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Using Google Cache To Calidate Backlinks?
Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:22 PM
My site has been up for a year now, and gets really good traffic and sales for my niche. Our backlinks are good, our users love the content, etc. All in all I'd call the site a success after a year.
Here's the question:
While we are doing well, we thought we'd try experimenting with buying some good links to give the site a shot in the arm in the SERPS. The idea is that since the pages that come up in our target keyword serps are PR4 through PR6, if we bought a few links on pages that were relevant and also were PR7 and PR8, it would help us edge out the competition!
So, we went to two link brokers and bought the links. Now, as of today, the links are not posted (we did the deal on Friday, and they said it would take 5 business days-ish) but after purchasing we were sent the exact url's where our links will be posted and we started checking them out. They are all good, relevant sites, one of them was a major U.S. newspaper.
We went to several of the url's current advertisers and checked their backlinks through google. Since these pages are verifiable PR7's and PR8's, I expected the backlink to show when using link:www.thedomain.com.
However, I only found 1 in all that we tested. At this point we were willing to chalk up the discovery as either a lot of the advertisers were new, OR a google idiosyncrasy, and forget about it and watch for the next couple of months to see if we bought in vain!
That is, UNTIL we contacted one of the link brokers to get their opinion on our findings. THEY said that we should look at the high PR pages where our link would appear, and then find the google cache of it. IF the ad links were in the cache, that meant that google counted it as a back-link and not as a paid or spammy link.
That sounds really weird to me! Does that make sense at all?
Posted 21 May 2007 - 03:56 PM
The "link:" operator you were using to check the backlinks has been "broken" in Google for at least three years or more. It doesn't return all the links pointing to the site, but rather only a "selection". We don't know what criteria they use for this "selection" and it changes, apparently randomly, from time to time.
Lots of threads here on the forum discussing this.
The link brokerage is partically correct -- to see whether Google knows about the link, check the cache of the page where the link will appear.
Note, however, that just because Google "knows about" the link, this doesn't necessarily mean it will count in your favor in terms of rankings. Google may or may not allow that page to pass link popularity, even though the link appears in the cache. There is no reliable, 100% accurate way I'm aware of to tell if the page passes link pop or not. And, of course, Google can (and does) change their mind from time to time about which pages pass link pop and which don't.
Thus, there's no way to tell ahead of time whether a particular paid link will help you in the SERPs at all. And even if it does help now, there's no way of guaranteeing it will continue to help tomorrow.
FWIW, the PR number that's displayed on the Google Toolbar has nothing to do with your rankings. Increasing your Toolbar PR will do zip, nothing, nada, in terms of getting your pages higher in the SERPs. Unless you get some kind of thrill from being able to brag to your colleagues about the size of your little green bar, buying links to try to increase your displayed Toolbar PR is a waste of money, IMO.
Lots of threads discussing Toolbar PR, too.
IMO, the only valid reason for buying links is for the targeted traffic they can bring. Any link popularity that tags along is a nice (and potentially temporary) bonus.
Oh, and welcome to HR!
Posted 24 May 2007 - 09:17 AM
Thanks for the information on the cache. I never thought that it worked that way!
As far as PR goes, I realize that ultimately it means nothing. Our link-buying experiment was started partially by another link experiment that we had done about 6 months ago. We had a business partner with a search engine. Google had it set as a PR6. We added a couple of simple text links to the search engine home page. Our site moved up in SERPS for some keywords, some as much as 2 to 3 pages! This search engine is totally unrelated to our niche, and gets little traffic - it just has a LOT of links! A couple of months ago, the links were removed and we noticed that some of our serps fell back a noticable amount of positions. Not all of them, but the same ones we were watching since we added the links.
Soooo, while I realize that links (with good anchor txt) are the best on relevant sites, it would seem that links just about anywhere (at least in good neighborhoods) are worth something. Taking that into consideration, I am using PR as a relative measurement of 'importance' or 'authority', not necessarily 'worth'. i.e., for the same anchor text and URL, a link on a relevant, related PR2 page would not carry the same weight as the same link on an unrelated PR7 page.
Another think you said that makes some sense is the 'temporaryness' (is that a new word?) of the affect these links will have for the results. I'll certainly do some thinking (and some more HR searching) on that.
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