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Old 02-09-2005   #1
I, Brian
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Links can now penalise?

Curious observation - some companies with a strong interest in marketing their sites via link advertising seem to have suffered in this update.

I'm especially thinking of a number of smaller SEO companies who no longer rank for their own name.

It's almost like watching sandboxing - but this time for established sites - where pages that simply containing a link to a company rank higher than the company itself.

Is there an argument to be made that Google has assigned some form of negative value to links?

Of course, it could just be a bug - but have Google otherwise opened up a market where you can attack a company from the SERPs by setting up links for it?
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Old 02-09-2005   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian
Curious observation - some companies with a strong interest in marketing their sites via link advertising seem to have suffered in this update.

I'm especially thinking of a number of smaller SEO companies who no longer rank for their own name.

It's almost like watching sandboxing - but this time for established sites - where pages that simply containing a link to a company rank higher than the company itself.

Is there an argument to be made that Google has assigned some form of negative value to links?

Of course, it could just be a bug - but have Google otherwise opened up a market where you can attack a company from the SERPs by setting up links for it?

This same thing happened during the Florida update. I think it was an unintended effect of the algo change, as the problem slowly disappeared (mostly) over the next couple of months. I look for the same thing to happen this time around.
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Old 02-09-2005   #3
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Not sure yet. I have seen some major spammy type directories now hit page 1 for competitive terms. I did a quick check into this and the few that I checked appeared to have site wide ads on other properties. We just need to wait and see.
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Old 02-09-2005   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian
have Google otherwise opened up a market where you can attack a company from the SERPs by setting up links for it?
Brian - are you asking / suggesting that Google will penalize a site based on who links TO it?? They could never do that (since none of us control who links to us). Or am I misreading your thoughts?
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Old 02-09-2005   #5
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Just noticed one of the usual suspects is MIA, but calling his linkage strategy "a strong interest in marketing their sites via link advertising" is being extremely charitable.

IMO suspect pattern IBLs can affect a site if other links schemes are in play.
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Old 02-09-2005   #6
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Originally Posted by pleeker
are you asking / suggesting that Google will penalize a site based on who links TO it?? They could never do that (since none of us control who links to us).
thats the idealism they preach, but in a real world environment its just not true.

they do penalize many sites based on who links to them.
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Old 02-09-2005   #7
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*they do penalize many sites based on who links to them.*

You'd want to qualify that before you start a panic, Aaron.. ;-)
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Old 02-09-2005   #8
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Originally Posted by seobook
thats the idealism they preach, but in a real world environment its just not true.

they do penalize many sites based on who links to them.
I respectfully, but adamently disagree.

99% of the time, a situation that is perceived to be an example of an inbound link is causing a site to be penalized usually has some other contributing factor that is the "true" cause of filtering or penalization.

The only real world case (that I have observed) where an inbound link could cause penalization would be a redirect link from a "shadow" or "landing" page that is contained within the same domain.

The nature of search engines (citation ranking) only allows an inbound link to have a positive(+) or neutral (0) effect. An inbound link may prove to be devalued or completely worthless in terms of a serps boost, etc... but it will not caused you to be banned.

You can test this for yourself. Go to virtually any large media site (like a corporate sports or news site) and you'll find all sorts of "bad" inbound links that should theoretically have a negative effect.

Since inbound links can often be unsolicited, search engines put a system in place that will not allow inbound links to "penalize" the site that is on the receiving end.

Otherwise, unscrupulous webmasters, would spend their days manufacturing "bad" inbound links that they could point at their competitors, thereby causing their competitors to get "penalized".
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Old 02-09-2005   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo guzman
I respectfully, but adamently disagree.

99% of the time, a situation that is perceived to be an example of an inbound link is causing a site to be penalized usually has some other contributing factor that is the "true" cause of filtering or penalization.

The only real world case (that I have observed) where an inbound link could cause penalization would be a redirect link from a "shadow" or "landing" page that is contained within the same domain.
simply not true. some sites have rented links from high profile sites and quickly been delisted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo guzman
The nature of search engines (citation ranking) only allows an inbound link to have a positive(+) or neutral (0) effect. An inbound link may prove to be devalued or completely worthless in terms of a serps boost, etc... but it will not caused you to be banned.
that is a rather authoritative opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo guzman
You can test this for yourself. Go to virtually any large media site (like a corporate sports or news site) and you'll find all sorts of "bad" inbound links that should theoretically have a negative effect.
its not just the quality of the link but also how powerful and on topic the link is. if the link is too "good" then it could turn out to be a bad thing for your rankings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugo guzman
Since inbound links can often be unsolicited, search engines put a system in place that will not allow inbound links to "penalize" the site that is on the receiving end.

Otherwise, unscrupulous webmasters, would spend their days manufacturing "bad" inbound links that they could point at their competitors, thereby causing their competitors to get "penalized".
otherwise, unscrupulous webmasters would 302 redirect, etc. cheaper to redirect than it is to rent links to penalize people.
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Old 02-09-2005   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seobook
simply not true. some sites have rented links from high profile sites and quickly been delisted.


that is a rather authoritative opinion.


its not just the quality of the link but also how powerful and on topic the link is. if the link is too "good" then it could turn out to be a bad thing for your rankings.


otherwise, unscrupulous webmasters would 302 redirect, etc. cheaper to redirect than it is to rent links to penalize people.
You and I both know that those 302 redirect "hijackings" a relatively few and far inbetween, and that they only work when the jacker attempts to jack a "weaker" site than his/her own. Also, you are comparing apples to oranges...these 302 hijackings are about tricking the search engines into giving credit to the wrong domain, not about penalizing a domain due to an inbound link.

"simply not true. some sites have rented links from high profile sites and quickly been delisted."...give me a concrete example...like I said many seo's are quick to assign blame on an inbound link when in reality the culprit is something else entirely.

"its not just the quality of the link but also how powerful and on topic the link is. if the link is too "good" then it could turn out to be a bad thing for your rankings."...relevancy is key, but your assertion about a link being "too good" is simply not verifiable.

Again, an engine may devalue an inbound link due to irrelevance (or in the case of sitewide text link ads) but they do not penalize (drop your rankings).

Feel free to list examples that you think refute my stance...
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Old 02-09-2005   #11
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"simply not true. some sites have rented links from high profile sites and quickly been delisted."...give me a concrete example...
Hugo - http://searchenginewatch.com/serepor...le.php/2165111

Bob Massa is a member here. He may be able to provide much more insight.
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Old 02-09-2005   #12
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...

Thanks for the tidbit. However, this is a bit outdated (2002) and this deals with site that "explicitly sold links for the purposes of increasing pagerank".

According to Google's terms of service, any linking scheme designed to artificially increase pagerank is forbidden (whether this scheme be reciprocal based, text link ad based, redirect hijacking based, etc...)

This is why reputable text link ad or reciprocal link portals such as linkadage, linksmanager, etc...take the time to point out that their product/service should not and cannot be used with the explicit purpose of increasing pagerank.

If I solicit reciprocal links to increase my visibility on the internet, but I get the positive byproduct of these links (an increase in SERPs and PR) I am not violating google's terms of service, but if I am maniacally soliciting reciprocal links in an attempt to "artificially" increase my backlink count and PR then I am (in a sense) violating google's terms of service..am I not?
The same logic applies to text link ads.

This is why acquiring inbound links (whether reciprocal or text link ad) should be done in a natural manner with special attention placed on relevancy.

But I digress...the point of my post is that google does not penalize sites based on inbound links (which may or may not be unsolicited). Your example, while interesting, is dated and applies to a situation were PR was being explicitly bought and sold.
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Old 02-09-2005   #13
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A thread over at TW suggests a surprising amount of SEO sites have been hit.

Assuming they knew what they were doing, the common factor could well be IBL based...
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Old 02-09-2005   #14
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Actually, I have read posts and spoke personally with several "large" SEOs that have been hit...and it seems like the common thread is the serving of "landing" or "shadow" pages that up until now were not inducing any penalties.

One such case, which is clearly documented over at seochat, occured to a successful seo firm that had nearly 100 clients and had successfully served these "content" (i.e. landing) pages without any problem for years.

Again, offer me up some concrete examples of inbound links hurting a site...every time that one gets offered up someone is able to find other esoteric factors that have nothing to do with inbound links.
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Old 02-09-2005   #15
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Quote:
google does not penalize sites based on inbound links (which may or may not be unsolicited). Your example, while interesting, is dated and applies to a situation were PR was being explicitly bought and sold.
Quote:
Again, offer me up some concrete examples of inbound links hurting a site...every time that one gets offered up someone is able to find other esoteric factors that have nothing to do with inbound links.
So Hugo - are you saying that inbound links have nothing to do with pagerank?
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Old 02-09-2005   #16
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I didn't see those posts, so can't comment...

*someone is able to find other esoteric factors*

As you say, there are nearly always other factors involved.

But then G's valuation of a linkage pattern seems to work on a cumulative basis, IMO suspect IBL patterns can, when other links schemes are in play, tip the balance.
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Old 02-09-2005   #17
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So Hugo - are you saying that inbound links have nothing to do with pagerank?
No. I'm saying that google applies positive or neutral weight to inbound links. In other words, and inbound link might help you (in terms of seo) or do nothing at all (devalued links such as run-of-site text links), but it won't get you penalized or banned.

Not all backlinks are created equally (we all know this), but inbound links in and of themselves aren't what cause sites to fall in the serps or get banned.
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Old 02-09-2005   #18
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I didn't see those posts, so can't comment...

*someone is able to find other esoteric factors*

As you say, there are nearly always other factors involved.

But then G's valuation of a linkage pattern seems to work on a cumulative basis, IMO suspect IBL patterns can, when other links schemes are in play, tip the balance.
Interesting thought...
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Old 02-09-2005   #19
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that would make sense but still too risky to remove (or heavily penalise) sites via the algo over this. You shouldn't be penalized for links because the algo can't tell if the money exchanged hands or not, who paid for it or why the link was bought.

There are a few websites that must have at least 50 sitewide links (in the moving business), but they're still ranking extremely high. Doesn't mean that they will not get caught later on if this is true.


Quote:
Originally Posted by glengara
I didn't see those posts, so can't comment...

*someone is able to find other esoteric factors*

As you say, there are nearly always other factors involved.

But then G's valuation of a linkage pattern seems to work on a cumulative basis, IMO suspect IBL patterns can, when other links schemes are in play, tip the balance.
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Old 02-10-2005   #20
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i don't think they are putting bad IBL's against you either. i'd have to see proof on this.

if it's true ... then go ahead and blogspam your competitors into the trashcan.
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