There is a
persistent rumor going on
out there, that says if you don't have an outgoing links page, it will
improve your search engine ranking on Google by saving your page rank.
Setting aside for the moment the incongruity of asking for a inbound
directly or by inference, when you don't have a page to put a
on, which most people consider very bad Netiquette, this is in a word
PageRank relies on the web itself, using its link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value = Page rank. Google figures a link from page A to page B is a vote, by page A, for page B. But Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and therefore " Rank" higher than others as a vote.
Which is, where we
get the whole idea
of high ranking site links being worth more. But if you ARE the high
site ( or wish to be ) does that mean to keep all the goodies for
and "vote" for no one else ? Some people seem to think so.
By linking out to other sites, your website can actually gain Page Rank, by becoming a "hub" or an "authority site" IE: become more "important" in your topic area.
Many sites have gained high rank on Google for their links pages alone, because they provide such good content that is constantly updated. Google likes new content and an often updated links page can be just the ticket. A quick check of any engine, for just about any keyword and you will see this in action. The reason being, a well maintained links page, is loaded with relevant keywords for the topic.
There is the fear, that if a webmaster does this and gets the ranking for the links pages, that he will get visitors, only to lose them to their outbound links. And for some visitors, they are right to a degree, but the viewer will remember the site, if it's valuable to them and they will come back to see more, and it's the repeat visitor that matters.
The trick is, they
found you didn't
they via that high ranking links page ? And that's the name of the
If they find you useful, they will be back, giving you the opportunity
to parade the rest of the site before their eyes.
Back to the " importance" thing again. If the other sites are high in the engines for similar keywords to yours and in the same basic category, then outbound links to them makes sense. Think of it from Googles point of view, if you outbound to one they " know" is " important" then you are providing relevant information for your viewer.
best of all in that
case, as it serves you both. Don't get so hung up on this that you
to link to a site unless they have X page rank however, back links are
only one factor, one of over a 100 that Google uses to determine Page
links are not the be all and end all of PR. The point is to
good, useful and enjoyable content to your visitors. Google
rank is not everything.
All in, no out .. the engines work by hitting your site and going onward to whatever links they find. If all the links on the pages are internal, meaning all point to you and only you, then you are, what is called a link sink or a dead end. Google will rate the site as having less value as a resource for this ... for good reason.
It stops their spiders flow of indexing and cataloging the web, as now it has to back out of your site and go find someplace new to index. As you have given them no leads. The whole site becomes a dangling link, in effect.
links are a somewhat differant
subject, as they are just hanging out in mid air, as there is no where
else to go, as they do not even cycle back into the site itself. There
are some events where this is normal and expected, say for example: a
to a download, or PFD file, but otherwise, not acceptable or useful.
This is called hoarding page rank, and people will go to extremes to keep it. Like never link out ... ever. Or worse, appear to post links, but put "no index, no follow" in the meta tags, which tells Google NOT to follow the links.
Which is shooting oneself in the foot in the long run, as they are telling Google not to index their OWN links on that page in the process. And if they run your page rank down, what value the link you have on your page to them ? Real short sighted thinking. Lots of other Improper linking practices out there. This is but one of them.
Hoarding penalties: Google itself is targeting sites that hoard page rank, with re directs and hidden links in java scripts and other such sneaky tactics, they are well aware of what's happening here and will penalize for it. Google's Terms of Service, specifically states that any form of cloaking or masking techniques are not acceptable.
system requires PR
to flow from site to site and has begun to target those web sites that
are damming that flow with penalties. Penalties can range from a drop
rank, to being dropped from the engine.
If you outlink correctly, you will get good inbound links in return, so you haven't "lost" anything. And recall, its the links page that loses or gains, not the whole site, so do you really care if the links page is always fluctuating about a bit in page rank ? It works like this ...
"A page's PageRank = 0.15 + 0.85 * ( *a "share" of the PageRank of every page that links to it)
"Share" = the linking page's PageRank divided by the number of outbound links on the page.
The probability that the random surfer clicks on one link is solely given by the number of links on that page. This is why one page's PageRank is not completely passed on to a page it links to, but is divided by the number of links on the page"
Its a numbers
game, which all evens
itself out, if handled correctly. Beyond this simple example you have
be a mathematician to appreciate it or even understand it.
A link is only considered to have value if its likely to be clicked on and followed. If there are masses of links on the page, the likelihood of that happening, drops exponentially. This same philosophy follows for unrelated links. If your on a Dog site and the link is about gambling, how likely are you to hit the link ? Not very, the value drops accordingly.
Ditto having links in unrelated categories, or no categories. Again drops the likelihood of them being found and used. So their value and the value of the page they are on, drops again.
There is no great
mystery to Google's
ranking system other than its mathematics :) Its based on an attempt to
provide the best answers to the questions put to the engine. A sites "
rank" means its " important" , " relevant" , not "spam" and will
the seeker with what they seek. And that includes relevant outbound
that provide the viewer with even more content. And for this they
the site, with higher rank and placement in the engine and therefore
possiblity of more traffic and viewers.