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Can you have too many inbound links to your blog?

A well known Search Engine Optimization strategy that most serious bloggers keep in mind is that the more links that you have pointing to your blog from other sites the higher your page will be ranked in search engines like google. This is a generally accepted strategy for building the profile of your blog and is in fact one of the strengths of blogging (as at the heart of our medium is the linking that bloggers do to one another).

But can you have too many inbound links pointing at your blog?

The growing opinion of SEO experts is that you can. In fact a recent patent by Google indicates that sites that have big increases in inbound links to them in short periods (especially young sites) can actually be treated as spam sites by Google’s algorithm.

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Google PageRank Update Analysis

Search Engine Journal has a useful post analyzing the latest Google PageRank Update in which they speculate as to why many sites have decreased in their visible PR whilst increasing their backlinks:

‘The most current PageRank update will undoubtedly cause a larger stir than usual in that many sites have shown drops in their visible PageRank while at the same time showing significant increases in their backlinks. This fact reveals that one of three things has occurred in this latest update:

1. Google has raised the bar on PageRank, making it more difficult to attain a high level, or

2. The way they are displaying their backlinks has changed, or

3. The way they calculate the value of an incoming link has changed.’

Google Page Rank Explained?

Many of ProBlogger.net readers are reporting in comments significant changes in their blog’s Google Page Rankings in this latest update. Those sites that are reporting the largest changes tend to be new sites (which is understandable) with older more mature blogs reporting only minor (if any) changes.

Every time Google updates like this I find my email inbox full of questions about Page Rank – questions like”

  • what is Page Rank?
  • why is it important?
  • how do I improve my blog’s Page Rank?
  • why isn’t my Page Rank changing?
  • how do I check my blog’s Page Rank?
  • why has my blog’s Page Rank gone down?
  • is Page Rank still relevant?

The questions are many and varied so I thought I’d attempt to answer a few (keeping in mind that on many of these questions no one (outside of Google’s inner circle) really knows the answer to some of them).

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Google is Page Rank Update – July 05

Forums are reporting that Google is doing a Toolbar Page Rank update – I’m yet to notice any significant changes but have chatted to a few bloggers who noticed big leaps and falls in their blogs. Is it impacting you yet? As per usual it’s too early to tell where everything will settle – but share your initial observations if you’d like in comments below.

Basic SEO Tactics

If climbing the Search Engine Rankings is your priority at the moment and you’re not sure where to start – give Duncan’s article on Basic SEO tactics for bloggers a read. It’s solid advice.

How to Get Indexed by Google

I’ve had a few readers write to let me know that they’re having trouble getting indexed by Google and asking for advice.

There are a lot of different theories on how to get into Google’s search returns but by far the simplest way to do it that I’ve found is to simply get a link from another site that has already been indexed by Google that Google sends it’s bots to regularly.

Of course you can also submit your site to Google to be ranked or use a search engine submission program to do it – but I find the link option works pretty well in most cases for me. It might take a few days, or even a week or so in some cases, but in most cases it works reasonably quickly.

As bloggers the best way to do this is to write quality content that other bloggers will link to and to interact with other bloggers on their blogs (genuinely) via their comments. This is all it should really take to get indexed by Google. Of course then you have the challenge of getting to the top of the list for the keywords that you’re wanting to target. This is another story and is not quite so simple and some people spend their lives working on this task. Again there are many theories out there.

My advice in climbing the rankings is similar to getting indexed. In order to climb the rankings you again need other sites to link to you. In my mind this is the most important aspect of good SEO (search engine optimization). There are of course other factors, but what it largely comes down to in my experience is inbound links from other sites (relevant, highly ranked ones using the keywords you want to rank for to link to you ideally).

Does anyone else have any other tips for those exploring this? Feel free to add yours below so we can all learn.

MSN Search Update in Progress?

I’ve noticed quite a few people in Search Engine forums over the past day commenting on changes that they are experiencing in MSN Search results for their sites. It looks like they have an update of some sort in progress.

I noticed earlier today significant shifts (mainly downward) in my MSN results in checking Digital Point’s Keyword Tracker. These updates sometimes take a few days to settle so I’ll be watching with interest.

Has anyone else noticed any changes?

BlogSpot Spam Blogs

Geektronica makes a few observations about the growing fat of BlogSpot:

I’ve been cruising the Blogspot world lately looking for cool stuff that the bigger geeklogs might have missed (and I found some cool knitting sites as a result last time I did this). What I’ve found, though, is that a large percentage (maybe up to a third) of all Blogspot blogs are spam-logs – sites created to increase the Google ranking of some other site (which is itself usually a Google-spamming site). The ultimate purpose of these spamlogs is usually to drive traffic to a commission-paying pharmacy, pr0n, or casino site.

I can’t wait until they start creating spam podcasts. Though I’m sure it is already underway. Idiots.

Google Sitemaps

Yesterday Google launched Google Sitemaps which they describe as follows:

‘Google Sitemaps is an easy way for you to help improve your coverage in the Google index. It’s a collaborative crawling system that enables you to communicate directly with Google to keep us informed of all your web pages, and when you make changes to these pages.

With Google Sitemaps you get:

  • Better crawl coverage to help people find more of your web pages
  • Fresher search results
  • A smarter crawl because you can provide specific information about all your web pages, such as when a page was last modified or how frequently a page changes’

You can read a little more about it at the Google Blog.

Looks interesting. Once again I’m running out of time to check it out but would be interested in the opinions and experiences of others. Are you going to give it a go?