By Eric Ward

August 27, 2007

The full text with hyperlinks for this Link Week column can 
be read at SearchEngineLand.com here

Last week’s column Aggressively Seeking Links – How Much Is Too Much? sparked several comments and questions. In the past, I’ve hesitated to revisit previous columns, preferring to let them stand on their own, but this time I’d like to make an exception to clarify some of the assertions I made.

In that column, I wrote “…spotting manipulated linking patterns isn’t as hard as some people think it is” In response, I was asked “What would you classify as ‘manipulated linking patterns”, and “…it would be great if you could give examples of easily identifiable patterns“.

First, note that I am not saying a manipulated linking pattern is automatically a bad thing. It could be, but not always. Buying links for the sake of advertising on a demographically relevant target site is smart business, and it is arguably manipulated, but it’s not spam and doesn’t deserve a penalty. Likewise, asking the person who runs this site to give a link to this site is also a form of manipulation, but again, not spam. That’s logical and on-topic link seeking at it’s best.

I define a manipulated linking pattern as links obtained purely in pursuit of search rank with no thought given to topical relevancy. I further define manipulated linking as any attempt to take advantage of or exploit a weakness in content/server design, like form injection or automated blog commenting, or the recent Google MapSpam incident. Last, and I’m sure I’ll hear it for this, I define manipulated linking as any links acquired as a result of sending automated or bulk email link requests to sites that you have never visited.

OK, so now on to an example of how I spot manipulated linking patterns….read the full column at SearchEngineLand

Link well my friend,

Eric Ward