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Old 11-20-2006   #1
kblm
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How does Google view 'Created by' and 'SEO by' links

How does Google (and the other engines) view links on clients pages back to who designed or created the page, or who did SEO for it.....from an good SEO link standpoint.

For example, from an SEO standpoint, is it bad to have a link on a client's website homepage that says:

"SEO services provided by <linktocompanyhere>"

or

"Design by <linktocompanyhere>"

Does this hurt the site where these links are, or the site they are linking to?

Obviously the relevancy of the links is only relevant because that company provided services...not because they are in the same industry. And because a company could have a lot of incoming links from dozens of clients.

Thanks.

-k
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Old 11-20-2006   #2
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If you link to your website you will be helping yourself but not necessarilty your client. They will be leaking pagerank through this external link (unless you place a nofollow tag on the link) no matter what company it is too.

Now if you link back, you would be returning the favour so to speak. Although the authority of these actions is diluted by the variances in industry this is not an unusual practice.
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Old 11-20-2006   #3
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"You should never have to link to an SEO"

http://www.google.com/support/webmas...o&topic=&type=
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Old 11-20-2006   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnW
"You should never have to link to an SEO"

http://www.google.com/support/webmas...o&topic=&type=
Agreed. It's just something that I see alot of, primary for marketing purposes. There is never a case where a client is forced to provide any type of link.

-k
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Old 11-20-2006   #5
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There are always some clients who will be glad to link back, but imho there's a choice of how to entitle the link. Some may want SEO; however others might prefer something more generalized, like Internet Marketing.

It's very seldom that a design client will object where a link for design is concerned; it's been such a standard practice for so long that's it's often taken for granted as a given.
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Old 11-20-2006   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcia
There are always some clients who will be glad to link back, but imho there's a choice of how to entitle the link. Some may want SEO; however others might prefer something more generalized, like Internet Marketing.

It's very seldom that a design client will object where a link for design is concerned; it's been such a standard practice for so long that's it's often taken for granted as a given.
Correct. I see it alot more for design work than SEO, which is understandable.

Good point on the Internet Marketing part.

-k
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Old 11-20-2006   #7
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I never even mention current clients' names publicly, let alone have them paint a bulls-eye on their sites.

I wouldn't trust any SEO that accepted such a link.
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Old 11-21-2006   #8
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The practice appears to be increasingly common, but I'd agree entirely with RC.
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Old 11-21-2006   #9
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>I never even mention current clients' names publicly, let alone have them paint a bulls-eye on their sites.

>I wouldn't trust any SEO that accepted such a link.

Exactly right.
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Old 11-21-2006   #10
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Yep - aside from the Google statement - many clients are in competitive markets - and don't necessarily want to disclose all their competitive advantages to their competitors via their website. i.e they don't necessarily want their suppliers to know who their SEO company is - any more than they want them to know who their e.g. freight company or their e.g. raw widget materials supplier is either...
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Old 11-21-2006   #11
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Hold the phone here guys... there is a big difference between forcing a link on a client and the client allowing their SEO to do this. If the client allows it then it does not violate Google's guidelines and there is no inherit conflict whatsoever.

Does it really make a difference for someone to know if or who is optimizing a site? Any competitor can look at the search results and pretty much tell if someone is having a site optimized. I find it hard to believe that a link at the bottom is painting a "bulls-eye" on a client.

We post client testimonials on our site with permission from our clients. If the client asks us not to then we don't, simple as that. How is that a problem in regards to mentioning "current clients' names publicly"?

Robert, please expand on your statement "I wouldn't trust any SEO that accepted such a link." I'm interested in your take on that and what this has to do with trusting or distrusting an SEO?

Sorry to disagree here gang, but all the answers here appear to be reactionary and fall far short of looking at the big picture.
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Old 11-21-2006   #12
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I guess it's up to each of us to set our own standards, but I would never out one of my clients, or even give their name as a reference, unless I had explicit permission.

It's nobody's business and should be confidential, IMO. Nodody needs to know ..... including the search engines.
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Old 11-21-2006   #13
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I don't really see a need for an SEO to have a link on a client's site that says something to the effect of "SEO by..." Web design is a different animal because the designer actually created or developed the site. Additionally, "Design by..." types of links can be useful if there is a problem with the site. It gives visitors a way of contacting the original webmaster. We have received such inquiries and fixed problems that would have gone unnoticed otherwise.

Although we have pretty much got out of the web design business, we have always placed a link back to our main web design site unless the client objects but have never done so with regards to SEO work. However where it is done, I don't see the engines punishing either party for the practice.

On the subject of client rosters, testimonial pages, etc., that is something we do have in place. I see no problem with bragging about clients or posting their testimonies unless the client specifically requests not to be mentioned or you have signed some kind of confidentiality agreement.

The whole "I don't want my competitors to know I'm doing SEO" argument is just funny. If your competitor sees that your search visibility is better than theirs, then they already know you are doing something with regards to search marketing. They don't need to see a link to an SEO to figure that out.
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Old 11-21-2006   #14
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There's an old quote on the view of SEOs by one of The Founders as being much like a mother Grizzly watching a hunter poking her cub with a stick.

It rang true for me, and though today everything seems sweetness and light with email notification of penalties and official re-inclusion requests, I remain very wary of identifying any site with SEO.
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Old 11-21-2006   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by St0n3y
Robert, please expand on your statement "I wouldn't trust any SEO that accepted such a link." I'm interested in your take on that and what this has to do with trusting or distrusting an SEO?
St0n3y - As I mentioned, this is effectively painting a bullseye on a site.

I work for clients, trying to get their sites to rank at the top in some very competitive horse races. Obviously, just by being at the top these sites are open to competitive scrutiny. I figure other SEOs are going to look at what I've done, where I've gotten my links from, how I structure my pages. I certainly look at what they do.

I'm not talking about artificial linking networks here, because I don't use them... but there's no point making reverse-engineering any easier for the competition by pointing to a group of sites I've done. I don't publish client lists. I never link client sites together.

I think that any SEO who doesn't pay attention to this is careless, and is knowingly or unknowingly putting personal gain above his responsibilties to his clients. This has nothing to do with Google's guidelines or whether the links from client sites are voluntary or contractual.

There are of course many different kinds of SEO... and not all are really subject to reverse engineering. It's a judgement call what I mention to whom, even when I'm asked for references, but... if I had an SEO website myself... I'd never let a client link to me.
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Old 11-22-2006   #16
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I do agree with a lot of the reasons noted for being opposed. They are valid, just not universal. We have, at times, places such a link on approved client sites (and by approved I mean the client allowed it and it was not against their best interest to do so) and we have always received a steady stream of referrals. I see it as both an ad and a testimonial of your services on the client site itself.

In the right situations, I don't have a problem with it. In the wrong situations I do!
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Old 11-22-2006   #17
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You'll probably come up on a "similar pages" search of your client sites, I wouldn't want that, and if they were "up to speed" I'd suggest they wouldn't either...
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Old 11-27-2006   #18
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glengara... now that is a great argument against. This is somethign we have discussed/debated internally in the past. Thanks for briging this into the discussion.
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Old 11-27-2006   #19
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Is it relevant?

Consider this: Someone performs a search on Google and selects a suitable top-10 result to visit. It just so happens that this website is also an optimized site and the SEO is referenced on the home page.

Does the fact that this particular website was furnished to a searcher via search engine, with assistance from an SEO (that is the specific website in question was visible to the searcher due to SEO efforts), then make the link back to the SEO relevant?

Much in the way that Google promotes their lateral search features when presenting search results.

Is it not possible that the searcher is saying to themselves: "Hey I want to be found on the first page for _________, as well. How do I do that?"

Or could the link in some unfortunate instances even serve as a disclaimer: "This site was ranked well because of XYZ SEO not because it belongs there"

The work we do is very holistic and often involves a good deal of site overhaul to address usability, accessibility and profitability of the client's site, so I don't personally feel that it is wrong to reference our firm on our clients' sites so long as they are not opposed.

What do you all think?
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Old 11-27-2006   #20
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IMO G generally gives a fairly good latitude for website "misdemeanors" that may well not be given where there's an obvious SEO involvement...
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