Link Popularity and the Myth of the Guestbook Link

    April 15, 2003

Link popularity is crucial for your pages to rank well in search engines, but the value of guestbook links is questionable, at best, and potentially lethal, at worst.

You have probably been to a site that had a section called a “Guestbook.” Many sites ask you to “sign their guestbook,” and many of these guestbooks also permit HTML code in the guestbook comments, meaning you or I or anyone can visit guestbooks on web sites all day long and systematically create links back to our sites from hundreds of other site’s guestbooks.

Naturally, some web marketers (probably the ones that think exit pop-ups are useful) think that by signing guestbooks and adding links by the hundreds they will improve their link popularity scores at search engines.

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Search Engine Watch provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines. The site was created by Danny Sullivan, an Internet consultant and journalist who continues to maintain the site for He is assisted by associate editor Chris Sherman.