Search Engine QA on Links

Aug 22, 2007 - 9:06 pm 0 by

Moderator: Danny Sullivan

Speakers: Peter Linsley, Shashi Thakur, Google Sean Suchter, Yahoo!

Have questions about links? Search engine reps provide answers to the audience. Danny is telling everyone to run. The room is starting to fill up...but not standing room only. Last session of the day today.


He goes first. It's his first time speaking at SES. Danny jokes "no pressure". Shashidar Thakur, Tech staff at Google. In the old days people created lists of favorite sites Google figured this was a good way to figure reputation. PageRank was born. Links got messy. A link is a personal reference. Says a lot about you. Poor linking effects credibility. Link on topic. Be relevant to your page/site. Be useful to vistors. Be visible. Designed for users not engines. Make good anchor text with descriptive text rather than "click here". Bad linking attempts to manipulate SE's. Low value to users. Bad linking is like wearing a ball and chain on your legs. They try to catch bad linking. Shows example of spam linking page. It was a meds site. Another example of spamming forms. Hidden links are bad links. The whole point of links is someone is supposed to click on them, so don't hide them. Shows a page with hidden links, exposed. Bad neighborhoods is another example of spam links. Unrelated to your business. It says something about you when do this.


Runs engineering for Yahoo web search, for about 10 years. Attract organic links. Stable urls attract cut and paste behavior. They're attractive to linkers. Avoid dynanic URLS, session IDs, don't require cookies. USe https only when necessary. No popus. (No address bar). Users can't copy the url and link to it. Use 301 to redirect on the same site if moving URLS. Submit sitemaps to SE's stay up to date. Link farms, no. Users may link to the different domains diluting your organic links. Better to be concentrated. Muliple countries sites can link but be careful about same exact content. Don't dilute links. Nofollow - don't use it for ranking algorithms. Doesn't mean non-inlcusion. They follow both absolute and relative links. Don't break the links. Yahoo site has a help page for SEOs.


Create good conent with good links rather than bad pages with lots of "bad" links. Linking is about the quality of links. Links from on topic count more. Shows an example of web page and shows source with spammy links. Tons of hidden links showed up on another otherwise normal looking page with decent content.

Microsoft: (Did not catch his name. Wasn't on screen or print info. If someone can leave his name in comments, I can fix this.)

Announcing beta for webmaster tools. More details on our blog. Live Search New Webmaster Portal...official blog for the Live Search team.


1. I hear bad links work well. How to tell if bad links? A - They rely on algorithms. Recommend not buying bad links. Matters not whether bought or not. What matters is the value of the link itself. Is it relevant to users. What causes user disatisfaction? It is often bad links.

2. If "blackhats" spam your site and the spam is not your fault, but rather "their fault"? A - You can report the bad inlinks in Yahoo Help. Ask says to write and alert them to the problem.

Danny asks if audience would like a tool to be report spam links.

3. Using Google Alerts discovered a porn site that is using text on their site that includes a lot domains and are linking to them, alphabetically. They show up as inbound link but its a porn site. A - You can report this to all SE's.

4. New name, new domain. But new site. A - Use 301 redirects and use sitemaps to educate SE's. Keep old site? For users, yes. Want the crawlers to learn redirects. How long to keep up? As long as possible. Microsoft says keep old site up as long as you can. Keep the old domain.

5. Is linking to a vanity URL that real one that redirects to destination URL? A - See Yahoo Help for their advice. Microsoft will pass it through. Be careful with 2 different identifies. Messy for users and brands.They go to vanity URL vs the destination one.

6. How to handle bad publicity via blogs, etc. that you can't control. Afraid of people who use submission tool to send bad links to you. A - Danny asks how many people link to you that you don't want linking? Not a lot of response. Should you worry? Danny really thinks a tool to help us control bad incoming links would be great.

7. What if you have a blog like domain to new domain? A - Put a note on old blog with the new domain and URL. Redirects don't work for Wordpress or Typepad.

8. How is purchasing a highly relevant link "evil". A- The vast majority of paid links are not relevant. They see it used for spam more than legitimate linking. They don't care if it is paid for. They care about whether its relevant. Danny talks about the debate on this. There are no real clear rules issued by SE's. It shouldn't matter how the link comes in to you, whether via good content or paid or submitted to social media site like Digg.


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