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Backlinks from Credits page

     
2:12 am on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I have a website with webmaster's resources.
I am thinking about asking my users to link to my site in their "credits" page.
I usually would think this is a bad idea, but I have a competitor who is getting top rankings doing exactly this.

Ps: No, I am not talking about sitewide links.
1:11 pm on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I personally would never call this is a bad idea. A link from a page of links is unlikely to be worth as much as a link within a piece of content, but I couldn't see this coming close to hurting you unless:
- a sizeable proportion of the sites that end up linking to you are doing dodgy stuff with either their content or links, and/or
- you don't let people decide how to implement the link but try to game anchor text (links on your brand name and/or domain name are safer).
7:08 pm on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I agree with FranticFish that I can't see what's bad about this in general - and that you should not aim to "control" these links. I've picked up various "credit" style links over the years for scripts that include a reference to the originating URL and for licensed code that requires attribution.

Is there are reason you think this is questionable? Is your competitor doing this in a very aggressive way, for instance?
7:24 pm on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Thank you FranticFish and Andy for your replies.

Andy, there's no reason why I think this would be questionable, other than that 80% of their links come such Credits pages. They pretty much have all the same anchors, etc, but hey, they are over ranking some much older / bigger competitors (including myself).
12:36 am on May 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There are a lott of people ranking at the moment using techniques that are fairly old skool, I don't see a problem with a Credits page or Links page but I would hang fire until the next penguin before making a big investment in this, you may find all these pages become worthless or worst still penalised.
1:11 am on May 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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If I were you, I wouldn't emulate your competitor. I'd keep the links nofollow, and, as Andy and FranticFish suggest, I'd avoid any obvious signs of coordination. Just my personal opinion.

As you describe them... more thoroughly now than when you first posted... these would appear to Google to be link exchanges (depending on what you mean by "users"). If this is the reason your competitor is getting up in the rankings, it's also the reason the competitor will eventually plunge in the rankings. It is simply a question of how long it will take, and unfortunately that can take a while.

Google generally prefers to handle spam algorithmically, because that's the most efficient way in the long run to deal with the problem, and it's the best way to catch the most exploits. Queries that aren't extremely competitive sometimes persist for a while. You have my sympathies.

Most sites, btw, don't have credits pages, but in your niche they may have "resource" pages. Also, I'm assuming here that by "users" you're not talking simply about site visitors, but you're talking about resource providers that your site lists. Thus, my assumption that these would look like link exchanges. Whether exchanges or not, the patterns you describe are very clear.

Again, though, it is a matter of time. In the Supporters Google area, we watched one site with some of the most outrageous doorways I'd ever seen (but built with a twist that would evade normal doorway pattern detection), and they survived for something like 8 or 9 months.
1:23 am on May 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Robert Charlton, thank you for your reply, but you are assuming too much on this one.
These are highly competitive keywords, high in volume and CPC. I've over 1 million pageviews a month.
And no, these aren't link exchanges at all. These are 1 way backlinks, crediting the source site.

Even though I have a superior link portfolio than my competitor, he is ranking higher than me on many keywords. He certainly has acquired a lot more links than I did in the last months, using this technique, so I'm guessing this could be the reason.
8:07 am on May 10, 2016 (gmt 0)

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+1 3zero: holding off on deciding what to do until the next Penguin hits and seeing what happens to your competitor then. If you feel confident that you intimately understand the composition and merits of your respective link profiles then you could even use your competitor as a yardstick for what is and isn't OK in your niche, although obviously you're taking quite a lot of risk with that approach. What flies today usually ends up hurting you a great deal somewhere down the line.
1:00 pm on May 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I see no issue with this strategy. This is just another way to get links from multiple referring domains and has been working since time immemorial.