Fear of Linking

28 comments
Source Title:
Search Engine Guidelines Scare Webmasters
Story Text:

If you've been around the Search fora for a little while you'll recognize Barry's point about the Google webmaster guidelines and the fear they inspire in newbies. As Barry says, it's sad, and it's something i've been intermittently banging on about since 2002 - All this FUD, and misinformation Google have been putting about for years is bad, really bad - and I don't think it will be long before the blog puppies start getting a taste of it, i really hope they do becuase i've been looking forward to a larger recognition of a few ugly Google truths for a long time now....

This poor chap is afraid to link his sites together

I mean, fucking hell, just think about that for a moment. What has it come to when people are afraid to link their damn sites together? I can see from Barry's post, that he feels the same way, exaperated and just a touch angry about such stuff...

Comments

There are even webmasters

There are even webmasters who don't want ANY links.... Or is that just a form of reverse psychology?

dontlink.com

... the dontlink.com site is actually just pointing out stupid linking policies, it is not objecting to inbounds itself.

Don't Link to Us! links to sites that attempt to impose substantial restrictions on other sites that link to them.

In my experience it's mostly media sites (newspapers, etc) that don't want people linking in (read: "that just don't get it"), so I was surprised to find eg. "Orbitz", "ExxonMobil", "NYSE" and others.

Added / Edited:
This post no longer links to the site - not for fear of linking, but because it appears that the site is last updated on "November 10, 2002"

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Oh, and it goes without saying (as the saying goes, but then, in this case it apparently does not) that Nick is totally right.

Search Engines should not dictate who you should link to or not link to.

Scary Stuff

If you're afraid of linking to your own sites, link to mine instead. I'm not scared. :)

heh claus, I like to link to

heh claus, I like to link to "hubs", and this was one listing webmasters that don't have a clue. It was a bit off-topic though, because the "poor chap" mentioned in the OP clearly DOES have a clue. It's just that he pulled his tin-foil hat a bit too far over his ears.

Why doesn't anyone of all you SEW members 'round here give this guy a proper answer then...?

you dictate it...

you dictate it I'll go say "Wit says; ...."

I looked at that thread and was too depressed to even respond to it.

OK...

If it were SEOChat, I'd say something like this:

" Don't be afraid to interlink four on-topic sites of your own, especially if they're of decent quality. It is nigh-impossible to get banned for interlinking on a small scale, and it's highly unlikely to even get the littlest of penalties.

Just don't make the (subtle) interlinking coincide with some REAL questionable stuff...

Remember that reports for being banned after cross-linking often don't mention that the links were to/from badly cloaked or auto-gen sites, ringing dozen of alarm bells even without the cross-links. Start to worry as soon as you have 30 sites on the subject ;) "

Ahh well

Let the unwashed (uneducated) masses think what they want, it will just make any good linking strategy that much better with less competition.

there you go Wit

That'll confuse the poor guy even more :)

I mean, fucking hell, just

Quote:
I mean, fucking hell, just think about that for a moment. What has it come to when people are afraid to link their damn sites together? I can see from Barry's post, that he feels the same way, exaperated and just a touch angry about such stuff...

Unfortunately, we at forums have been dealing with these same types of questions for years. Will I be penalized for _________?

I don't know why everyone thinks they will be penalized and banned for so many things. I guess a big part of it is tons of misinformation on many forums and in many articles. That definitely doesn't help matters.

It does get exasperating having to say over and over again that you don't get banned and penalized unless you are trying to trick/deceive the search engines in some way.

>I don't know why everyone

>I don't know why everyone thinks they will be penalized and banned for so many things. I guess a big part of it is tons of misinformation on many forums and in many articles. That definitely doesn't help matters.

a few reasons why lots of people are afraid of being penalized:

  • Google's own site getting hijacked in their search results.
  • Google doing things like rolling in filters that temporarily prevent sites like Paypal ranking for their own names.

Not to mention

Not to mention the interlinking penalties discussed at WMW some years ago without ever mentioning, as Wit noted, "that the links were to/from badly cloaked or auto-gen sites, ringing dozen of alarm bells even without the cross-links."

>> same types of questions for years

I love any question which starts with "is it illegal to______?"

Seriously it is worrying when people think they might be arrested for keyword stuffing their alt tags.

>>they might be arrested

Hmm - must find a country that doesn't have an extradition treaty with Google.

Just Talking...

We were just talking about this in the office yesterday. I'm getting scared as hell to link to other sites because I don't know if they are doing some sort of spamming that I don't know about. I wouldn't want my site penalized for another site's nonsens. I'm not to that point yet, but just the thought shows a problem with the current system.

Thanks for the relay,

Thanks for the relay, Gurtie.

Sorry if my opinion was "bogus" according to some. Hope it didn't hurt your reputation too much ;-]

hurt my rep?

yeah, I had 5 bars before I posted that ;)

See I really am depressed by that thread - normally I would get over there and tell them(him) how full of it I think they are - I can't even work up the enthusiasm for a little sarcasm.

who, bob?

who, bob?

I think that - following

I think that - following your Small Plastic Trumpet trophy - there's need for a Tin-foil Balaclava-style Hat trophy. Sheesh, I thought Í was a careful SEO...

Yeah, if you couldn't link

Yeah, if you couldn't link sites together, me, barry, danny, aaron and dozens of other bloggers would be in a lot of trouble eh?

There's barely a day goes by that i dont link to barry for example, and vice versa...

But then, bob likes to calculate tbpr and dpr to 10 decimal places, and put's an enormous amount of importance on it so for me, 'nuff said....

oh it's much more fun now

Upsetting two people in one post is an achievement even for me (although I did have Wits help I guess)... shame I'm off out really, but I'll make sure to pop back in there and take my beating a bit later :)

There should be fear of linking...

But these folks are fearing the wrong part of linking, IMO. They think that only a site that is using search engine questionable linking is dangerous, not true.

Even the cleanest most ethical site can harm you by linking to you, if they do it wrong and your site is not protected.
(and that is all I am gonna say in public forum about this.)

To be fair...

If you have four sites ranking well for the same keyword(s), I wouldn't be interlinking them either. Which is an entirely different matter from 4 independent SE blogs linking to one another...

If I had four sites which were complementary I would have no problem with linking them.

Part of the problem (that leads to what NickW is complaining about) is people's misuse of the concept of "penalizing" when they actually mean "not ranking as well as they did before".

Which in turn leads to the people referred to being frightened of "penalties".

Penalties, Filters, and the Sandbox

Get the blame for every non-ranking site, or drop in rankings.

It is really sad how much fear and misinformation effects people new to SEO (and even those who have been around quite a while)

Penalty - You'll know it when you really see it...please stop asking.

Filter - Algorithm variable (are they up to thousands yet?) Please try to isolate the data before you make overgeneralized conclusions based on the daily changes of your single site.

Sandbox - Excuse for new sites that don't perform well, along with age variables.

Paranoia

I thought I had seen every rationale for drops in ranking until I saw this on WMW today

Quote:
After being re-instated as editor for several Dmoz categories after a long absence, within a week or two I found a number of my sites had dropped in rank. They had already dropped a fair way, but this was a considerable percentage drop.

Is it possible that Google would penalize an editor who had many sites in the ODP, sites which had been there since last century?

shakes head and heads for the hard liquor.

Google doesn't dictate who

Google doesn't dictate who you link to, and the guidelines are very straightforward. The FUD comes up from all the frantic reading of secret dark arts formulas into simple sentences. People linking to their own sites is like someone looking in the mirror saying "I'm so cute". Pardon me if I don't give that vote much value.

Yes, but ...

Yes, but isn't that the precise problem with counting all links as "votes for" pages?

Say you (generic "you") have a company website for consumers and, say, a related blog or industry-oriented site. Nothing weird about linking them together. It would be weird not to do so.

Placing "value" on links for purposes of ranking is precisely what lands Google in this mess. Maybe it's one way to move past on-page optimization, but it surely isn't perfect, especially when there's a fallacy built into the equation. Literally.

But we do not have to assume the same fallacy, because it demonstrably isn't true that a link is a recommendation in every case. Nor is the opposite true.

nothing wierd at all.

>>Nothing weird about linking them together. It would be weird not to do so.

exactly. If Google were really clever it would be working out that sites which should naturally link but don't are probably being over SEO'd in other ways.

I have no problem with the 'votes' being devalued if the sites are connected but when you have a client who sells, say, mens clothing and kids clothing, then different sites is sensible but it's pretty strange if they don't have some crosslinks.

And Google has no problem with crosslinks

Google has problems with using links to artificially improve ranking. Its just the FUD that takes a clear concept and ends up with a guy wondering about an editor profile.

Google isn't in a mess for placing value on links. It's an important and very good concept. Likewise looking in the mirror saying "I am so cute" is a valid vote, if not all that compelling. What isn't valid, and is what Google talks about is, is Mary calling a radio talk show ten times, disguising her voice and saying her name is John, Harold, Mabel, etc, and saying "Mary is so cute". That is just pretending. Google says not to do that.

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