The Trouble With Linking

    May 19, 2006

For sites that are trying to move up the ranks in search engines, the time may come where they have to make a choice. Google appears to approach the issue differently than Yahoo! and MSN do, making it difficult, if not impossible, to rank highly in all three.

MSN and Yahoo! seem to reward the practice known as “link whoring,” in which a page’s address is spread far and wide throughout blogs and across the Internet (regardless of how relevant it is to wherever it’s placed). Blogger Andy Hagans estimates that it is possible to “rank in MSN in a month and Yahoo! in three months” using these sorts of tactics.

Google, though, is a far more fickle beast. The search engine seems to disdain link whores, and reward those who build their reputation more honestly. But for many people, the problem is that Google’s reward (of a high rank) can be very slow in coming. And there seems to less of a guarantee that it will come at all, compared to Yahoo! and MSN.

And so these last two sites have become the default targets for many affiliates who are trying to raise their ranking. Google remains a tantalizing goal, though-it is, by far, the most popular search engine. A lower ranking in Google could yield just as many views as a higher ranking in a less popular engine.

Although the details of each search engine’s ranking system remain proprietary, it could mean increased business for Google if people find out the other engines can be so easily influenced. This would make a Google ranking even more important than it already is.

If affiliates want a high Google ranking, it looks like they’ll need to behave themselves. Eric Ward perhaps said it best: “Google doesn’t like link whores.”

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.