An important health warning on inbound links (and why link farms like Social Monkee are harmful to your SEO)


The health warning advice I’m posting here applies equally to organic search results and also to Pay Per Click Google Ads, so it’s worth taking note of!

Google’s index is set up so that it checks not only your page for keyword relevance but also the keyword relevance of inbound links to that page. In other words it checks both ends of each link for relevance.

If it finds that your page is highly relevant, but the inbound links are less relevant in keywords terms, it penalises you accordingly. If it finds that the inbound link is from a page that is completely irrelevant, then it concludes that you are link stuffing and penalises your page severely.

In other words, far from improving your page’s search result ranking, using a link stuffing service like Socialmonkee can reduce your ranking.

The same is true in Pay-Per-Click. Google tests the relevance of your landing page to the keyword content of your ad. If the relevance is high. It rewards you by either promoting your ad above others or reducing the cost per click necessary to get top billing. If the relevance of your landing page is low (for instance if your ad says Cheap iPhones, but the landing page is really selling cheap Viagra) Google will penalise you by either downranking your ad to the bottom of the pile or charging a fortune per click.

The offer of “instant links” is like all other get rich quick deals – it’s a pipedream. There is only one way to build inbound links, and that’s the hard way.

Richard Milton

Is it worth optimising your website for Bing or Yahoo?

When Microsoft and Yahoo decided to pool their search resources in 2010 to fight back against Google’s dominance, it looked as though Big G might have some real competition on its hands with Bing. In fact, it seems that Google now handles even more search traffic now, rather than less.

According to research by Experian Hitwise, Google handled an astounding 92 per cent of all search engine traffic in the UK in July 2011. What was left over was hardly worth fighting for. Yahoo sites handled 3 per cent, while Microsoft has about the same. The remaining 2 per cent went to Ask sites and the other search engines.

On these figures, it’s pretty clear that spending any time optimising for Bing or anyone else is basically time wasted.

Hitwise’s James Murray says, ‘What’s interesting is that although Google is increasing its dominance within search, search engines overall are becoming less significant as a source of traffic for websites. Search has historically accounted for around 40 per cent of visits to all websites but the most recent figures for upstream visits to All Categories show that search accounts for 34.29 per cent of all traffic delivered to websites in June 2011.’

The change, says Murray, has come about because of the increasing significance of social networks as sources of traffic.

You only have to look at the ‘referring URL’ section of your website stats, though, to see that it’s Google all the way.

Richard Milton