Linking Psychosis, PageRank, Adsense

Linking Psychosis is Treatable
by Mike Banks Valentine © September 21, 2004

Search Engine Optimization has become inextricably linked with linking schemes over the last couple of years. During that time EVERYONE has noticed the value of inbound links to their web sites. This has lead many agressive webmasters to buy up hundreds of keyword focused domain names, slap up a few weak and repetitive content pages over dozens of domain names in an attempt to build their own little empire.


This misguided strategy has littered the web with garbage that nobody wants to clean up. Outdated sites that no longer reflect the businesses that created them, with broken images, broken links and broken promises to visitors are everywhere. Their owners don’t maintain them, update them, and sometimes don’t even pay to host them as duplicated domains are strewn across free hosting services and are forgotten for years.


I’m reluctant to place the blame for this on Google, but I’m afraid I must. Google made PageRank the holy grail for the web and everyone simply set out in search of the holy grail. For those of you NOT obsessed with PageRank, it is only a small part of a complex set of factors Google uses to decide how important a site is based on how many other sites link to it. Linking is important, but many have become obsessed with it to the point of linking insanity.

There are linking clubs, reciprocal linking services, link building software, link popularity software, and now even link brokerages that purchase links on your behalf! Search engine optimization firms have now begun to establish and position domains solely for the purpose of selling links in multiple categories. Those same SEO firms fill their fully optimized pages with Google Adsense Ads to earn income from that portion of visitors not interested in pages of links.


Those visitors click away on the Adsense ads simply to find escape from the contentless link farm that they’ve found while looking for information. The SEO firm has made money both selling links and now from Adsense clickthroughs, but provides no useful information. This is litter generated along the road to traffic generation and link popularity!

Another phenomenon created by linking insanity is the self- referential linking scheme, where webmasters link ALL their sites from the footer of EVERY page on EVERY site to gain link popularity increases. If they’ve also created mini-webs of repetitive content strewn across hundreds of domains, they will inevitably link every domain to every other domain they own, sometimes from the bottom of every page on every single mini-web site – even their main domains!


Often the owners of these linking fiefdoms will refrain from using every page of their site to link out to their many tiny domains, but will create “index” or “sitemap” or “search” or “resources” pages that essentially do the same linking, but with keyword focused anchor text encompassing every possible search phrase that might be used to find their business site.

Those afflicted with linking psychosis have entirely lost contact with reality in favor of the fantasy of PageRankLand. The missing ingredient for these lost souls is the “Authority” site concept. They link from every page or domain TO every page or domain randomly and this confers no prominence of “Authority” to any one domain. They might actually succeed in their attempt to rank well if they weren’t so unclear on this single concept.


A single link from each domain – from ONE page – back to the “Authority” site will increase link popularity of the main site. Those mini-web sites SHOULD link to each other, but only once and only in one direction, in a daisy chain fashion to confer authority to the main site and lead the search engines to the next domain that does the same thing – it in turn confers authority to the main site and leads the spiders to the next mini-site, etc.

The mini-web site psychosis isn’t cured with this treatment. They STILL offer no substantial, original, useful content and the visitor gains nothing except being lead to the main site where they might find the product or service they set out to find in the beginning. A total cure comes only when real content of unique value is added to those individual mini-sites. Then they become self-actualized and they matter.

I’ve rescued many client mini-webs from linking psychosis by filling mini domains with useful, relevant and interestingly unique content. Those sites become destinations themselves, gain rank and status of their own and then link to the main business site, conferring even more relevance upon the single authority site they link to.

A treatment is available, the cure is substantial, relevant, unique text content. There is hope for linking psychosis.

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Search Engine Veteran - Enterprise SEO & Small Business Entrepreneurs. Advisor to startups for pre-launch optimization SEO Audits & consulting.

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