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  1. #1
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    Hi,

    I've got about 150 websites that all back link to each other mainly from their LINKS page.
    QUESTION:
    If I have those 150 websites pointing (from a links page not necessarily from blog posts) to about 60 webpages on a large website that I have ... will this be deemed to be SPAMMING by Google?

    Note: The anchor text will all be different.

    I've read that there's nothing wrong with this, though would it be wrong if I'm doing it from a LINKS page that has a list of links with a small description of each link?

    EG:

    HTML Code:
    <p><a href="http://www.mywebsite.com/new-york-hotels.htm">New York Hotels</a><br />
          Need a place to stay on your trip to New York, Check out some of the Hotels you can book at</p>
    
    <p><a href="http://www.mywebsite.com/los-angeles-hotels.htm">Los Angeles Hotels</a><br />
          A variety of Affordable Hotels to book at in Los Angeles</p>
    
    <p><a href="http://www.mywebsite.com/london-hotels.htm">London Hotels</a><br />
          Book accommodation in London, Great Britain</p>
    etc etc...

    Let me know your thoughts?
    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    There's a reason you've read that there's nothing wrong with it. Anyone doing it will never admit to any wrongdoing regardless of whether or not it's wrong. That's the nature of the SEO community. I do it to rank; therefore, it's okay.

    Look at it this way...you're asking this question since it's an SEO-related question. What you haven't done is explained the usefulness of these links to the end user. The fact that you didn't suggests that what you're doing doesn't have a user benefit, which would likely put it under the broad stroke and poorly explained category of link schemes.

    Here's another test you can try to see if what you're doing is legitimate or not...put the shoe on the other foot. Let's say you're a webmaster for a competing site, and you see your site "ranking #1" for a term (a useless measure, but one commonly used). Would you report your link idea to Google via the spam report? If you would, don't do it yourself...sooner or later, someone's going to rat you out. Google is evil, Google is the overlord, Google is the self-appointed police of the Internet and that's wrong...I'M TELLING ON YOU BECAUSE YOU DID BAD THINGS TO RANK! WAHHHHHHHHH!

    So, to answer your question, "quite probably."
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  4. #3
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Spam no, not really, well maybe....

    The fact is, without knowing the context of all of your sites, without knowing if all of your sites that have these link pages are pretty much the same... Or if all the sites are on the same ip block...

    What you have described is a link farm scenario, where you have hundreds of sites that point to each other with the hopes of driving up rankings based solely on the "backlinks" strategy.

    Most search engines quit using "backlinks" as a standalone metric for your rankings, but have gone more towards the "context" of the link... and now give links a value toward your overall "backlinks" score.

    What does that mean ? In the past, backlinks were a measure of "relevancy" , so a site with a lot of backlinks had to be a good resource... Until that is link farms like this popped up.

    Now, a link from something like this is going to have so little value towards that part of the metric ( as it should be ), that most people don't even bother anymore, because they get no value from it.

    A former competitor of mine from the local area use to maintain several hundred web sites all pointing at each other, and for a while, anytime you searched for pretty much anything to do with the resort area I live it, one of his sites would be at the top of the list.

    His problem was he never actually put any really useful content on any of his site, it was all generic bull, that was geared more to getting ad revenues and interlinking all of his sites...

    He also used this as a way to get clients as he could say "look at where my sites are on google" , "I can do the same for your site"....

    The panda update pretty much dropped all of his sites from googles indexes, and he's no longer in business because his ad revenues disappeared.

    If you're running all these link pages as a resource, to help visitors find your other sites that might actually have decent or relevant content, so be it. If you're doing it to help your SERPS, I don't think it's gonna help unless you have original, useful content on each of the sites and each site should be able to stand on its own merits as a useful site.

  5. #4
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    Thanks for your detailed replies and knowledge on the subject.
    I should have clarified, my bad but I'll explain now...

    Firstly, NO, this isn't a Farm link scheme at all (I know very well not to participate or get involved with that cr*p). Yes, Google did regard back links as quite important but like you said, the farm links thing has thrown that method out of contention to a degree.

    Just so you know, the websites that back link to each other are all original, unique, have useful content and not at all "generic bull" - they are mostly clients of mine who I've developed websites for their businesses ... and 90% are in the tourism industry, so they're all pretty relevant. ... back in the day, I had created a links page on their websites to gain "popularity" and it worked very well and nothings changed now. ... and also I wasn't relying on the back linking strategy solely to drive up rankings.

    Though I have never back linked those websites to multiple webpages on a domain before ... so this is why I posted my question above to see if that would be bridging on Spamming. I won't be doing that anymore now that I've learn't from your advice and It's good to know because you don't want to get on Google's bad side especially when you business revolves around Google.

    I firmly believe quality is better and quantity ... with that in mind I will still keep my clients website's back linking to each other because like I said above, they are all genuine and unique with useful different content ... unless you oppose and think otherwise?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    Anytime you interlink sites you raise the flag to be looked at, especially if you have a whole buick of them that shouldn't be linked together, and a trend is noticeable...

    Like :

    Site #1 is about boat rentals
    Site #2 is about a local winery
    Site #3 - 4 - 5 about hotels
    Site #6 is about car repair

    Now on each and every one is a "links" page, that interlink these pages... All linking to each other.

    Now they may all be sites from businesses in the same local area, and that areas tourism trade is huge... But that doesnt make all the sites relevant to each other.

    You may be providing a service to your clients and the area, but i suspect these links have been devalued to the point "from an SEO standpoint", that no matter what or how many links you have, they do not affect rankings.

    You've obviously heard of Panda & Penguin, and as mentioned above, they dropped many people from their indexes as they were blatantly trying to scheme the system.

    Expect more things like this to happen, and if you're doin anything that could even be remotely considered as "spammy" or such... Instead of just "de-valuing" a link, they might start putting a negative value on them, only because you have good original content... But the links will drag down your rankings.

    Me personally, I can't imagine the conversation of trying to explain to one client why he needs a link to all my other clients web sites. I had a designer swear up and down, it was the best thing.

    I asked for proof..... You know log files, metrics, analytics, anything that he could show me that this was a good thing for everyone. That was 3 years ago, he still hasn't given me any examples or proof.

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    You just said something right there that's a potential pitfall...your business revolves around Google. You don't pay for a Google listing. You don't pay for positioning. You don't pay for anything to do with Google and organic search (I'm not counting PPC ads since that's not organic). Therefore, you're relying on something that you really can't control. That's not good business.

    As far as your clients' websites are concerned, that would depend on the context, as WZ pointed out.
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  8. #7
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webzarus, post: 239330
    Me personally, I can't imagine the conversation of trying to explain to one client why he needs a link to all my other clients web sites. I had a designer swear up and down, it was the best thing.

    I asked for proof..... You know log files, metrics, analytics, anything that he could show me that this was a good thing for everyone. That was 3 years ago, he still hasn't given me any examples or proof.
    I say tell him to hold his breath and not stop holding his breath until he can prove that to you. Either we'll have a new SEO technique or Darwin will take care of the problem.

    Guess which one I'm betting on!
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  9. #8
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    Thanks Webzarus. I like your informative explanations! I've done research in the interim while waiting for your replys and I've learn't a lot.

    OK, I am sitting here having a smoke now because I want to get to the bottom of this so that sh*t doesn't hit the fan now or in the future.

    At the moment my website rankings are pretty good, THOUGH I am quite sure they have dropped ever so slightly over the years and that could be from 1) numerous other websites that have been launched which cover the same topic and 2) the reciprocal linking is starting to effect their rankings. The first one is most likely true and the latter may be the case too, especially after listening to what you guys have had to say.

    So a few questions:

    1) Do you now think I should drop / remove the Links.htm page and be done with that (wow!! - it would save the tedious work of updating it here and there)?

    2) In your opinion, if I remove the links page, do you think my websites rankings will drop? Or is that a definite "NO it won't"?

    3) If I drop the links page, do you think there is a possibility that my rankings could increase?

    4) Some websites are very relevant to each other, (10 - 20 websites)... eg: I would have a main website for UK Accommodation and a few websites to do with Accommodation in particular UK towns, eg London Accommodation... so would linking or reciprocal linking only those websites be frowned upon? I would want my visitors to have the option of being able to visit those individual town websites because I do have more detailed information (unique) about them.

    Whilst doing some research I stumbled across this post:

    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/10-myths-...teboard-friday

    He talks about Links from other websites etc. but not necessarily RECIPROCAL LINKING ... which does confuse me to a degree.

    I do regard myself as quite good at SEO (because of the results I've had) but I suppose my knowledge is a bit "out dated" as I am currently using techniques that were good back in the day, that are now a "don't do" technique as you guys have explained.

    @Thegame ... I don't necessarily rely on Google as I may have portrayed it to be ... what I mean't was, Google does have an influence on Web Designers especially when there is a demand from clients of ranking high.

  10. #9
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    First of all, are you basing rankings on the referral traffic you receive or rankings based on where you see yourself in Google? The former is an accurate measure; the latter is completely useless.

    1) If it doesn't serve a user purpose (and it doesn't sound like it does), yes. Again, think of it from the standpoint of a competitor...would a competitor rat you out for that?

    2) and 3) There's no definitive answer to that question, although I suspect it will have a marginal impact. Since there are several hundred factors that go into generation of search results and and since it's such a minor thing, then it probably won't do very much either way...unless you were being penalized for the pages. This is, however, specific to your set of circumstances (of which we only know a small portion), so I reiterate that if you're looking for a definite "yea" or "nay" you're not going to get it.

    4) Quite frankly, I don't understand why they're not consolidated into a larger site with a navigation structure that would tie everything together. That has to be an absolute nightmare to maintain.

    As far as the SEOmoz thing is concerned, this is one of the rare instances that Rand has actually said something of some merit. Unfortunately, I'm not really sure in this case whether he's saying it because he can put a positive spin on it or he actually means it. I tend to take most things from that site with a severe grain of salt, as I do with most SEO sites.
    If I've helped you out in any way, please pay it forward. My wife and I are walking for Autism Speaks. Please donate, and thanks.

    If someone helped you out, be sure to "Like" their post and/or help them in kind. The "Like" link is on the bottom right of each post, beside the "Share" link.

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  11. #10
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    As theGame pointed out, there's really not a definitive answer that can be given to your questions because quite frankly we don't know enough about the sites in question. It's all "in context", and user experience.

    The only real way to know the impact of any changes is to monitor befor and after the changes.

    I'm a big proponent of "log files".... I have log files from every site I've we'd worked on and when you see a spike or drop in what the search engines are looking at or how they are behaving on the site, or referral traffic patterns change, I can tell you what changed on the site, or what changed elsewhere based on the referral traffic.

    Before I do anything with anyone's sites... I do screen prints of SERPS of the top 4 for every keyword the client as well as some I think the site should be ranking ( found on the indexes ) for.

    When I change keywords or content, i make a running list of changes and the date the changes happened on the site. Then I start watching for changes on the SERPS. If they go down, I reverse my changes and try and determine why it happened. If they go up, I make note of the fact and associate those results with my running change list.

    It still amazes me that so many people claim to be SEO experts, but have never looked at a log file. Many claim that google analytics can give you just as good or better insight on what is happening with a site. Although I find google analytics is good, the keyword there is "Google"...

    My question to all those people is "who's to say Google is not just giving you the data they choose to share ?", and I always get the same response, "why wouldn't google give you all the data?", because it's their data, they give you what "they" think is relevant for your site and situation.

    With log files, you are in complete and total control of all the data collected... And yes, I have seen numerous "variances" between what google analytics reports on referral traffic and what the log files show.

    If you want to know what impact a change is going to have on your site, make the change, monitor the change. That's it.


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