A while back, I wrote about why to ignore three-way link requests. Many of the reasons I listed had to do with the quality of the site linking back to you. But what if it’s a PR3 home page. Sounds like a juicy link to score, doesn’t it? Well, maybe not. I don’t want to pick on one domain or another, but I need an example, so the one that came in today will do. In the words of the link-exchanger:
Mate its PR 3 schoolsprepared.orgCheck it again..not throwaway…
There are so many domains like this, and while a link from that page might not carry zero value, it’s caveat emptor. Here are seven reasons why this is not a ” Wow! A PR3 home-page link!”
The domain will get dumped.Like so many others, this domain used to be a real website, but no longer. One glance at it with naked eyes shows that it was nicely set up and had a purpose. It accumulated a PageRank of 3, which means it was somewhat active on the Internet. And like so many others, the owners bailed out and sold the domain to someone who thought a PR3 website would be great for three-way link exchanges. So what happens once the site is “used up”? Once it is so stuffed with links that it is no longer useful for attracting link-exchanges, what do you think will happen to that website (and your link on it)? Come on, be honest, do you really trust that they will continue to maintain the website?
The page will fail to keep up. Let’s suppose they do maintain the website, honestly remaining committed to protecting the link they posted to your website, as promised. How long will the page remain PR3. Remember, PageRank is relative; as the total number of web pages and the total number of links on the Internet increase, so too does the link juice required to maintain a given PageRank. But the owners are not building links to this site; they are building links to another site.
The page will not attract new links. The eyeball test tells you this is a link farm. Even if it isn’t technically a link farm, it looks like one on first glance. Nobody will want to link to it. No bloggers. No industry sites. Nobody. The owner could be less careless and format the links nicely. But, as with most such situations, the owners did not.
The page will suffer link attrition. OK, let’s take this one step further. Over time, all websites suffer from link-attrition. That is to say, links die every day (websites close down, links pages are cleaned up, links get pushed deeper and deeper on directory pages, etc.), and links pointing to the page your link is on will die. In the case of a website that looks cheap like this, it stand to suffer accelerated attrition, as some websites linking to it will remove their links when they realize what they are now linking to.
No targeted traffic. As Yura Filimonov pointed out to me, sites like this won’t deliver targeted traffic. Anyone who lands on such a page will quickly see that it is useless and back out the door. Of course many links don’t deliver much traffic, but one of the benefits expected from a home page link is some targeted traffic.
PageRank will be diluted. Eventually there will be dozens, maybe hundreds of links on the page. The PR from PR3 (what’s left of it) will be diluted before the domain gets recycled, is dumped or simply disappears.
You are not fooling the search engines. If I can see with a glance that this is a flipped website turned link farm, do you really believe that Google and Yahoo are being fooled? Please, don’t flatter me; I know they are smarter than I am.
“So, OK, David…would my link on a page like this place my website at risk?” you ask.
I doubt it. If you have 100 inbound links and 80 of them are from home page link farms, that might throw up a pretty big red flag. But if you have a dozen links on silly pages like this amongst 500 links of various quality, I can’t imagine it harming your rankings. Just don’t go jumping for joy thinking you’ve struck gold. You’ve just found a penny.
Related reading on a humerous note: a spammer link exchange note.
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