I always wonder how certain SEO myths get started. A new one I spotted today at WebmasterWorld is saying that if you have some of the same links of your competitors, Google will discount them for you, since your competitors already have those links.
In other words, if you have a link from the Yahoo Directory category page after your competitor, Google would only count the link to your competitor and not you.
He phrased his question as, "Is is true that it's not possible Google count same back links for your website which your competitor have."
No it is not true! A link is a link, of course some links are not counted at all, due to them not passing PageRank or having a nofollow attribute. But if you and your competitor both have a link on the same page, Google should count them both.
So where the heck did this theory come from? martinibuster thinks it came from the concept of link cliques. He explains and I love how he said it, so here is a full quote:
The idea underlying link cliques is that poaching the competition creates a backlink profile for your site that is derivative of established sites, creating a situation of diminishing returns because you cannot exactly duplicate the competitions backlinks and jump ahead with a partial set of duplicate links. The answer that link cliques suggests is to develop a set of backlinks that are entirely relevant but completely different than the established websites. If you study the top five you will see that many times the backlinks of even the established sites come from unique directions that are exclusive of other sites ranking in the top five or even the top five.
It is amazing how we go from this to the above question. Can you imagine that? First come first serve, for a link on a specific page.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.