Friday, July 11, 2008

Linking Pyramids

Google and many other sites DO NOT want you to have hidden links, trick search bots, or have linking pyramids. So in an effort to help everyone understand the value of GOOD Search Engine Optimization, I have attached a few other posts on these topics and how to steer clear of this bad strategy before Google Black Lists you. If you don't believe me I have attached the article on the subject that comes straight from the horses mouth (so to speak) ...from Google that is:

Link schemes

Article by Google Webmaster Tools.

Your site's ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity. However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site's ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

  • Links intended to manipulate PageRank
  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.")
  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank

The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page's visitors?

It is not only the number of links you have pointing to your site that matters, but also the quality and relevance of those links. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the buzzing blogger community can be an excellent place to generate interest. In addition, submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

Once you've made your changes and are confident that your site no longer violates our guidelines, submit your site for reconsideration.

If you'd like to discuss this with Google, or have ideas for how we can better communicate with you about it, please post in our webmaster discussion forum.

Pyramid Linking Strategies

Two days ago I posted a teaser on this topic where I said "So what does one do to prevent ones "network of sites" from being stripped of its link passing rights? Well, be smart about how you link and why you link. Think about how most sites naturally obtain links and go from it from that angle. ". (I wonder if it is appropriate to quote myself?...) Unfortunately I won't be able to disclose the name person I met with this past Monday, the individual seems to be a little worried that Google is reading this site and will devalue his linking methods manually. Having said that, this person's daily focus and energy goes towards link building strategies.

During our conversation we discussed how he goes about building links for his clients. He tends not to go the paid route, but he said he had done so many times in the past and will do so in the future. His real reason for meeting me, I think, was to exchange links (please dont email me to exchange links, I do not participate in any link exchanges).

We then got into how he has been developing a network of portals of which contain links to many quality sites and his clients sites. None of these sites directly link to each other, they all link in a triangular fashion. For example, one might create Site A, B and C. Site A will link to Site B, Site B will link to Site C and site C will link to site A. You will never find Site A link to Site B AND Site B link to Site A.

To effectively implement such a strategy, this person has created and is creating "portal sites." The portal sites will be on specific topics and contain links to high-level ODP and Yahoo! directory sites, you won't normally find deep-level sites listed in the portal sites. He then adds links from the portal to his clients sites that relate to that topic. So a portal on computers will have links to the top computer sites in ODP and Yahoo! directories and also to his client's sites.

He then tries to get free and paid links to the portal sites that are on-topic to those sites. As you can imagine, it is much easier getting links to a portal site then it would be to an e-commerce type of site.

Now he has these portal sites with quality links from on topic sites. He then links out to his on-topic client sites from the portal. He might link a portal to an other portal but never link a client site back to the same portal. This way he starts to build this complex pyramid linking structure.

The only complaint I have about the way he is doing this is that it is currently not all managed in some type of unified linking database application. As the portals and linking schemes grow, it will continue to become more complex. He is managing now but I wonder for how long. I tend to be bias, because anything I do, is done with efficiency in mind through the use of Web technologies.

For more information on this topic and more relating to your SEO visit:

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Go Daddy and Google offer ...


Webmaster Guidelines

Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the "Quality Guidelines," which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise penalized. If a site has been penalized, it may no longer show up in results on or on any of Google's partner sites.

When your site is ready:

  • Have other relevant sites link to yours.
  • Submit it to Google at
  • Submit a Sitemap as part of our Google Webmaster Tools. Google uses your Sitemap to learn about the structure of your site and to increase our coverage of your webpages.
  • Make sure all the sites that should know about your pages are aware your site is online.
  • Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.

Design and content guidelines

  • Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
  • Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.
  • Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.
  • Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't recognize text contained in images.
  • Make sure that your TITLE tags and ALT attributes are descriptive and accurate.
  • Check for broken links and correct HTML.
  • If you decide to use dynamic pages (i.e., the URL contains a "?" character), be aware that not every search engine spider crawls dynamic pages as well as static pages. It helps to keep the parameters short and the number of them few.
  • Keep the links on a given page to a reasonable number (fewer than 100).

Technical guidelines

  • Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If fancy features such as JavaScript, cookies, session IDs, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site.
  • Allow search bots to crawl your sites without session IDs or arguments that track their path through the site. These techniques are useful for tracking individual user behavior, but the access pattern of bots is entirely different. Using these techniques may result in incomplete indexing of your site, as bots may not be able to eliminate URLs that look different but actually point to the same page.
  • Make sure your web server supports the If-Modified-Since HTTP header. This feature allows your web server to tell Google whether your content has changed since we last crawled your site. Supporting this feature saves you bandwidth and overhead.
  • Make use of the robots.txt file on your web server. This file tells crawlers which directories can or cannot be crawled. Make sure it's current for your site so that you don't accidentally block the Googlebot crawler. Visit to learn how to instruct robots when they visit your site. You can test your robots.txt file to make sure you're using it correctly with the robots.txt analysis tool available in Google Webmaster Tools.
  • If your company buys a content management system, make sure that the system can export your content so that search engine spiders can crawl your site.
  • Use robots.txt to prevent crawling of search results pages or other auto-generated pages that don't add much value for users coming from search engines.

Quality guidelines

These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here (e.g. tricking users by registering misspellings of well-known websites). It's not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn't included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.

If you believe that another site is abusing Google's quality guidelines, please report that site at Google prefers developing scalable and automated solutions to problems, so we attempt to minimize hand-to-hand spam fighting. The spam reports we receive are used to create scalable algorithms that recognize and block future spam attempts.

Quality guidelines - basic principles

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines. Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as "cloaking."
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you'd feel comfortable explaining what you've done to a website that competes with you. Another useful test is to ask, "Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn't exist?"
  • Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.
  • Don't use unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, etc. Such programs consume computing resources and violate our Terms of Service. Google does not recommend the use of products such as WebPosition Gold™ that send automatic or programmatic queries to Google.

Quality guidelines - specific guidelines

If you determine that your site doesn't meet these guidelines, you can modify your site so that it does and then submit your site for reconsideration.

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