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  • Nate 4:07 PM on April 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , google, , , ,   

    Dealing with low-quality backlinks 

    by Kaspar Szymanski, Search Quality Strategist

    Webmasters who check their incoming links in Webmaster Tools often ask us what they can do when they see low-quality links. Understandably, many site owners are trying to build a good reputation for their sites, and some believe that having poor-quality incoming links can be perceived as “being part of a bad neighbourhood,” which over time might harm their site’s ranking.

    If your site receives links that look similarly dodgy, don’t be alarmed… read on!

    While it’s true that linking is a significant factor in Google’s ranking algorithms, it’s just one of many. I know we say it a lot, but having something that people want to look at or use—unique, engaging content, or useful tools and services—is also a huge factor. Other factors can include how a site is structured, whether the words of a user’s query appear in the title, how close the words are on the page, and so on. The point is, if you happen to see some low quality sites linking to you, it’s important to keep in mind that linking is just one aspect among many of how Google judges your site. If you have a well-structured and regularly maintained site with original, high-quality content, those are the sorts of things that users will see and appreciate.

    That having said, in an ideal world you could have your cake and eat it too (or rather, you could have a high-quality site and high-quality backlinks). You may also be concerned about users’ perception of your site if they come across it via a batch of spammy links. If the number of poor-quality links is manageable, and/or if it looks easy to opt-out or get those links removed from the site that’s linking to you, it may be worth it to try to contact the site(s) and ask them to remove their links. Remember that this isn’t something that Google can do for you; we index content that we find online, but we don’t control that content or who’s linking to you.

    If you run into some uncooperative site owners, however, don’t fret for too long. Instead, focus on things that are under your control. Generally, you as a webmaster don’t have much control over things like who links to your site. You do, however, have control over many other factors that influence indexing and ranking. Organize your content; do a mini-usability study with family or friends. Ask for a site review in your favorite webmaster forums. Use a website testing tool to figure out what gets you the most readers, or the biggest sales. Take inspiration from your favorite sites, or your competitors—what do they do well? What makes you want to keep coming back to their sites, or share them with your friends? What can you learn from them? Time spent on any of these activities is likely to have a larger impact on your site’s overall performance than time spent trying to hunt down and remove every last questionable backlink.

    Finally, keep in mind that low-quality links rarely stand the test of time, and may disappear from our link graph relatively quickly. They may even already be being discounted by our algorithms. If you want to make sure Google knows about these links and is valuing them appropriately, feel free to bring them to our attention using either our spam report or our paid links report.

    To learn more about backlinks, contact NC Square

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  • Nate 2:25 PM on November 2, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , google, , , ,   

    How Many Links Does It Take to Get to the Middle of Google Page One? 

    by Bill Platt (c) 2009 911 Reputation Management

    Everyday it seems, people are asking me about the optimum number of inbound links they need to acquire for their website in order to rank well in Google.

    My answer is going to seem a little flip, but it is the honest, best answer.

    Answer: You need more inbound links – of equal or higher quality – than what your competitors have.

    Albert Einstein argued that any mathematical formula that required pages of calculations did not contain within it “the mind of God”.

    So when Albert Einstein developed E=mc2, then Einstein had fulfilled the promise of a simple formula that could encompass the brilliance of God.

    When people wonder how many inbound links they need to acquire to rank in the Top 4 of Google’s search results or even the Top 10 of Google’s SERPs, they are generally hoping that someone will be able to give them a numeric answer, so that they know whether they can afford to undertake the process or not.

    I understand the WHY of the question, but there is no canned answer that will work for everyone. Remember, your competitor may be asking the same question and undertaking the same processes as you are, trying to accomplish the same goal.

    You can’t truly begin to understand the answer to this question, until you have taken the time to do an Inbound Link Comparison Analysis of all of your competitors in the Top 10 spots of Google’s SERPs.

    • You need to look at the Top 10 listings in Google for a particular keyword.

    • You need to do backlink checks for all ten URLs in Google’s search listings, and you need to check those numbers across a variety of sources, including Google, Yahoo and any other tool you can find to do a check. (Google and Yahoo both tend to understate the actual link counts. While Yahoo will show you more than what Google does, they also show a number of “no consequence” links in their results.)

    • You need to look at the quality of a few of the pages that provide links to the URLs in the search results.
    This is not an easy process to undertake. I have done it before, but the best you can hope for is a “snapshot” of what is out there, and therefore, what you need to accomplish.

    Note: If Wikipedia turns up in your search query, few people with small budgets will ever be able to dislodge Wikipedia in the search results. What they make up for in a small number of inbound links, they more than make up for with links from dozens or hundreds of PR4, PR5 and PR6 pages. Wikipedia is the king of Internal Linking, and they use that to a great degree to rank extraordinarily high in Google’s search listings.

    Your analysis should seek to uncover how many links a page has to it.

    As a general rule of thumb, Google will show you less than 1% of the existing number of links for a web page. Yahoo will sometimes show closer to 5% of the existing number of links for a web page, but they will not show you the highest quality of those links.

    So, as you strive to gain a “snapshot” picture of the playing field, you want to take Google’s Inbound Links number and multiply that by at least 100. Then you want to take Yahoo’s Inbound Links number and multiply that by at least 20, then cut the number in half to acknowledge the number of worthless crap links they have in their database. Once you have achieved these two numbers, then I tend to call the truth “somewhere in the middle”.

    With your “somewhere in the middle” number in hand, you then need to look at the quality of links to a few of those search listings, to get an idea of whether those links exist on higher quality pages or simply junk pages.

    If those links are on junk pages, then the goal could be achieved by just working the numbers. But if there are a lot of high PageRank pages in the mix, then whatever number is in your hand, should be multiplied, perhaps 100-fold, to overcome the quality of pages that link to your competitors.

    If you get the idea that my simple formula leads to a complicated answer, then you are right.

    All of the numbers that I have included in my sample formula are based on rough speculation, as the “snapshot” offers you your best hope of understanding the challenge in front of you.

    While the number of inbound links may be relatively easy to determine, the link quality is a factor that is really hard to pin down.

    • If you determine that you only need 300 inbound links to rank with the big boys, you may be right.

    • Your 300 inbound links number should also be quantified against the number of links that Google will count worthy, so you may need 1200 links to get 300 links that Google will deem worthy. This calculation depends more on the “quality of your content”, rather than the “quantity of your content”.

    • When all is said and done and your 300 Google-worthy links have not yet put you on page one, then you know that the quality of the links pointing at your competitors is greater than the quality of the links pointing to you.
    If you were hoping for an easy answer, I am sorry that I could not help you with that.

    But with this explanation of the challenge, you may be better prepared to answer the big question, the question that is really on your mind:

    Are my hopes of achieving good rankings in Google within my reach?

    I tend to throw “worry” to the wind and just start working. I don’t worry if I can afford to do it or not. I simply start doing, and I know that in one month, one year or five, I will have built enough value in my website that my competitors are going to be the ones who are trying to figure out if they can unseat me!

    Learn more about back linking with NC Square
    Superior SEO services

     
  • Nate 1:00 PM on June 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: flash, google   

    Flash indexing with external resource loading in Google Search 

    Google Update
    Posted: 18 Jun 2009 11:27 PM PDT
    Webmaster Level: All

    Google just added external resource loading to their Flash indexing capabilities. This means that when a SWF file loads content from some other file—whether it’s text, HTML, XML, another SWF, etc.—we can index this external content too, and associate it with the parent SWF file and any documents that embed it.

    This new capability improves search quality by allowing relevant content contained in external resources to appear in response to users’ queries. For example, this result currently comes up in response to the query [2002 VW Transporter 888]:

    t4-tranformations-search-result

    Prior to this launch, this result did not appear, because all of the relevant content is contained in an XML file loaded by a SWF file.

    To date, when Google encounters SWF files on the web, they can:

    * Index textual content displayed as a user interacts with the file. We click buttons and enter input, just like a user would.
    * Discover links within Flash files.
    * Load external resources and associate the content with the parent file.
    * Support common JavaScript techniques for embedding Flash, such as SWFObject and SWFObject2.
    * Index sites scripted with AS1 and AS2, even if the ActionScript is obfuscated.

    If you don’t want your SWF file or any of its external resources crawled by search engines, please use an appropriate robots.txt directive.

    This information should ease all those minds that were worried about their new dynamic Flash website not being indexed by Google’s search engine.

    Outstanding Flash Development by NC Square

     
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