

I don't buy it. What many people are not talking about with JC Penny's is that they were (are?) a major player in affiliate web marketing. Perhaps an independent affiliate for JC Penny's isn't a spam link, while an astro-turf blog is?

Minus true spam links, the only source for that many links would be IMO affiliates like linkshare that JC Penny's used. If true, then affiliate programs have a huge added side effect in boosting search engine rankings...and maybe I can understand why Google is cracking down on them now.

DirigoDev

3:22 am on Nov 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



We build superior content. Great content generates natural links. We build some content as link bait and occasionally get it correct. We also contribute to authoritative sites and blogs as members of our web community. These communities allow us to link back to our site because we’re responsible respected members of the community. We behave ethically and as natural as possible. We even throw some links away with “click here” as anchor text. IMO, this is the white hat way to play the linking game. It is a costly long-term approach. So far so good.

I watch prominent SEO firms (ones on the Inc 500 list) quoting “650 new quality inbound links per month” in their proposals. For a bit more $ I can get 4,000 links a month. They use offshore labor to build the links and SPAM the hell out of everything in sight - mostly blogs. What rips me is that this stuff actually works. I find it difficult to believe that Google only count links that they trust. Matt must have taken a big hits the hookah before making this statement. I'm sure he'd like it to be true. Sadly, it is false.

But spend your time chasing the few high quality links you're able to obtain, while your competitor is buying truck loads of links, you lose.


For now, @realmaverick is dead on. Long-term I know that the truck load approach will fail. I’m going to stay as white hat as possible and build the best sites possible for people. Matt is sending us signals. We should take their propaganda at face value.

Will I stay in the 1% or go broke? Only Google knows.
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