David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

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The more links on a domain the better?

Dear reader, let me be a heretic once more.

We all know, or at least assume, that having multiple links to the same URL from a domain is an exercise in diminishing returns as far as search engine rankings are concerned.  That is to say, if you score a link to your home page from one page on a domain, any additional links to your home page from other pages on that same domain are worth less.  And the more links to your home page from that domain, the less each one is worth.

This makes sense.  If a domain has 1000 pages, a sitewide link cannot be viewed as 1000 endorsements for your home page.

But the web is a changing place, and in the past few months, services have been cropping up to submit your website to 1000 and even 2000 social bookmarking websites.  These services are similar to all those directory submission services and the article submission services, and they are often offered by the same people.  On the surface of it, there is nothing wrong, but it does require a reaction from the search engines.

But first, a personal rant.  Submitting your home page to 2000 social bookmarking sites is NOT social bookmarking.  It is bookmarking, but it is NOT social.  If it was social, these services would be promoting your page on these sites, networking with other users, and you would end up with several links at any one social bookmarking site (assuming your content is actually interesting).

OK, that was more than just a personal rant.*  In fact, I’ll bet the search engines are noticing the same thing and looking at the same numbers and raising one of their search engine eyebrows right now.  If there are thousands of single-link entries at each social bookmarking website, most of which are essentially paid links, should those each be worth more than each entry that garnered, let’s say 12 Diggs or Zooms?  Those dozen votes clearly are exactly the type of recommendations the search engines look for in their algorithms.  Single links at social bookmarking websites clearly are not.  Each Digg or Zoom should be worth more than each single entry.  In fact, we might even go so far as to say that the more Diggs or Zooms, the more each one should be worth.

What should the search engines do?  Clearly, their algorithms must distinguish between sitewide links and links that appear numerous times independently on the same website.  This is true not just for social bookmarking sites, but also for forums where a resource might be cited in numerous threads over time.

Maybe Google and Yahoo and MSN already do this.  Maybe I’m not being that heretical after all.  Naw, that just would be too out-of-character.

* It qualifies as a rant because I capitalized the “NOT”.  Twice.

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10 Responses to “The more links on a domain the better?”

  1. Andy @ Do Follow 001 (1 comments) Says:

    It would seem unthinkable that thousands of links from one domain to one URL would count in Googles eyes as thousands of separate links, but I think you overstate this case when you write “That is to say, if you score a link to your home page from one page on a domain, any additional links to your home page from other pages on that same domain are worth less. ”
    From my experience I don’t think that the algorithm goes that far.

  2. David Leonhardt (140 comments) Says:

    @ Andy. Just to clarify, I said “worth less”, not “worthless”. In other words, if the first link on the domain is worth a certain amount, the second link on the domain would be worth just a little less than the first. And the third would be worth just a little less than the second. With each additional link on the domain, there would be diminishing returns. At least, this appears to be conventional wisdom in the SEO community.

  3. Matthew Jakes (1 comments) Says:

    Yes! I know what you mean by bookmarking not being social.. I once tried to submit my website to at least 350 social bookmarking websites.. took a long time.. By the way I like this website and this blog!

  4. john philips (1 comments) Says:

    David
    I’ve often heard this and it stands to reason that a 1000 links from 1 domain is less valuable compared to 1000 links from a 1000 different domains. What I have never heard is how much less? Are any links after 10 virtually worthless?
    Any thoughts?

  5. David Leonhardt (140 comments) Says:

    @ John Philips I don’t think anybody really knows, but it is assumed to be a downward curve with a long tail…a typical curve of diminishing returns. I know economists have some official term for it, but I can’t seem to find it at the moment.

  6. wilson (40 comments) Says:

    WoW, David. After I read this article, I learnt one lesson, "it's better not to put all your eggs in one basket!"

  7. Robinson (1 comments) Says:

    It would seem unthinkable that thousands of links from one domain to one URL would count in Googles eyes as thousands of separate links, but I think you overstate this case when you write "That is to say, if you score a link to your home page from one page on a domain, any additional links to your home page from other pages on that same domain are worth less. "

    From my experience I don't think that the algorithm goes that far.

  8. Mike (11 comments) Says:

    Google I believe already discounts sitewide links, or as you say gives less weight to them when they see them on the bottom of every page on a site. Social bookmarking has become the new way to get lots of links to your site, and just as directory submissions got devalued, this probably will to in Google’s eyes. Yahoo and MSN, not so sure though. Google has more strict guidelines to keep their search results relevant.

  9. Austin (1 comments) Says:

    Yes I agree with you totally. Just submitting to the social bookmarking sites is not in any way social. There has to be some level of interaction for this to qualify as social bookmarking.

  10. SEO (17 comments) Says:

    True, social bookmarking sites are not at all social as it does not promote your link. Also, for me the algorithm behind ranking web page is hard to understand.

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