For a while Google was against the idea of seeing search results inside of search results, calling them redundant. But over the last couple years they losened up their stance on the issue...not only do they index and rank tag pages, but they go so far as generating content pages on the fly by entering keywords into search boxes on websites.
Search and tag pages usually have some editorial input, but some community content sites (like associated content) automate the process of adding links to content through algorithms which are likely self reinforcing on rankings and revenues. eHow takes this one step further by automating the internal links and pointing them at recycled content from Dealtime, eBay, and Amazon.com...just in case you are shopping for Ice online ehow.com/shop_ice.html.
Automated internal linking will become a big SEO trend in 2008 and 2009. Jim Boykin offers an interlinking tool inside his Internet Marketing Ninjas program, which came as inspiration for Gab Goldenberg to make a free Wordpress plugin to do the same. If a site like TechCrunch installs the plugin they could basically pick any phrase and own top rankings in a week. For smaller sites they might need to partner with a circle of 20 or so friends that swapped promotional editorial links back and forth.
Search has been a driving force in lowering the value of most traditional media business models, but how useful will search be if most major publishing platforms aggressively use automated internal linking, especially if they start doing it to point links at custom advertising pages focused on high value keywords? The problem with many publishing business models is a high cost structure coupled with poor targeting. Automated internal linking fixes the targeting issue, and those ad pages would subsidize the cost of their editorial.
I am guessing that if people are too aggressive with this they could get penalized. In fact, at SMX Todd Friesen stated the following tip, attributing DaveN as the source
Because different link brokers moved from Sponsored Links to inline linking, there's now a Google filter that looks for too many new links coming from old blogs. If you have a network of 40 aged blogs, go back into the archives, add a link to the site you want knocked down across the network; you'll knock someone down.
A safer way to use the automated linking strategy is to look at data from tools like SEO Digger, ranking reports, analytics, and SEO Digger. See where you rank close to the top, and then add a few more links pointing at pages ranking for the best keywords...keep iteratively testing and make a number of smaller moves rather than automating mass shifts in PageRank, especially if you are doing automated linking cross site.
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