29 Jul 2008 04:12 pm
Open Questions #4 - Diminishing Values On Outbound Links
I somehow missed this question from the Open Questions post and I can’t help but answer it.
I loved your SEO empire post.
But I was wondering how much effect does a lot of links from a lot of indexed pages from the same domain have?
I always thought that the search engines looked mainly at the number of different domain linking to you.
Can you give some more info on this?
Or do you use these pages to link to a lot of different domains?
This is a fantastic opener for a conversation on sitewide outbound links affects on other sites as well as the site itself. Which has been long debated but never cleared up, not because its too complicated just because theres so many myths its hard to work the fact from the fiction. To be clear in my answer I’m going to refer to the site giving the link as the “host site” and the site receiving the link as the “target site.” Just so I don’t have to play around with too much terminology.
The entire explanation of why sitewide links, main page links, subpage links, and reciprocal links work is based off a simple SEO law called Diminishing Values. It basically states that for every link whether it be recipricol, innerlink, or outbound link there is some form of consequence. Also, for every inbound link, innerlink accepted or reciprocal link there is a benefit.
SEO Law of Diminishing Values
Diminishing Values = sum(benefits) > sum(consequences)
The need for the sum of the benefits to be greater than the sum of the consequences is essential because, as mentioned in my SEO Empire post there can’t be a negative relevancy for a site in relationship to a term. For example lets take the niche of cars. There’s a theoretical mass of car blogs. For the sake of the example we’ll say there are several thousand blogs on the subject of cars. Something in the industry happens that stirs all the bloggers such as SEMA having a car show or something. So all these car blogs blog about SEMA’s new car show coming out and give it a link. If these outbound links caused a consequence greater or equal to the valued benefit given to SEMA than all these blogs would drop in value as per the topic, cars. Thus the mass affect would be that of a negative relevancy, therefore sites with no relevancy but contain topic links would by all theory rank higher than the general census of on topic sites.
So the notion of an outbound link diminishing your sites value in equal proportion is just complete bubkiss and obviously not the way things actually work. Even if it was true and there was a compensation for on site SEO when an event in a niche happens the site hosting the event wouldn’t just rise in the rankings it would propel everyone else downwards causing more turbulence in the SERPS than what happens in actuality with just their site rising. It’s just simple SEO Theory 101, but sadly a lot of people believe it. There’s also a lot of sites that absolutely won’t link to any sites within their topic in fear that their rankings will suddenly plummet the moment they do. They’re under the greedy impression that they’re somehow hording their link value and that is in some way benefiting them. So with the assumption that an outbound link gives much more value to its target than it diminishes from its host everything in a sense balances out and outbound links become much less scary. This of course in no way says that the consequence to the host is a diminishment of any sort. It’s entire consequence could be 0 or as a lot of other people believe +X (some people think on topic outbound links actually adds to your sites relevancy). I haven’t personally seen one of my sites go up in rank after adding an outbound link but I’m open to the idea or to the future of the concept being reality.
I Practice What I Preach
The Law of Diminishing Values is one of the reasons why BlueHatSEO is one of the only SEO blogs that has all dofollow comments as well as top commentators plugin on every page. Your comments will not hurt my rankings..I’ll say that one more time Your comments will not hurt my rankings. Whewww I feel better
Back To The Question
Before we get into the meat of the question we’ll take a small scale example that we should all know the answer to.
Q: If a host site writes an automated link exchange script that automatically does thousands of link exchanges and puts those links on a single subpage and all the target sites also have their link exchange page setup the same way on a subpage. Will the host site gain in value?
A: I’ll tell you straight up from personal experience. Yes it does. It’s simple to test if you don’t believe me go for it yourself
Now we’ll move up to a much larger scale with a specific on topic example using sitewide links.
Q: If you own two 100k+ page lyric sites with lots of inbound links and very good indexing ratios, will putting a sitewide link to the other site on both raise both in value or keep them both the same?
A: Also from my personal experience, yes both will not only raise in value but they will skyrocket in value by in the upwards of 50% which can result in much higher rankings. Likewise this example can be done with any niche and any two large sites. Cross promote them with sitewide links between the two and see what happens. The results shouldn’t be surprising.
Now, on the large scale to the meat of the question.
Q: If these two lyrics site cross compared all their inbound links from other sites and managed to get all the sites that link to lyric site A to also link to lyric site B to the point at which each increased in links by 100k (same as the number of increased links would of been with a sitewide link between the two) would both sites increase in value more-so than if they did the sitewide link instead?
A: Yes absolutely. This is a bit harder to test, but if you’ve been building an SEO Empire and each site’s inbound links are from your own sites than it becomes quite a bit easier to test and I’m certain you’ll find the results the same as I did.
On a 1:1 ratio on a generalized population of relevant links vs non-relevant inbound links from separate domains/sites are still more effective than a sidewide link of the same magnitude. However! A sitewide link does benefit both sites to a very high degree. Just not to the degree that lots of other sites can accomplish.
Sorry that question took so long to answer. I didn’t just want to give you a blank and blunt answer. I wanted to actually answer it with logic and a reasoning that hopefully leads to an understanding of the ever so important WHY.
Blue Hat Techniques
29 Jul 2008 12:52 am
Blue Hat Technique #20 - Cyclic Documents
Summer You Never Even Really Gave Yourself enough time.
There was a bit of confusion with my cycle sites technique illustrated in the SEO Empire Part 1 post. I used autoblogs as an easy to understand example. Autoblogs generate links quickly to themselves and can be cycled (redirected) to a source to push those links. Therefore by the definition:
Cycle Site-A site that automatically gains links to itself and then through a redirection passes that link value to another site.
an autoblog is a perfect example of a Cycle Site. However, an Autoblog by itself is not a Cycle Site and a Cycle Site is not just an Autoblog. Any site that quickly gains links to itself and is capable of redirection can be used as a Cycle Site.
In contrast as we all remember, a Link Laundering Site is a site that has an ability to gain links not just to itself but directly to another site. In the post I used a reciprocal link directory as an example. However really almost any platform can be used to launder links. I haven’t actually of heard anyone getting confused amongst the differences between the two techniques, but I also haven’t heard very much discussion pertaining to the extremely close relationship they share. These two techniques more so than the some of the other techniques on this site are very closely related. Inherently a link laundering site takes precedent over a cycle site. Why? Because if a site can constantly feed link value to another site without having to cycle and closing out, even if its for a short while, than its worth more as a link builder.
Therefore whenever possible a Link Laundering Site should be used over a Cycle Site if possible. The Cycle Site simply gives you more structures as to which gain links by than Link Laundering Sites can provide. Since you’re not worried about people liking the site and continuing its success you are able to build links to it much quicker. There is however a happy medium between the two techniques that can give Cycle Sites link laundering stability and Link Launder Sites Cycle Site power. This technique is called Cyclic Documents and its exactly what it sounds like and it is very powerful.
A Cyclic Document is a document or link given to a user of a Cycle or Link Laundering site as to qualify a given set of links or time before it cycles (redirects typically) to its target.
The idea is very simple. The link you give to gain the links to is instead of your main page, for which you’d have to cycle out and thus loose the link building power of, goes to a secondary document and/or a redirect to the main page where as its viewed as either just an obscurity, a method of tracking, or even not noticed at all. To help remove the confusion and to help differentiate the actual example with the technique itself I’m going to do the methodology portion twice. The first will be with the classic Autoblog example given in the SEO Empire post the next with a random structure.
Methodology 1 - The Autoblog
1) If you’re using Wordpress or similar platform for your Autoblog do a simple modification to the code that includes a simple conditional with a redirect checking for a certain string in the posts title that would normally never exist in a post title.
header( 'Location: http://www.mytargetsite.com' ) ;
2) Create a cronjob script that parses through the previous posts on the Autoblog and finds posts beyond a certain age. Use the actual mysql database don’t just write a scraper! I’m just going to throw my recommendation out there and you can adjust and make your own necessary changes to it based upon your experience and best judgement. 8 Days.
3) If it finds a post past the set days have it change the title to what your picked unique title was in step 2.
What Does This Do?
Your Autoblog will create posts based on rss feeds (typically). It will then do pingbacks and gather at least one link to that post. I say at least one because there is odds of these new breed of comment scrapers The author of the original blogpost may check for the link, hopefully within your set number of days. See his link and hopefully leave the trackback alive on his site. After the author no longer cares about the link and has forgotten about it, but before the search engines have had a chance to index the page it will cycle that single post to your new target site thus giving it +1 link. This is why I never mentioned robots.txt in the original technique post. I wasn’t hiding something fantastic from ya after all.
Methodology 2 - The Image Upload Site
1) On your image upload site when the user uploads there image and you give them back the link code instead of linking to www.myimagehoster.com have it link to a sequential numeric subdirectory or subpage. eg. www.myimagehoster.com/10.
2) Through mod-rewrite have all /# or /[0-9]+ pull a script. In this script have it read in a variable saying what number its currently on and incriment it then make all numeric at and below it redirect to your target site. This sounds more complicated than it really is. Really, all you’re doing is recording the number 1 to a file or db or something and every so often have it change it to the next number up which in this case is 2. From that point on every /1 and /2 link automatically redirects to your target site thus giving it it’s hopeful link (assuming the person kept the image code in tact). Based on the popularity of the site you can increment the number faster or slower and redirect more at a faster rate.
What Does This Do?
If your image upload site used to a be a Cycle Site where it would work for awhile and eventually gather tons of links very quickly then cycle out and generate no links for a period before you’d bring it back. Now you keep it going forever and instead of destroying its momentum you can use it to gather even more links faster than you ever could before. After so long people will forget the link code and not click on it. That’s prime to have your link change out. You can also control your rankings. ie. if your image upload site ranks for terms that give it a tons of traffic and you know x amount of link are required to maintain those rankings you can maintain that amount of links thus keeping your momentum at its maximum and yet still produce equally high volumes of links to your target. Also, I could very easily have used the link directory and software directory site example used in the link laundering technique with this same methodology.
Now for Jebus sake don’t go creating a shit ton of image upload sites or Autoblogs like what happened when SEO Empire came out. <- Even my other blogs on other subjects were getting hit by hundreds at a time. Use some creativity as I typically encourage you to do. You won’t ever get rich doing the direct examples gurus give you and you won’t with me either. Most of all have fun and learn a lot from it.