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Are Irrelevant Backlinks Bad For Ranking?


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19 replies to this topic

#1 Drew

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 09:42 AM

Our company sells a web-based software. We used to have two URLs, a .com and a .net, with the .com being our corporate site (sales info etc) and .net being the service for our clients. A while back, we moved the website to the .net so that we could capitalize on the hundreds of sites already linking to that domain for the use of the software, thinking that the massive increase in backlinks would be great for our ranking.

However, now that I'm looking at our 'Webmaster Tools' from Google, I'm realizing that the broad range of clients who use our software means that much of the keyword content on the sites that link to us have nothing to do with the software we sell... they have to do with the businesses our clients use it for. Was combining the domains a bad idea? Could backlinks from only vaguely relevant sites hurt the ranking?

#2 1dmf

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:36 AM

I don't think any link to your site is a bad thing or will hurt it. Ok it's not pasing juice for the keywords you desire, but it's still a vote for your site and passing you PR.

If possible, it's worth seeing if any of them can change the anchor text or alt attribute on any hyperlinks. Keyword relevant hyperlinks can only be a good thing, but I can't see how non-keyword relevant links are a bad thing.

If it was 1,000 independent sites who organically linked to your site, you would have no control over the way they linked to you or the text they used, nor should you , it's their site not yours, that's still 1,000 IBL's giving you juice and additional visitor streams.

#3 Drew

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 10:52 AM

That's kind of what I was thinking. smile.gif Yeah, the links they're posting are a job board plugin, so the link text can be just about anything... whatever jobs they're trying to fill. But as long as Google doesn't have an issue with irrelevancy, I don't either!

#4 Jill

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 11:14 AM

Surprisingly enough (as it's so rare) I agree completely with 1dmf!

#5 1dmf

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 12:08 PM

Well pick me up of the floor pr.gif , ok who's kidnapped Jill and replaced her with an alien.... alien.gif

The real Jill wouldn't agree with me!

#6 Jill

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Posted 10 March 2009 - 12:30 PM

Offtopic
I was gonna say same for you, 1dmf! Reading what you wrote was as if I wrote it myself so I figured you were replaced by someone else.


#7 1dmf

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 04:39 AM

hmm scary...not sure if you've taught me well or brainwashed me lol.gif

#8 internetdominus

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 11:27 AM

Not really bad at all if it is not abused. Say you are a doctor, who talk to doctors about doctors stuff all the time, that is your topic, but sometimes you like talking about your hobbies as tennis, sky diving, and if you talk about tennis and reference Andy Rodick because you like him, there is no damage done to your reputation as a doctor.

Same thing for sites, you can have a site about weight loss, and you are navigating the web, and reading stuff you enjoy, and one day you find a site about good strategies to play poker at home, no harm done if you add a link from your site to the poker site, as long as you don't abuse it, so don't add 100 poker sites to your site, and of course don't add sorry sites, that have no visitors, no community, or is a peace of junk in design. Design is just like the way a person looks during introduction, first impressions count, remember that.

#9 Jill

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 11:37 AM

QUOTE
Same thing for sites, you can have a site about weight loss, and you are navigating the web, and reading stuff you enjoy, and one day you find a site about good strategies to play poker at home, no harm done if you add a link from your site to the poker site, as long as you don't abuse it, so don't add 100 poker sites to your site, and of course don't add sorry sites, that have no visitors, no community, or is a peace of junk in design. Design is just like the way a person looks during introduction, first impressions count, remember that.


I disagree with a lot of this. Who YOU link TO does matter. It matters a whole lot. You have control over that.

Who links to your site, however, is what's being discussed in this thread, and since you have no control, it's not going to be bad for rankings, assuming that the majority of your links aren't from bad sites.

#10 Drew

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 12:20 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Mar 11 2009, 12:37 PM) View Post
I disagree with a lot of this. Who YOU link TO does matter. It matters a whole lot. You have control over that.

Who links to your site, however, is what's being discussed in this thread, and since you have no control, it's not going to be bad for rankings, assuming that the majority of your links aren't from bad sites.


In thinking about that, it occurs to me that the outbound links entered on the system by our customers might also figure into our ranking, no? I mean, how does a site like "Wordpress" for example maintain ranking on the term 'blogging software' if it has millions of subpages that link to totally random stuff entered by the users?

#11 Randy

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Posted 11 March 2009 - 01:40 PM

Most such organizations control the potential downside of user generated links by simply disallowing users to link out or to slap a rel="nofollow" attribute on those user generated link.

From the SEO/Webmaster perspective I always find it interesting to see what links come up as nofollow in my browser, since I have it set up to show those with a pink background behind the links. You'd probably be amazed at how many are nofollow.

#12 1dmf

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 04:47 AM

QUOTE
I have it set up to show those with a pink background behind the links.
really , how you do that?

#13 Randy

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:07 AM

QUOTE
really , how you do that?


How depends upon what browser you're using 1dmf. There are Firefox plugins to do this, or you can create some user styles that automatically load with every page.

More and more these days I surf with the developer version of Google's Chrome browser. If you want a simple Chrome bookmarketlet you can click on any page to make nofollow's evident, John Mueller has one of those on his blog.

I went another route since I like 'em to show up as a default. So I use the --enable-greasemonkey method Matt Cutts mentions here. (You'll need to scroll down the page a bit since it's a hack. Search the page for "greasemonkey" w/o the quotes and it'll get you to the right section.) It's basically just a matter of adding a little javascript file to your hard drive that highlights the nofollow links and then enable that each time Chrome starts by editing the Properties. This does require the dev version of Chrome as far as I know, though it's always worked well for me.

#14 1dmf

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 10:10 AM

So basically you can only do it if you don't use IE..... hey ho!

#15 Randy

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 12:17 PM

I think there are some bookmarklets out there that will work with IE. In fact I believe John Mueller's I mentioned above works with IE. But you of course have to click on the bookmarklet while on the page to get them to work.

IE is just a tougher nut to crack for stuff like this. The main difference, as I understand it, being that Mozilla etal make such user tweaks easy by letting folks use Javascript to tweak stuff and allowing that to run at browser startup so it runs on every page. IE has their Addons, which is similar, but I believe you need Visual Studio and the like to make what are supposed to be simple tweaks.

I do know you can configure IE to override things a bit and use your own css file for all pages (Tools > Internet Options > General Tab > Accessibility button > set a User stylesheet) however the problem is they don't expose a way for you to use the rel="nofollow" attribute to my knowledge. If they did it would be easy to do in IE.

Sorry, can't help you on that one! I looked for a solution a couple of years ago and never did find anything that worked with IE automatically. Bookmarklets were the only things that worked, because they could run some Javascript to discover the rel attribute.




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