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Negative External Link Analysis


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Leafgreen

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Posted 02 October 2009 - 10:39 PM

I need to do an analysis for a client's website. I ask if you know about any tools that will help me do the analysis. The analysis is of negative aspects of external links (links pointing to the client's site, and websites containing those links).

Of course I can easily find the links with Google's backlink search. After that, how can I tell if the links match any of the following negative aspects?

* Links from web spam sites/pages
* Links gotten from known link brokers/sellers
* Excessive repetition of the same anchor text in the links

FYI, the client's site has 1000 external links, so it is impractical to do the analysis manually. I need a bulk tool.

TIA!
Leafgreen wink1.gif

#2 Jill

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 07:54 AM

Since links from bad pages are not typically a negative factor, you'd be better off to concentrate on other things that actually are.

#3 Leafgreen

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 01:53 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Oct 3 2009, 08:54 AM) View Post
Since links from bad pages are not typically a negative factor, you'd be better off to concentrate on other things that actually are.


Hi Jill,
Thanks for your feedback. But a panel of 75 SEO experts disagrees with you, on SEOmoz's Search Ranking Factors, under the "Negative Ranking Factors" section. I'm sure you are familiar with this.

I'm sure the high-powered SEO companies have some bulk/automated tools for this. Lil me needs them too!

#4 blackirish.ken

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 06:13 AM

uh, Jill's right.

links to your site from spammy sites or scraper sites won't hurt your rankings.

you linking out to spammy sites WILL negatively effect your rankings.

see the difference.

besides, think of how easy it would be for me to point a bunch of spammy links to a competitors site to try and "hurt" their rankings and you'll realize why Google doesn't penalize a site for having spammy links pointing at them. because in reality you can't stop other sites from linking to you, so it's simply not practical for Google to penalize you for something you have no control over.

now as for bulk link analysis tools, there is a huge gap in the market for a really good comprehensive link analysis tool that will perform page-level analysis. i've searched for years and been unable to find anything that meets my needs, even paid versions fall short. however, there are some decent free tools out there, such as link diagnosis, xenu link sleuth, webmaster tools, and majestic seo.

good luck.

Edited by blackirish.ken, 04 October 2009 - 06:19 AM.


#5 Jill

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 07:35 AM

QUOTE
Thanks for your feedback. But a panel of 75 SEO experts disagrees with you, on SEOmoz's Search Ranking Factors, under the "Negative Ranking Factors" section. I'm sure you are familiar with this.


Yes, I am familiar with it. I was, in fact, one of those "experts." I don't recall seeing that one in the results, but if that's what the bulk of the so-called experts say, it would be because of the way SEOmoz worded most of the questions. They were skewed towards the way SEOmoz does business. Most of them didn't even make sense to me.

That said, could you link us to where the experts actually said that links from bad sites will hurt your rankings? Cuz it's very surprising to me that 75% would say that given that it's been known for quite awhile that they won't. Of course, the caveat is that you have to have a decent amount of "good" links as well. If you only have bad links, then yeah, it could cause trouble.

As to a tool, I would suggest you might find something like that over at SEOmoz.

#6 Randy

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:16 AM

I believe Leafgreen is probably talking about item number 3 in the Negative Ranking Factors section about 3/4's of the way down this page Jill. Though from the purely statistical point of view I don't know that I would call anything with 51% stated acceptance to be "Important" especially when the concept also has a moderate (12.5%) contention or flat out disagreement rate. After all, in a perfect world 50-50 would be average so 51% is hardly an anomaly statistically speaking. That's the starting point for pollsters! giggle.gif Yeah, yeah, I know SEO's can't agree on anything to begin with, so the bar probably has to be lowered from 95% validity, but still I'm not sure it's wise to drop it to 50% or below..

What would be interesting would be to dig into those answers more thoroughly. For instance, if a site has zero or very few good quality links the fact that spammy links don't help may look like a negative impact. Or if the site owner is crazy enough to link back to a even a few of those spammy link farms it can end up completing the circle for the search engines and actually be a negative. In other words, the question probably isn't specific enough to produce a good answer, because it doesn't talk about anything the target site may be doing that kinda/sorta relates to the question.

I can tell you that I've had competitors trying to sabotage some of my sites for years by submitting their address to lots of spammy link farms. And even though these spammy link farms do indeed link to my sites there has been zero negative effect. Mainly because I
  • 1. Do not link back to any of those spammy places.
  • 2. Have built a healthy incoming link profile for my sites that overrides anything my competitors try to do to bring me down.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, if it were as easy to kill off a competitor as pointing a few (or few thousand) crappy links at their site I'd have no competitors. hysterical.gif Yes, I'm a ruthless s.o.b. when it comes to bidness. And that's the kind of thing that's child's play to automate if it actually worked.

#7 Jill

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 10:20 AM

QUOTE
What would be interesting would be to dig into those answers more thoroughly. For instance, if a site has zero or very few good quality links the fact that spammy links don't help may look like a negative impact.


Exactly, and I'm sure I gave it some merit when I answered the question too, along with that caveat.

#8 Leafgreen

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 03:56 PM

Thank you Jill, Randy and Ken. Great participation. notworthy.gif

Randy's post.
QUOTE
I believe Leafgreen is probably talking about item number 3...
No, my original post stated "* Links from web spam sites/pages" not links to those pages. That #3 is "Links from the Page to Web Spam Sites/Pages". Instead, please look on Factors Negatively Affecting the Value of an External Link. It's a bit farther down after you click the link. Note that every use of "Domain" refers to the domain where the external link is, NOT the client's (your) domain, I'm certain.

Randy's post.
QUOTE
Though from the purely statistical point of view I don't know that I would call anything with 51% stated acceptance...
That is not what the 51% number represents. Look again. Seomoz really needs to add some definitions. Note also that there seems to be a six point range for agreement: strong consensus, moderate consensus, light consensus, light contention, moderate contention, strong contention. Ignore the % on agreement, as the % is obviously normalized and cannot get above some low %, say 30%.

One last point about agreement to which Randy alluded: I'm sure some of you have some "secret" SEO techniques that you know work. But if you superficially explained them to a panel of SEOs, they likely would have a high level of contention since your technique is unknown (not widely accepted). Remember, fundamentally we are all in competition with e/o. There are only 10 results on the first page SERP. It's a zero sum environment. But let's not get too off-track/diverted by that, please!

Back on topic: My first * ("Links from web spam sites/pages"), refers generally to the five items under Factors Negatively Affecting the Value of an External Link farther down after you click the link. Ken restated Jill's statement that external links on bad sites don't matter. So why do the panelists generally agree with #1? Here's the key: Google has already slapped those sites.

My second * ("Links gotten from known link brokers/sellers") is #2 under Negative Ranking Factors. My third * ("Excessive repetition of the same anchor text in the links") is #8. Off topic: #8 should be moved to the section below.

Which brings me back to my original question, understanding the Google slap distinction, in hopes that most of you are in agreement and on track now... sarcastic_blum.gif ... Anybody know of a bulk tool to tell me which of those external links are on bad sites?

#9 Randy

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 10:40 PM

The answer to your question first..

There is no such bulk tool Leafgreen. Trust me, if there were a solid algorithmic way to determine a good link from a bad link with any acceptable degree of certainty Google wouldn't be able to be fooled as easily as they are sometimes. giggle.gif Even those short term bumps that happen when you flood a bunch of new crappy backlinks to a site wouldn't happen, because Google would know the links were shoddy links and they'd never pass any value.

Google have had several hundred, perhaps several thousand people working to find such a magic bullet for years now. It's far more important to them than it is to anybody else. Yet they still get fooled in the short term and only start devaluing links when they see the linking profile of a site changing in a drastic way. That's what triggers their looking at the new links more closely.

FTR, I was with ya on the right item in the SEOmoz doc. That link just takes ya to the top of the document with all of 'em showing and when I posted the section and item number I wasn't paying close enough attention. Hey, it was Sunday morning after all, and I was trying to function on a whole two hours of sleep from being up all night again tinkering on a new server.

Part of the problem with trying to say if a single factor has a lot of importance or not, and an issue with such surveys, is that there are over 200 individual factors in the picture. And many times doing a few of them quite well can pretty much trump doing others not so well. Not to mention that some factors cross pollinate and affect other factors. Tis the nature of the beast I'm afraid, and why it's impossible to come up with a list of Must Do's that are required in every single market and that by doing them religiously you're guaranteed of some fantastic result.

Each site and each market is just different. And since you're continually trying to get your imperfect site to perform better than other imperfect sites there just cannot be such a perfect list that works 100% of the time, but doesn't also sometimes waste time. Obviously, when you get into highly competitive markets where lots of people know about and actually work on lots of factors the window of opportunity becomes smaller. So you have to do more right and less not quite so right.

As to secret SEO techniques, I don't have any. I and others around here have been freely giving away the farm for many, many years now.

That said, I do have a Process of sorts. And I'd hazard to guess my Process is probably more well defined than most SEO's since I'm not an SEO. lol.gif Kidding, my Process is more well defined because I'm always starting from scratch, so have to make sure I cross enough t's and dot enough i's.

Most SEO's aren't taking on brand spanking new sites that are starting out from ground zero. Many do not take on already existing sites if there is evidence of shady business in its past. So most SEO's are doing more massaging around the edges than anything else in my opinion, not that there's anything at all wrong with that. Most existing sites just need some strategic massaging to start performing well!. I certainly won't put that label on every SEO either. I know quite a few SEOs here who not only help out with SEO but help to educate clients about building their business in a smart, well thought out manner.

I'm on the other end of the spectrum since I am constantly starting brand spanking new sites that have no positive history to lean on. Thankfully they have no negative history either, but starting out from bare bones scratch is just different territory than most SEO get involved in.

So yeah, I do have a process. And the process is completed in order. Part of this process involves SEO stuff. Most of it honestly though is more content production and basic marketing. But there are definitely some SEO components to it. Then if I need to adjust and get a bit more aggressive on the SEO side of things (I usually don't FTR) six months or a year down the road, I do.

So your next question is going to be what is my process, right? giggle.gif

It's a bit long and drawn out to try to cover in a forum post. But I'm actually working on getting it put down in writing, or actually in writing and on video for a little partnership thing where a couple of us putting together to explain our processes to people who need it. At this point the making of the Process is in process as it were. <Har! I kill me!> When it's ready and all of my mistakes are flushed out I'm sure you'll hear about it 'round these parts somewhere. Not really sure what we're going to do with it yet, the first step is to get the content organized and produced.

#10 Michael Martinez

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 01:29 AM

QUOTE(Leafgreen @ Oct 3 2009, 11:53 PM) View Post
Hi Jill,
Thanks for your feedback. But a panel of 75 SEO experts disagrees with you, on SEOmoz's Search Ranking Factors, under the "Negative Ranking Factors" section. I'm sure you are familiar with this.


I only went through the survey results once but it appeared to me there was not a great deal of consensus about anything. Just because 75 experts (including Jill) answered the survey doesn't mean they all agreed on anything in particular. ON EDIT: Not to mention the fact that even if you had 100% agreement on any one thing, it wouldn't mean anything. The survey doesn't provide any insight into how the search engines work. It just offers insight into how the SEO community looks at search algorithms.

QUOTE
I'm sure the high-powered SEO companies have some bulk/automated tools for this. Lil me needs them too!


Like the others said, there are no such tools. And if there were, people would not be sharing them.

#11 adibranch

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 04:13 AM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Oct 5 2009, 01:29 AM) View Post
I only went through the survey results once but it appeared to me there was not a great deal of consensus about anything. Just because 75 experts (including Jill) answered the survey doesn't mean they all agreed on anything in particular. ON EDIT: Not to mention the fact that even if you had 100% agreement on any one thing, it wouldn't mean anything. The survey doesn't provide any insight into how the search engines work. It just offers insight into how the SEO community looks at search algorithms.


aint that the truth smile.gif a page full of guesses if ever i saw one. And i'm not saying i know different because i dont, and nor does anyone else.. even the 'experts'. How can you be an expert on something which is not an exact science? something which is not built on facts, but estimations and guesswork? I hate it when people brand themselves an SEO expert.. there is no such thing (marketing yes, SEO no).

#12 Jill

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:31 AM

QUOTE
Back on topic: My first * ("Links from web spam sites/pages"), refers generally to the five items under Factors Negatively Affecting the Value of an External Link farther down after you click the link. Ken restated Jill's statement that external links on bad sites don't matter. So why do the panelists generally agree with #1?


Because if there's the slightest chance that those links could cause harm, the way the question was asked, we had to say that yes, they might cause harm.

And as already stated, they can cause harm if you have no real links that are considered good.

The whole survey and answers needs to be taken with a grain of salt as others have already mentioned.


#13 Leafgreen

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 02:11 AM

Great. Superduper answers. thumbup1.gif Very much clears a lot up for me including Jill's:
QUOTE
the way the question was asked, we had to say that yes, they might cause harm.

About the survey:
QUOTE
a page full of guesses if ever i saw one.
Guesses? I think you're discounting the experience gained by of all those expert, respondent SEOs, including Jill. There's a good chance that many of the respondents base their responses on empirical, hard, statistical data they've gathered while doing their jobs. For me, it has been extremely helpful for me to at least get some information about what works and what doesn't, even if flawed. AFAIK, it's the best thing out there that takes the collective wisdom of experienced SEOs about Google's secret algorithm and makes it public. If you guys don't like it so much, PLEASE tell me what else is better out there!
P.S. You're funny Randy. lol.gif

Edited by Leafgreen, 06 October 2009 - 02:29 AM.


#14 adibranch

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE(Leafgreen @ Oct 6 2009, 02:11 AM) View Post
collective wisdom of experienced SEOs about Google's secret algorithm and makes it public


thats my point smile.gif there is nothing that experienced SEO's know (and i also consider myself experienced) as fact about any secret algorythms.. nothing. Its educated guesswork based on continous experimentation and the practice of following simple guidelines. See if any 'expert' tells you otherwise, but this will be the cornerstone of their work.
In a similar way i could make up a theory about the life on the planet blob, and brand myself an expert on it. However, until the residents tell me otherwise, i have no idea if its true whether they live on cheese or not. However, if i waffle on about it enough and market myself sufficiently, i will become the leading authority on the cheese theory. However, its ENTIRELY possible i may be wrong about it.

#15 Leafgreen

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Posted 06 October 2009 - 03:24 PM

adibranch: Come on. IMHO totally off base and not helpful. You ignored this:
QUOTE
base their responses on empirical, hard, statistical data they've gathered while doing their jobs.
. I can easily set up an experiment of changing some aspect of a website and record the effects of such. That's what expert SEOs have been doing for years. Your planet blob theory comparison is just not valid here. You are basically calling SEOs witch doctors. nono.gif




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