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What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO is improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site or page from the search engines using natural organic and algorithmic search results (SERPs).

SEO is actually a component of SEM (Search Engine Marketing). Which encompasses many avenues with which to promote a web site or page.
If you have come here looking for SEO help, you have found a blog that can help you. There is much information here to be held and please feel free to comment anytime...Even with a question.

June 15, 2007

Identifying Bad Reciprocal, Paid, and Organic Backlinks

Backlinks and their "attributes" are seriously under fire right now. While one one hand many will say don't worry about your backlinks, you cannot control them. Google is pressing hard to make webmasters at least partially responsible for the content/reputation of your inbound links. That folks is the general direction of the TrustRank technology. I know that is a highly argued subject, I admit openly that is MY opinion. I have read countless articles, and I believe we are mid evolution on this. Back to task...Even though we cannot say your incoming "bad" backlinks of themselves will hurt you, they still can. Here's how...

  • They are from invalid or banned domains
  • They contain content unrelated to your own
  • They contain duplicate content
  • This last one happened to me a porn spider visits you and index say, over 100 of your pages, enough to dilute your relevant inbound links!

When these things happen, even if its an exercise in fruitlessness. Send and email and ask to be removed. Most will comply. I don't believe with organic search the PR is enough to cover any of these shortcomings, on the side of safe get rid of them.

How about reciprocal links...get in trouble for those bad links? Oh you bet! I'm reading Google has the technology to detect/trace link exchanges and reciprocal linking. Link exchanges are definitely out. I don't think we can discount reciprocal links totally at this point, but perhaps set some standards to keep Google from looking too closely.

  • Try to keep your reciprocal links to 10% of your links (choose quality ones)
  • Do not link with a site that will display your link in an I Frame
  • Do not link with a site that isn't going to use anchor & alt text
  • If you link them level 1 get level 1 in return
  • Link only to relevant sites
  • Look for PR 4 or higher
  • Check the Domain out for bans, duplicate pages, bad SEO techniques, and check their other outbound links.
  • Avoid dynamically designed pages
  • Check the page for a redirect that would move your link level perhaps from level 1 to level 5 or even a sub domain. (the page may even look the same, check the headers & dns)
  • The page loads slowly or times out often..this will give your own page a broken link error.
  • Check the meta information for a robots tag and make sure it is NOT a nofollow tag.
  • View the page source and make certain your link doesn't have a nofollow tag. If the source is protected use the tool on this page to view it anyhow.
  • Check the robots.txt to be certain the file and directory where your link is are not blocked. Additionally make sure googlebot is allowed. Just type in address bar to view the document.
  • If the page has more than 25 links its not good, more than 50 is bad, more than 100...move on you can do better.
  • If the website has quite a few links, make sure the are not numbered or alphabetized.

If you are linking with a site and they pull some of this on you, pull their link and tell them why...they will remove yours and you go find another. Linking is hard work.

I saved the best for last......Google has been trying its best to develop the technology to detect paid or purchased links with some success. On 6/12/2007 Google gave the Webmaster Tools a once over and added a couple things. They changed the look a little, re inclusion is now reconsideration form, and added a paid link report form. This is what Vanessa Fox says:

Links are an important signal in our PageRank calculations, as they tend to
indicate when someone has found a page useful. Links that are purchased are
great for advertising and traffic purposes, but aren't useful for PageRank
calculations. Buying or selling links to manipulate results and deceive search
engines violates our guidelines.

I have mixed feelings about his one. While you all know by now, I am a strong proponent for doing things by the book. In this case I am a little put off by the "tattle tail" routine, and worried about Google chasing false reports instead of processing reconsideration forms! I will NOT tell you its OK to continue to use paid links, but i will tell you the data I have found on how Google sees or detects paid links.

  • Buying links from sites/IPs in bad neighborhoods. ( tools and information)
  • Sites that point it out with anchor or plain text like sponsors, affiliates, partners, ads, etc.
  • If its not relevant
  • You bought the link from a well known site

Seriously, even before the report form you could get reported so easily. Someone quits the firm and turns them in, the site you used gets busted, so many ways to get caught. With the high PR value and Tagging ability of some of the social bookmarking trends right now, there is no reason to buy links. Read this to get started build organic links with Social Bookmarking and Blogging.

Peace and SEO