Making External Links Become Internal Links

Aug 22nd

As high authority sites attract brand advertisers many of their owners look for ways to create additional pageviews to further scale their businesses. I offered a few tips on how to do that here, but an annoying trend that has recently swept across the web is turning external links into internal links.

If you look at blog mentions on Technorati it is hard to get to the page actually linking to you. Technorati mixes in outbound links and Technorati profile pages without differentiating between the two. Some people are also creating thin sister sites, using bait and switch linking. The Wikipedia practice of link hoarding is just starting to spread. How long until the mainstream media companies create thin review sections and start publishing pages or stubs about everything?

Published: August 22, 2007

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Comments

August 22, 2007 - 12:34pm

Most certainly, I notice a lot of well branded, more high authority type websites have advertising on them, but to me its not worth it if your trying to promote your own product then it killing your brand, but then again it depends.

August 22, 2007 - 3:09pm

I agree. I see this trend being practiced on poplar blogs like techcrunch and valleywag as well, where they link the name of the companies or people being mentioned to an aggregate page. This type of practice might make sense and add values on publications like wikipedia but they way it's being (mis)used elsewhere annoys the users and leave you with an impression that the site owner is trying to pump up their pageview and ad impressions.

Andrew Miller
August 22, 2007 - 3:45pm

It's further evidence of the evolution of online media into mainstream media. I actually blogged this yesterday. Reality TV shows (Idol, America's Got Talent, etc) cram several unnecessary commercial breaks into a broadcast to try to make up for their shrinking audiences. Annoying, yes. But TV's captive audiences aren't really paying attention to commercials anyway. It's no surprise that 30 minutes of content is stretched to 2 hours.

Large online media companies are beginning to use some of the same tactics by unnecessarily prolonging session times, increasing page views, and subjecting visitors to interstitial ads. Your point about internal vs. external links is just one more example.

Online audiences are not captive and not usually willing to endure multiple interruptions or other distractions, so hopefully this trend is short lived and web users will speak out by using the path of least resistance. Unfortunately I don't think that will be the case, and big media will continue to migrate their offline tactics online.

August 22, 2007 - 5:07pm

So is SEO (and google really) killing the web?

I mean if you take any type of "seo" out of the equation, why would anyone have a site structured this way?

But because of Google prominence and the way they rank sites, sites will only become more "useless" like this.

August 22, 2007 - 8:54pm

I mean if you take any type of "seo" out of the equation, why would anyone have a site structured this way?

It's not just about SEO. As Andrew stated, it is about controlling pageviews. SEO is a part of that, but also they just want to extend your session and keep you on their content, next to the ads they are selling.

Also, this won't make the results irrelevant because the end site will still probably rank #1 for their official brand. Branded queries are some of the easiest queries to compute relevancy scores for (so long as the search engine doesn't filter out the brand for looking overoptimized). What it will do, is give publishers another chance to rank below official sites for their branded queries.

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