An Interesting Narrative

Sep 10th

Long ago I mentioned that even if I didn't usually agree with Michal Martinez, that I thought he was exceptionally citation worthy. He recently offered up a blog post explaining his view of the recent evolution of SEO and link building in an article called Who Does Google Trust Now? I don't agree with many of the statements in the article, like:

Neither age of site nor age of links pointing to the site should really matter to how much a site can be trusted.

I believe that age matters. At least to some degree. I have an old domain which had no relevant anchor text (other than internal navigation) and few (perhaps no) quality links that ranks quite well in Google for competitive commercial queries.

In spite of not agreeing with some the article (and thinking portions of it might be a bit self-aggrandizing), I think Michael did a great job with the end of the article. The last few paragraphs rocked.

Simply getting links from free directories, article submission sites, reciprocal links, and other popular link sources will probably gradually extend the length of time new sites require to earn trust if for no other reason that they will only very slowly naturally attract links from trusted neighborhoods.

Exactly. When you focus on as much as you can get for free without building any value (and valuing your time at nothing) it takes an awful lot of pricing your time at free to catch up with established sites. Perhaps more time than you have left in your life. Why race toward the bottom?

The real question comes down to this: if I am correct, or close to correct, in my analysis, how long will it take for spammers and SEOs to develop methodologies that effectively poison the "good" (trusted) neighborhoods and force Google to develop some filtration methodology?

SEO and search constantly co-evolve. What Google trusts now is only temporary, and some SEOs have been building AHEAD of Google's shifts. And the search results show what is going on, so they will continue to be forced to change their algorithms. Nothing new there.

But poison is a harsh word. I don't think we should fault people for gaming the system. Google creates the game...we are just pawns that must move with the ebb and flow. As SEO gets harder those who know how to do it will get paid more. And one can argue that by manipulating search results we are helping keep the search engines sharp, forcing them to improve their algorithms.

Google is more profitable and has a larger effect on the web than you or I. People do not link as naturally as they once did (worrying about what the all powerful Google may think), Google is training some people about how to link to benefit Google, and Google has some people so brainwashed that they consider anyone disagreeing with Google's for profit agenda as spammers poisoning the web. Who's actions are poisoning the web?

Published: September 10, 2006

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Comments

September 10, 2006 - 3:22pm

Google gives a lot of weight on anchor internal anchor tags. I made an experiment with a brand new site in a not very competitive niche. I made some keywords go up 60 positions on SERPS just by adding internal anchor tags between some pages.

Regards,
JF

September 11, 2006 - 9:21am

Would that really work ? I had thought that Google would not give a lot of weight to links from the same domain ?

September 11, 2006 - 12:46pm

I agree with JF. Google does give weight to internal links. I am not a PR freak because I know that PR is nothing more to me than a few green pixels, but I too have run experiments on site wide relevant internal linking with almost no links pointing to those pages at all. (I would say totally, but there might be one here and there. ) What is interesting is that over a long period of time the PR for the couple of hundred pages never changed PR (most are a PR 5, but several are a PR 6.) What’s really interesting to me is that many of these pages went through a rank and tank phase and seem to have finally gained some kind of “trust” with Google serps. I am certain that serps will change, but for those pages I am referring to, I think one of 2 things may have occurred. Sandbox for subpages on an crusty old domain, or “no trust” in Google’s algo. Or perhaps it was both and my pages were rising and falling because they were relatively new at the time, but came out of the sandbox and gained trust? I guess I am stretching a bit, but I do agree that Google gives more weight on internal links. Another great post Aaron.

September 11, 2006 - 3:01pm

In my experience external links need to be involved on some level. Internal links can transfer that authority but the site cannot sustain relevance in a vacuum (that's probably stating the obvious, but I figured I'd mention it).

September 11, 2006 - 4:17pm

In my experience adding internal links is not relevant, you have to obtain external links from popular sites in order to increase the PR.

September 12, 2006 - 12:25am

I have to disagree with the previous comments. Do you really think Google will not count internal links in their algo?

So, does that mean that they do not pay attention to the text you use in your navigation or the anchor text used on a link from one page to another?

I know this technique has been extremely overused by SEOs but it still works. Maybe you did a test with your small site and didn't see any good results, but for ecommerce sites with thousands (or million) of pages, using "smart" internal links between related products pages do help.

September 12, 2006 - 11:05am

My test of internal anchor text was on a small site that had NO relevant external anchor text and the keyword phrases I was ranking for were not in the page title of the page that was ranking for a fairly competitive query.

And as of recently internal anchor text can count a bit more than most people give it credit for, IMHO.

September 13, 2006 - 9:13am

Hmmm......then wont it be easily abused by webmasters who can just load their sites with internal anchor text for SEO.

Also, I wonder this can be considered as blackhat SEO.

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