7 Points About Paid Links v.s. Editorial Links

What's the difference between "paid links" and "editorial links"? This is a critical thing to understand when you are trying to put together your link building strategy. This post will lay it out in clear terms that reflect my understanding after numerous dialogues with Google luminaries on the topic. A "paid link" is a link where compensation is provided in return for the link. Providing the link to you in these situations is mandatory, or else you don't provide the compensation. An "editorial link" ... Read More >

3 Surprises in the Google PageRank Update

Now this is beginning to look like a complete update. Previously on Search Engine Watch I reported that many new pages that had been added shortly after the last update had not been updated. Now those pages are beginning to show PageRank. Clearly this is a general update. The big news remains the apparent punishment in PageRank terms of sites which are selling links. What surprises me about this is not that Google did this, but three other things: It surprises me that they missed so many sites that ... Read More >

Problems with Anchor Text as a Ranking Signal

Periodically you see articles that talk about what the most important are for search engine ranking. One of the really good ones is the SEOmoz Search Engine Ranking Factors survey. Nearly every such article identifies anchor text used in links to your page as a major ranking factor. For example, only one factor got a higher score then anchor text (Keyword use in the Title tag got a higher score). But there is trouble in Wonderland. There are problems with placing a lot of weight on this particular ... Read More >

Some Clarity on Paid Links

Hoo boy, with that title, this better be good ... The paid links discussion raged hot and heavy at Search Engine Strategies San Jose last week. Whenever the debate comes up again, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation that gets put out there. Keeping in mind (here is the ritual disclaimer) that while I do not work for Google, and do not represent Google, this post will outline just a few components of how I believe this works. What the Issue Is Google's founders, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page, ... Read More >

Two Golden Rules of Blogging

Our blog is now more than 1 year old. In fact, our first post took place on August 5th, 2006, just before last year's SES San Jose. This post represents the 181st post on the blog. So to commemorate the anniversary of the blog, I thought I'd share a few metrics on how it's worked out for us, and then the why of it all. First, the metrics: On the day we opened the blog, our site showed 34 links in Yahoo!. You got it. 34. Today, we show 26,300 on Yahoo!. This is a pretty substantial growth over ... Read More >

15 Methods for Paid Link Detection

Many major SEO firms make it a standard practice to recommend the purchasing of links to their clients. The search engines actively discourage this practice, and do their level best to detect those paid links. Here are 15 things they can use as signals that a link is possibly a paid link: Links Labelled as Advertisements: The search engines can scan for nearby text, such as "Advertisement", "Sponsors", "Our Partners", etc. Site Wides: Site wide linking is unnatural, and should be a rare part of your ... Read More >

Interview with Google’s Adam Lasnik

Adam Lasnik and I spoke about paid links, duplicate content and more late last week. The paid links conversation was very interesting. One of the things that Adam made clear is that Google is not looking to detect 100% of paid links. Their focus is much more on the links that are being sold for the purpose of passing PageRank. We also talked about how the authenticated spam report form is going to be used. It turns out that this will not be used to decide on immediate penalties for sites that get ... Read More >

Webmaster Tools Shows Nofollow Links

Google Webmaster Tools recently added the neat capability of seeing a good solid list of inbound links to your site, and allowing you to download the entire list in a spreadsheet file. However, we recently noticed that these links include links from Yahoo! Answers. So here's the kicker. These links are NoFollowed. So Google is showing NoFollowed links in Webmaster Tools. So is Google providing link credit for these links? I doubt it. But it's really interesting that they are showing them at all. ... Read More >

University Site SPAM

Bill Slawski recently did a great post about University SPAM. He tried some smart queries that exposed how it is taking place: - site:.edu viagra - site:.edu cialis As you can see if you look at these queries, there is a lot of spam happening on university sites. What happens is that they have message boards that have been up on them for a long period of time, and people are manipulating these boards to their advantage. There are so many of these opportunities out there, you can see why people keep ... Read More >

10 Guidelines on How to Ask for a Link

Last week I did a post on Search Engine Watch about 11 guidelines for pursuing authoritative links. This post on SEW provides an overview about pursuing the highest value links from sites as part of a long campaign. And this is a great approach to pursuing links. However, there are other times when you do start the dialog with a site by simply asking for the link. I am not talking about those dreaded link swap request emails that we all get. I am talking about an email to tell another site owner about ... Read More >