May 2010

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Are you in denial?
Self service linking has attained ridiculous proportions on the web as naive, ignorant and lazy webmasters look for the easiest ways to obtain as many backlinks as they possibly can with as little effort as possible. This also fuels the myth that overall link popularity is one of the most important factors for ranking a web page in the search engines.

Visit the average webmaster forum and it’s easy to find several comments and advice advocating the use of self service linking as the preferred method for ranking one’s website. I can only image the quality of the sites being promoted using these methods. I wouldn’t point these types of links at throw away domains, much less anything being developed for the long term.

What do I consider to be a self service link? Any link that results from a direct action of your own accord or one that is attained through automated means. This is one of the favored tactics of inexperienced webmasters or those claiming to be SEO experts or offering so called SEO / link building services. In other words, a link that has no editorial merit.

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Outbound links as a signal of quality?Are outbound links a signal of quality? Is this one of the over 200 signals used by Google to rank a web page? How big of a factor can it actually be?

Before you suggest that outbound links are not a factor, consider that you can get penalized for linking to what has been referred to as “bad neighborhoods” on the web.

If you can link to the wrong sites and get penalized for it, why wouldn’t you be rewarded for linking to the right sites?

Citing authority sites in your articles, blog posts or content contribute to your credibility, assists your readers and can help to establish your own site as an authority on a subject and may very well invite inbound links and citations from other sites. Sound far fetched? Google doesn’t think so.

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