David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing

Tips for better SEO (search engine optimization) and website marketing …

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Want a link on a throw-away domain?

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.org
 
Check 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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48 Responses to “Want a link on a throw-away domain?”

  1. FFB (1 comments) Says:

    I used to be in scouts as a kid. My scoutmaster would make sure we left our campsite was clean when we left. He would tell us regarding bits of garbage "If I can see it, you can see it. If you can see it then the Rangers can see it – pick it up." Same here right? The more we try to fool the SE's the more they look into questionable practices and odds are they root them out long before we know about it. The idea is to get relevant links.

  2. Translation Services (1 comments) Says:

    I personally like 3-way exchange and all of my sites are top 10 in Google.

  3. Majestic-SEO (1 comments) Says:

    > The page will not attract new links

    It is possible to predict if site is getting new recent backlinks by using our free tool that shows link discovery by month: http://www.majesticseo.com/comparedomainbacklinkhistory.php

    Patterns for some of the most junk domains would often be a spike of backlinks found some time ago, so the number may look respectable, but pattern isn’t.

  4. Corey (2 comments) Says:

    " No targeted traffic. " .. Pagerank and Traffic have no correlation. If you buy a link with Pr, its for juice and for anchor-text help, not for traffic. You are doing this to assist search engine traffic and rankings, not referrer-traffic. So – what does this have to do with anything.

    Your best point was link attrition – but still you buy a pr3 garbage link for what its worth – garbage – case closed. C'mon people.

  5. Blue Word Maker (1 comments) Says:

    Good tips here. I still think 3-way link trades are the best way to go about trading, but all link builders and SEOs should do homework on a link before just going along with it because another site owner said it's a cool link. If a site is relevant, however, it should probably still be considered a good link. Just don't trade out a PR4 or 5 from your site for a PR3 farm. Common sense people!

  6. USASEOPros (1 comments) Says:

    Sounds like this kind of thing could get you in to some bad neighborhoods, which could cause problems pretty quickly with your site.

  7. Tampa Movers (1 comments) Says:

    I think you're definitely right about this not being a worthwhile link exchange. However I disagree with your point #6 – Matt Cutts from Google recently confirmed that your link juice is not spread out among all your outgoing links. Meaning, having more links on your site does not dilute the PR each site gets from your links. What happens instead is that Google assigns different links a different amount of PR flow based on their relevance and quality, regardless of how many other links exist on the same page.

  8. David Leonhardt (140 comments) Says:

    Who mentioned anything about buying links?

  9. Brian Hancock (2 comments) Says:

    If that were the case then we could all get links from 'bad neighborhoods' and point them to our competitors…

  10. free SEO tips (1 comments) Says:

    I personally feel that three way links are nothing but a subset of reciprocal links. I noticed some SEOs indicate them as new kind of high risk one-way link building strategy. The reason could be the industry is slowly moving away from reciprocals. The most important mandatory requirement in three way link building is relevancy of the web sites to your website.

  11. JohnMarshall12 (1 comments) Says:

    One of the best posts I have seen about the hazards of three way links. Often times, you will see websites or now a number of online newspapers that still except blog posts eventhough they aren't making any new posts. These offer little if any value to website owners. The best links will always be with those sites that are growing and building. The bots are more likely to revisit the site and see your link and also increase the change you will get visitors to come over to your site. Basically, I am saying this is a bad way to try to game the system.

  12. Forex (2 comments) Says:

    You are on the ball! I get these requests ALL the time. I used to get excited about it until I found out exactly what you are talking about here.. These links become useless in no time.

  13. Fat Lester (4 comments) Says:

    I'd like to add one more reason to the list that unless I somehow skipped over it was not included on the list. It has to do with 301 domain forwarding. If a given domain name has been set to 301 redirect to a different domain name, the domain being forwarded will show in the toolbar pagerank the rank of the site being forwarded to if the settings are changed and the redirect canceled and replaced with a website hosted at the domain previously being forwarded. The toolbar will reflect this phony pagerank until Google updates the toolbar data. This could be weeks or months after the initial redirect was canceled. During that time period, the toolbar will display the inaccurate pagerank figure of the previous destination site of the 301 redirect.

    Shady link sellers will misrepresent this when promoting links on the domain that actually has zero PR but that shows a PR3 or PR4 or whatever in the toolbar for the time period prior to Google's next updating of the toolbar. A lot of link-buyers are scammed into overpaying for valueless links by scammers using this tactic.

  14. Leadership (3 comments) Says:

    Yeah – I think the biggest one here is the quality of the link. The pagerank of the page will also inevitably dwindle to PR2 which is effectively worthless – not worth the hassle of a link exchange anyway, thats for sure. Link farms = waste of time.

  15. SEO Nottingham (1 comments) Says:

    Some great points made here. I have always tried to stay away from 3 way links. I am constantly debating with other SEO professionals who claim that a link is a link regardless. However my opinion is that links should have something relevant on the other end of them. If your site has a link back from a page that is also linking to porn, or non relevant sites, it will ultimately have a negative effect.

  16. tom-cloak n rotate (1 comments) Says:

    Well written! grateful to know that three-way link requests are garbage. I get these requests by email all the time. Still have many to learn about seo, thanks.

  17. Montreal SEO (1 comments) Says:

    …but for how long.

    There are many tricks in the book to earn a site "trust", but over time the SE algos get tweaked to disregard the attempts at having a site *seem* trusted.

    So while the SE manipulation flavour-of-the year might work today, this is why I'll always put at least equal time and energy on making a site worth linking to.

  18. Free AcaiBurn (1 comments) Says:

    I've never really dealt with these 3-way link type of offers before, simply because I'm too smart to go for that crap. Here's the seo rule of thumb on offers to bet backlinks: if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

  19. David James (1 comments) Says:

    I think the biggest one here is the quality of the link.

  20. Ruri (6 comments) Says:

    You give the point. I agree sometimes some web owners lazy enough to maintain the 2nd site he/she has. Therefore, I think it is our job to look at carefully from where we will got the linking.

    In other case, I think sometimes web owners develop the real business on the 2nd site and give a good link from the 1st link. If 1st website give a link on the homepage and If the 1st link increase in link popularity. automatically the 2nd site will increase in link popularity. Because the 2nd site get the link direct from popular homepage.

  21. myseodoc.com (1 comments) Says:

    Good tips here
    The most important mandatory requirement in three way link building is relevancy of the web sites to your website.

  22. PSP (1 comments) Says:

    I would call it threesome exchange, not 3-way exchange :))

    One day big G will catch all that cheaters :)

  23. LoanGuy (1 comments) Says:

    I see you point but many links you get will die over time and a link is a link and PR 3 links are worth it in the short term especially if its relevant.

  24. HB-SEO (1 comments) Says:

    Links on pages like that are worthless, it will have a minimum effect, instead look for long lasting link exchanges from true quality pages, if you must exchange links.

    Like in real life, long lasting and well build relations with other companies (websites) are much more profitable in the long run….. Short termed relations are a waste of time, in my opinion.

  25. Spine Care (1 comments) Says:

    I love the fact that there are good neigjborhoods out there that we can link too. But nevertheless, I am not bothered by PR at all. I am most concerned with quality content. :)

  26. NicoleG015 (1 comments) Says:

    In my own opinion I also not bothered by a High PR rate because in my experience there is a site that even have a PR of 0 that still have top SERP.

  27. NCOA2009! (1 comments) Says:

    I noticed some SEOs indicate them as new kind of high risk one-way link building strategy. SEO are professionals who claim that a link is a link regardless.

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  28. Wedding Songs (1 comments) Says:

    Competitive SEO agents will know if the website is maintained or not. Based from my assessment, PR can be manipulated but I have no idea yet how they do it. Before I do exchange link, I check the number of inbound links pointing to that blog/site then I evaluate it if the number of links corresponds to the PR. The idea is – a PR 3 can't have 50 inbound links right? Good points raised in your article!

    Ms M

  29. catalog printer (1 comments) Says:

    Wedding Songs, that's not exactly true. If a page has a lot of inbound links from high PR sites, it could be a PR 3 easily. Just because it only has 50 inlinks that doesn't mean it can't be PR 3. For example, if it has links from 50 PR 6 and PR 7 sites, it could easily be PR 3.

  30. Essay Writers (1 comments) Says:

    Thank you for the pointers. Your posts have been a big help with my initiatives. Most SEO practitioners here in Canada try, as much as possible, to stay away from link farms as it will eventually do harm the site's ranking.

  31. Local marketing (2 comments) Says:

    Good points. Link building is like most other things, to do it right takes time and effort.

  32. hospedagem (2 comments) Says:

    I ike two-way exchange and all of my sites are top 20 in Google.

  33. Stephen G (1 comments) Says:

    Personally, I think it's a case by case basis. A blank page with a link on it is just ridonkulous and you know it, I know and those who just kid themselves must surely deep down know it.

    The real question is, how smart are the search engines.

    My answer – VERY! They are created by intelligent people and they are getting better. What value does a page with no words have? None, zilch,zip,nada.

    Words per link count!

    Words per page count!

    Then and only then can the PR enter the equation.

  34. Perth SEO (1 comments) Says:

    Building links is one of the most important parts of SEO but I think you should go for quality links over quantity. It will only take a little bit longer to get a long term quality link rather than participating in link exchanges and the like (including 3-way exchanges).

    Try to keep it real and if it is something done solely for the purpose of getting a link it probably isn't adding value to the web.

  35. batteries (1 comments) Says:

    The most important mandatory requirement in three way link building is relevancy of the web sites to your website.

  36. Rudiawan (1 comments) Says:

    In some cases Google Page Rank is not related to the top position of the Google's first page. I believe that good content with relevant backlinks will work better in the long term. I agree that linking to the domains you mentioned in your post above won't give any benefit to our websites.

    Thank you for your post,

    Rudi

  37. Mike Ashdown (1 comments) Says:

    Im doing three way Link exchange almost 5 months already. Thanks for the great info! I am agree with HB-SEO says: Links on pages like that are worthless, it will have a minimum effect, instead look for long lasting link exchanges from true quality pages, if you must exchange links.

    Like in real life, long lasting and well build relations with other companies (websites) are much more profitable in the long run….. Short termed relations are a waste of time

  38. Portable Tap Floors (1 comments) Says:

    Well, i do not do this thing. I am just doing usual stuff but it works to help my website.

  39. gurgle (1 comments) Says:

    Good shout – it's not like a link farm with PR 3 will last long, or give you particularly good strength on – it will be far too diluted.

  40. Clark Marketing Blog (1 comments) Says:

    Great post, this is an area I have often told people to look at when acquiring inbound or 3-way links.

    Hardly anybody I speak to thinks about it before the points are raised, especially around the "will the PR3 domain be sold"

    Thanks for this, I will look around the blog some more

  41. Hospitalitystaff (1 comments) Says:

    SEO designate them as new type of high rank one-way link building strategy. I am not concerned by PR at all.

  42. dangarbusa (1 comments) Says:

    I used to be in scouts as a kid. My scoutmaster would make sure we left our campsite was clean when we left. He would tell us regarding bits of garbage "If I can see it, you can see it. If you can see it then the Rangers can see it – pick it up." Same here right? The more we try to fool the SE's the more they look into questionable practices and odds are they root them out long before we know about it. The idea is to get relevant links.

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  43. Bakuri Software (1 comments) Says:

    I thought three way link exchange will be useful but going through your article i can able to understand the true facts. Thanks for posting such a wonderful article.

  44. Singapore SEO (2 comments) Says:

    I hate link building process. I wish it could be automated by using bot but the quality of links obtained would be bad. I miss those days when SEO is all about putting keywords in the meta keyword tag. Blame it on Sergey Brin & Larry Page. :)

  45. Buy Mineral Makeup (1 comments) Says:

    Great points made. I have often thought about using 3 way links but never really got round to doing it. The points you raised such as the value of the links falling over time are some of the core reasons why I remain skeptical about these types of linking strategies.

  46. bestregistrycleaner (2 comments) Says:

    If a given site is significant, perhaps, it should probably be considered a good link. Prefer to trade out on High PR than low… And I still consider 3-way link trades are best way to go on trading..

  47. Rick (5 comments) Says:

    I think 3-way links are good idea, compare to 2-way links. Anyway, 1-way links are the best you can have.

  48. Tiens shop (2 comments) Says:

    Cool post you have here.I personally think 3-way exchange is the best.

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