Oh No! It’s The Algorithm!
There are thought to be 200+ factors that are considered when Google analyzes a web page. These 200+ factors together are known collectively as “The Algorithm”. SEO’s like me study the algorithm so we can learn how to improve a web page the way Google wants to see it. That way we can get a page to rank higher for a particular keyword phrase.
The age of the page, the number of inbound links, the number of outbound links, the amount of unique text… we could get started and this would be a long discussion if we tried to name all the factors that go into “The Algorithm”. We’ll dive into that one later. Let’s just consider this one for today.
If I make a comment on another blog, will this help my PageRank?
The short answer is: Yes… but only if the blog has allowed you to have a trusted outbound link or what we call a “do follow” or a “good link”.
The other short answer is: “Maybe a little”… if the blog is set to the default status and they only provide “no follow” outbound links .
Here’s what a “good link” or a “do follow link” looks like:
And here is the “no follow link”:
<a href=”http://webdesignworkplace.com/about” rel=”nofollow”>
We call it “Link Love” or “Link Juice”
Don’t just take my word for it, there is a lot of documentation provided by Google on the rel=nofollow issue. Basically what The Google WebMaster Central doc tells us is that when you use a no follow link it will not pass PageRank to the target page. If you use a do follow link, it will pass PageRank to the target page. When you pass PR to a target page through a do follow link, SEO’s call it “Link Love” or “Link Juice”. Around the SEO Shop where I work a conversation between 2 SEO’s will sometimes include something like… “My cosmetic surgeon in Manhattan needs a little link juice, can you give me some?” Translation: “Can you give me an do follow inbound link from a web page you control that has PR?”
Now that you know what’s up with that, you can help your ranking on Google and build PR on a particular page (usually your homepage) by commenting on a blog that allows do follow comments. My personal feeling is that even though Google tells us that they do not allow PR to pass I think they must give some kind of positive accounting to the sheer number of inbound links a page gets that are no follows. A lot of SEO Theories exist revolving the idea of an Optimum Ratio of good inbound links to no follow inbound links. I’ll tell you right now there is no solid evidence regarding these kinds of ratios and don’t spend too much time on that. A web page in the wild will get good links and no follow links naturally over time and all other factors being considered exactly equal, a page with more do follow inbound links will rank better than a page with less do follow inbound links. And probably a page with just more no follow links would rank better than a page with less no follow links too. That’s just my professional opinion. Blogs default to no follow. So we can assume it’s perfectly natural for a page with inbound links that are no follow has some sort of interest in cyberspace.
Will Inbound Links from Bad Communities Hurt Your Page?
The short answer is: No. Google has to assume that inbound links are from a web property you do not control unless it can determine a cross-linking scheme like a link farm exists, or the link is from another website on the same class C IP address. I’ve seen lots of official stuff from Big G saying being on the same Class C IP address would not have a negative impact to the value of an inbound link but I don’t believe it. Conservative SEO’s like me… trying to make sure a client gets the best White Hat SEO you can give them, will put a client website on a Unique Class C IP address. That move will avoid the possibility that Google might think an inbound link from the same IP address has been manipulated. Why risk the chance that an inbound link might look like its from a link farm or that your site is one the same address as a known bad community? Sometimes a competitor who is acting in an unethical manner will link to a page from a known bad community in an attempt to discredit the target page. Google and Yahoo and Bing are all aware of this tactic and more than 9 times out of 10 it will not work to discredit the target page. That strategy does work sometimes, so to block that put your client on a Unique Class C IP address and “Forget About it”.
Here is a segment of a report I made with Link Diagnosis showing some of the inbound links to a webpage. Some of the PR on this spreadsheet I Jimmied up for the purpose of this conversation. Notice the “Link Type” for the the links on this part of the spreadsheet is “good”. Those are like money in the bank for an SEO. They add up to boost the PR on the target page and they are worth their weight in gold sometimes. All other Algorithm factors being considered equal, the web page with the most good inbound links wins.