Links: Why They are of Little Value in Helping to Achieve Front Page Google Results

You have been working hard on a link building project for your website, to improve its standing in the search engines. Suddenly, you are no longer on the front pages of Google. What happened? It’s the law of averages working against you; you may have done this to yourself, and it isn’t pretty. Keep reading to find out more.

I was so moved by this subject that I stopped all the work I had been doing to write this article. I have sat and read forum after forum, posting after posting, for over a year now, by webmasters whose websites have fallen out of Google’s front page results and now are mad, irate, crying, moaning, complaining, and thinking of suing a website that offers a free service.

I also happen to post to a few freelance websites for work, and lately I have seen nothing but link building projects. “I want 200 Google PR 9 one way back links that must stay there each month, use the keyword terms I want, linked to my index page. The linking page should have no more than 50 links. Willing to pay 25 cents a link.”

Right, and people in hell want ice water, but I’m not selling. And you should not buy into the idea that lots of links to your website will get your website to the front pages of Google. Many “SEO experts” (I use the term loosely here) have spouted this mantra, and then run off to build link-building websites

Now, does anyone else see a bit of a set up here? Have you checked the prices on Patrick Gavin’s website for a text link ad? Do you think he would say that links don’t matter, and then try to sell you them? Does the fish man yell “smelly, rotten, fish for sale”? Of course not, but there is a fishy smell about the text link hawkers saying that links are the Holy Grail to profits or Google front page results for that matter.

{mospagebreak title=How Data Mining Works}

Time to toss the covers off the scam, but first a little history. Prior to immersing myself in search engine optimization and marketing, I was an investigator for a few large retail companies. I became involved with data mining in the mid 1980s, and began accessing the Internet at the same time.

Data mining was being developed in the retail industry for what was termed “exception reports.” What these were, basically, was a listing of possible frauds being committed against the retailers by its own employees. These reports were run using ASP 400s and legacy software. This legacy software was a script developed to calculate averages of all the retail stores’ financial activity. Once the averages were calculated and stored in the database, another script was designed to only mine data where the was an aberration above or below the average.

So, for example if 5,000 salespeople nationwide during the hours of 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM only rang an average of one return transaction per hour, anyone who rang three, four, or more in that same time hour could be a possible cause of internal loss. This was not, and is not, conclusive evidence to judge the offender guilty of a crime; it was more of a tool to stop the hemorrhaging caused by internal theft, a direction indicator so to speak.

You’re probably thinking, “What does a bunch of employees who steal have to do with links to my website?”

{mospagebreak title=Data Manipulation}

Good question. Here’s the answer. Every search engine robot is a script. It’s not a real material thing one can see but a script, albeit one of over 100 parts, but still a script. Each search engine robot stores information about your website in its database. This is what is known as an index, and in it resides information useful to a search robot trying to determine who has a useful, resourceful website that complies with each search engine’s quality guidelines. It also uses this information to determine which websites are trying to manipulate its search results index.

UH OH…It does what? It catches those webmasters who try to manipulate its database or results listings. It works very much like the scripts that catch retail employees stealing cash and merchandise from their employers. You might want to be sitting down to read this next part, since what I’m about to reveal will have a huge impact on the cheats in this industry, and on what may have happened to your website.

Google stores in its database a cache of your Web page at the time it indexed your website, along with a cache of your links. Now why would it store a cache of your links? Reasons include: seeing who you link to, seeing who links to you, and — this is important — seeing how many links a website builds over time, in relation to the amount of time it took the average authority site to build their links.

{mospagebreak title=What Happens When a Discrepancy is Spotted}

Can you guess what happens when Google determines the average authority site took a year to build 100 links, and it finds a website that built 200 or 300 links per month in the same category? It sees these websites as trying to influence Google’s search results, and applies a penalty with a dampening filter. This is what might have happened to all those websites that have disappeared from Google’s index of results alltogether. Next time you get a penalty, don’t continue the practice you were using. It seems it failed.

For proof of this I used a few keyword terms. Under the keyword term “tax” the sites in the top 10 results on Google’s free or organic results built 100 links per year on average. For the SEO experts (cough!) under the term “search engine optimization” the average amount of links built per year is between 600 and 700.

It should be said that there are some cases in which links have been attained quickly and which have not been deemed to be trying to influence the search reults. This is usually due to reasons such as tremendous growth, offline marketing, and client satisfaction. For these reasons, such sites may rise well above the average, and should be seen as a sign of their popularity as people link to the website.

There is a huge difference between the natural link building that was started in the mid 1990s and artificial link building done by the hucksters and hacks of the online search engine optimization experts of today. Just because many concur with an idea that is wrong does not mean one should follow blindly.

This is also a direct reflection of the SEO experts fees to optimize a website. Those of us who optimize a website to Google’s front pages without link building can afford to charge thousands of dollars less than those firms who build links, which usually get their clients filtered. On average it takes 15 minutes to build a link. Four links per hour is typically charged at a rate of $50.00 per hour.

Save your money for a nice Pay-Per-Click campaign; it’s safer and earns revenue. If you want to toss money at an SEO, I’ll be glad to help you out of it, but I’m not an “expert.”

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