2004 Search Year in Review, Selling Out, Linking Schemes & Semantics

Dec 24th

The Passing Years:
Battelle reviews his predictions for 2004 and posts his predictions for 2005. Peter D reviews search in 2004. Search engines release their top searches of 2004.

Kottke posts his favorite links of 2004. Good posts like Radiohead in there - can't believe I got to see them this yr :)

Doodles:
Guy trashes Google's Doodle and gets called out on their blog. Wondering if there is something I can say to Google to get them to link to me from their blog?

Quality feedback (both positive and negative) is a good link building strategy for many. Too bad Google did not serve up a link :(

Selling Out:
iProspect nets 32 million dollars
InfoSearch Media goes public in a reverse merger
SEO Book.com acquired by <-- joking ;)

Linking Schemes:
Google slowed the spread of selling PageRank when they penalized SearchKing, but now there are a bunch of easy (and sometimes cheap) ways to build linkage data which manipulate search results:

  • blog comment spam (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)

  • legitimate blog comments (free)
  • blogrolls (free)
  • trackbacks (free)
  • wiki spamming (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)
  • forum spamming (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)
  • guestbook spamming (free - other than bandwidth costs and potential reputation costs)
  • leaving testimonials (free - other than potential reputation costs)
  • tell someone just how awful they are (free - other than potential reputation costs)
  • writing press releases (free - other than the time it takes to write. to distribute on some of the release sites there might be a small fee)
  • renting links from websites (cheap - sometimes you can get links from sites for well under their market value. some bloggers and the like may sell links for $5 to $10 a month)
  • renting links from brokers or a third party link renting site (usually a bit more expensive than some of the other options, but you are paying for convenience, and they may get you on some sites that you could not have afforded if you had to pay that site directly)
  • registering in directories (usually free or cheap one off payments)
  • participating in community linking programs (free or cheap)
  • support non profits and the like for links (free or cheap - It doesn't cost me anything to give away my ebook or for a software vendor to give away software. some charities may also provide long lasting or perminant links for a one off fee.)
  • general reciprocal links (free - other than time)
  • using RSS to get a ton of links (free)
  • creating your own link network (cheap - only need to pay hosting and design costs - though if you create link scheme networks you will want to have a good number of them that are not cross connected so if your network gets penalized you still have other income sources.)
  • buying out old sites and fixing them up (cheap - I have been offered top level category sites in DMOZ which were one of the top three or four sites in their category as ordered by PageRank in the Google Directory for a one off $2,000 fee.)
  • buying out old community sites and entering them into community linking programs (cheap)
  • renting links on a site and entering those link slots into a community linking program (cheap - pay for links from one site and get links from a wide variety of sites.)
  • actually posting things people would want to link to (free)
  • lots of other stuff I probably forgot to post...

Google slowed the spread of selling PageRank when they penalized SearchKing, but there are a bunch of easy (and often cheap) ways to build linkage data.

What constitutes a linking scheme? What makes one link valid and another one not? Automated, deceptive, and "for the user" are easy words to use, but then there are also legitimate and cheap techniques that have exceptional power over relevancy. At the end of the day it is just a game of semantics.

Many people say PPI directories are rubbish - but that's what Yahoo is and unfortunately people pay to list there.

We can say 'well Yahoo isn't an intentional manipulation of PageRank' (or in a special class) - well what makes them special?

The fact that they played the game of the web early and now a leader is the answer :source

Christmas Cards & Gifts:
Thanks to those who sent me cards and stuff - I appreciate it. I still have not went to the post office with any of the cards and stuff I bought, so the ones I send out - if I ever send them out - will be new years cards ;)

I actually do not feel as Screwdgelike as I normally do, I just have been scatterbrained and a bit busy.

Thanks to

  • those who gave me good ideas;

  • those who taught me;
  • those who inspired me;
  • those who helped me;
  • those who invited me to hang out;
  • those who brought me to the best curry in the world;
  • those who recommended me;
  • those who gave me feedback;
  • those who told me when I was all hosed up;
  • those who bought my ebook;
  • those who worked with me; &
  • those who are reading this post.
Published: December 24, 2004

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Comments

John Reedy
January 1, 2005 - 9:48pm

Very interesting article on linking. However, you don't seem to let on one way or another how you feel about the linking methods you describe. Why is that?

January 2, 2005 - 11:43am

>you don't seem to let on one way or another how you feel about the linking methods you describe. Why is that?

I stated "At the end of the day it is just a game of semantics."

That is something I truely believe. IMHO its just an issue of balance.

January 5, 2005 - 2:11pm

Linking is very time consuming. I am thinking about outsourcing some of our processes like the linking campaigns to china for instance. the process can be easily specified and automated, and it would cost us £100/month (this is a good salary over there).

January 5, 2005 - 2:24pm

>Linking is very time consuming.

legitimately building value and social relationships almost always is.

>the process can be easily specified and automated, and it would cost us £100/month

you only need a few of the right kinds of links. some parts can be automated, but you need to make sure they are not destroying your brand and some of the links you will want to get will be nearly impossible to get via automated or outsourced mechanisms.

August 29, 2007 - 10:41pm

Thank you for such a great review! All these tips are extremely useful for a SEO beginner like me. Thanks again!

NewGuy
May 30, 2006 - 7:39am

I am really sry to bring this post back alive after so long but i have a question that i cant find an answer too.

Would it be a linking scheme if you were to use sites such as myspace or any other free hosting company out there, to create links back to your site?

May 30, 2006 - 7:49am

It is all a game of perception.

Would what you are doing look like a shady footprint to an algorithm? Would humans think it was authentic and legitimate?

Many ways to sell similar ideas of varying levels of shadiness. It is all about how you sell it, and then just evaluating the risk to reward ratio.

NewGuy
May 30, 2006 - 8:20am

Thanks Aaron

This makes alot of sense.

For me personally, I am turned off and tend not to go any further on sites that use myspace and similar sites to do advertising.

The reward is much higher to me when making legit posts in forums, blogs and creating sites with real content from purchased domains than using free ones. And after reading more articles on this blog (write naturally) Alot more makes sense now as well.

Thanks for your dedication

March 14, 2007 - 11:22pm

For being 3 years old, this isn't 100% irrelevant, still some good tips in there!

December 28, 2004 - 10:22pm

I have a question. I understand that links to directories can help a site's pagerank. I am a little confused about linking schemes though. For example, if I have a couple of related sites and I start a directory service, would it be a linking scheme if I list my two sites on my directory along with other sites?

December 29, 2004 - 5:57pm

Thanks for the great article, I don't understand some methods though. Building links is very boring and difficult, stopped doing it for quite a while. I thought coop was a good solution, but removed it due to a couple of disadvantages.

December 29, 2004 - 9:54pm

>if I have a couple of related sites and I start a directory service, would it be a linking scheme if I list my two sites on my directory along with other sites?

probably not in most situations IMHO...

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