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  1. #1
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    Lately, I've been receiving a lot of link reciprocal requests from sites that are totally off-topic from mine. For instance, gaming and casino sites that want to link to my automotive site. I generally turn them down. I was wondering if anybody knew if linking to off-topic sites could hurt you in any way as far as Google is concerned. I've always thought that the theme of the sites that you link to should be the same or similar to your own to help establish relevancy.

    Anyone know or have some experience in the area?

  2. #2
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    I would think it would be better. I recently read that outgoing links will be important as well as far as themes go. They don't necessarily have to be to competition but could be manufacturers or whatever. Might be a little off topic from what you asked, but something to think about as a whole.
    I forgot what I was doing.

  3. #3
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    Themes (in the sense often used at WmW) are a myth. Search engines rank pages not sites. Hubs and Authorities or Communities as Teoma keep calling them are based on link relationships between web pages. An off-topic link is not one that comes from an off-topic site but one that come from an off-topic page. Here endeth the lesson.

  4. #4
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Themes (in the sense often used at WmW) are a myth. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I pretty much thought that's how it was, in spite of what I've read at that "other forum".

    The main reason that I always avoid linking to these sites is because I believe it has only limited value to my automotive site's visitors. They would probably be more interested in other sites with automotive gadgets & services more than gambling and casino sites.

    Other than that, I'd only be linking to these sites for pagerank purposes.

  5. #5
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    Agree, google ranks pages, not sites.

    So, if you create a link directory, not just a link page, with the each page of the directory devoted to a theme, then you do end up linking with on topic sites.

    For instance, if your automotive site has a page in it's link directory for gambling sites, then that page is about gambling, and any gambling sites it links to are on topic.

    For this to really work the gambling site you linked to would ideally have a link directory as well, with a page for automotive links, that page is an automotive page, and a link from that page back to your site is on topic.

    So, even if the search engines do end up looking for themed links, this would be the case here.

    I can't see how search engines can theme links with any accuract anyway. A site about whisky and a site about gin are on topic, both spirits, would a search engine know that. But then one could actually be about gin rummy, a card game and the other about the book Whisky Galore.

  6. #6
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> I can't see how search engines can theme links with any accuracy anyway. A site about whisky and a site about gin are on topic, both spirits, would a search engine know that. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    That's what semantic analysis is supposed to be able to tell them.
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> But then one could actually be about gin rummy, a card game and the other about the book Whisky Galore. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
    And that's why it doesn't work.

  7. #7
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    I don't know, I was just commenting on a response that Brett at WmW just gave someone, but I'm still new.
    I forgot what I was doing.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador ktmkiddy's Avatar
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    I run a pretty decent automotive site...and do the same as you...link to relevant sites. Mainly because I want my customers to feel my entire site is relevant to them and hopefully they'll return.



    Malc
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  9. #9
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    Try not to make "Links" pages, but try to incorporate the links into the content. It is getting really hard for Google and other search engines to distinguish between FFA's and valid link pages.

  10. #10
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> It is getting really hard for Google and other search engines to distinguish between FFA's and valid link pages. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    I've only got a couple of link pages, and on those the PR has fluctuated all over the place throughout the years, apparently based on whatever Google decides to think of link pages at the time. I no longer concern myself with it--FREE links get what they get. If someone wants better placement, all they need to do is open a good affiliate program...

    As for on/off topic links, I have some of each. The on-topic ones go near the top of the page, and the off-topic ones go below. That way I can exchange with out-of-category sites (and recommend a few "special" mall sites IYKWIM) but still maintain useability for the viewers.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

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