Link Exchange Networks Hurt Google Site Indexing
Irrelevant & obviously over promotional reciprocal link trading networks and untargeted link buying campaigns can hurt a site’s indexing in Google and its rankings according to a recent blog entry by Google’s SEO Czar Matt Cutts.
If your site participates in link trading or link exchange network schemes with thousands of other sites which result in untargeted and spammy links being served throughout your web site – BEWARE, Google has a keen eye on this search spamming practice.
This does not mean that buying or trading links is bad. Buying and soliciting highly targeted links or exchanging links with sites that either :
1) Have content relevant to your own site
2) Attract the same demographic
3) Are in the same geographic location are your business
…will bring targeted and responsive traffic to your site which has a high chance of converting into a sale or interested visitor.
Such practices are the backbone of the Internet and are not being targeted by the new Google updates.
However, if you participate in a link trading, link selling or link marketing scheme which serves links on your sites, or the sites you trade links with for such spam-slappin’ themed sites as poker, gambling, ringtones, seo contests, mortgages, payday loans and other questionably anchor texted links which have absolutely nothing to do with your site’s content – STOP!
It’s time to halt such link spamming practices and direct your linking budget (whether it be measured in time, favors or dollars) into more targeted link building practices like relevant blogs, trusted directories, niche sites and local business listings programs.
One linking rule of thumb is that if the link would send you a paying customer and people actually find the links on a prominent part of the web page (like above the fold or embedded within main content) – it is of quality.
Here is what Matt Cutts has to say about Google indexing ‘penalties’ on link farms and link swapping network campaigns as he reviews complaints from webmasters who are seeing their sites dropping from the Google BigDaddy update:
This is… a real estate site, this time about a Eastern European country. I see 387 pages indexed currently. Aha, checking out the bottom of the page,
I see this: Poor quality links (Matt shows image)
Linking to a free ringtones site, an SEO contest, and an Omega 3 fish oil site? I think I’ve found your problem. I’d think about the quality of your links if you’d prefer to have more pages crawled. As these indexing changes have rolled out, we’ve improving how we handle reciprocal link exchanges and link buying/selling.
– Moving right along, here’s one from May 4th. It’s another real estate site. The owner says that they used to have 10K pages indexed and now they have 80.
This time, I’m seeing links to mortgages sites, credit card sites, and exercise equipment. I think this is covered by the same guidance as above; if you were getting crawled more before and you’re trading a bunch of reciprocal links, don’t be surprised if the new crawler has different crawl priorities and doesn’t crawl as much.