Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Building link-based popularity

The recent post on building link-based popularity from the webmaster central blog has confused me no end.

It seems to say that link baiting (perhaps earned via will be discounted, whilst it still references Matt Cutts January 2006 article linkbait and linkbaiting, which itself appeared to say that link baiting isn't a bad thing.
To sum up, even though improved algorithms have promoted a transition away from paid or exchanged links towards earned organic links, there still seems to be some confusion within the market about what the most effective link strategy is. So when taking advice from your SEO consultant, keep in mind that nowadays search engines reward sweat-of-the-brow work on content that bait natural links given by choice.

However, if you link bait, and get links in, isn't that by their choice? Or is the sudden frequency of those links an indicator that the links shouldn't be counted or the PR earned discounted. It doesn't include the idea that a linker could add rel=nofollow to their links to let search engines know not to pass on any PR.

So the question we face as "web masters" trying to work social networks and improve our PageRank and SEO is, will Google discount links in they feel are from link bait? One day will they punish the receiving site in any other way? I recently had a PR 4 site penalised 30 places (and more), and then a couple of weeks later dropped out of google completely. This was either for duplicate content or for having the content looking too close to the ads (and vice versa). Traffic is now minimal. If google punish you, then it hurts.

Personally, I think gain the links you want! Do what make sense, do what makes sense for your site, for your audience. If you get links in from sites in a similar "vertical" that's great, if you get a link in from sites outside your area, then that may not be counted by google, that's not a problem. Be aware if you have thousands of links in from link farms and bad areas, then you may get punished.

No comments: