Links come and go, but a real good link is one that fits 304 criteria and gets the almighty nod of approval from Google.
“Basically, Google realised that it had been naive in considering links to always be citations. Some links are citations. Some links are advertising. Some links are accusations. Some links are outdated signposts to things that have long since changed or even vanished.” — Ammon Johns in Google Mischief
“It doesnâ€™t say that a link is a vote. Thatâ€™s an assumption made in the early days of Backrub. There is a benefit to using links and hypertext analysis to index the unstructured documents on the web. But, by doing so, by indexing and measuring based upon links, the meaning of a link has been transformed from a reference to a vote.
I see that transformation, from reference to popularity contest as unnatural. Of course, there is no right to be listed and indexed in Google, but the search engineâ€™s popularity means that if you want to be found on the web, being in Google is important. And that means paying attention to their definition of links.” — Bill Slawski, Bill Slawski Interview
What has always amazed me about links is how easily they are manipulated and STILL people think that any link is trustworthy. There are still webmasters who reciprocate links with links pages, believing this will impress search engines. They’ve accepted that humans don’t look at these pages, but they still put in hours and hours trying to exchange links in the hopes of increasing page rank, with no research into what other factors search engines are looking for.
“One problem with linkage is the growing use of course management systems by university and K-12 faculty. These faculty members used to have web pages and have now moved their content behind the passwords of WebCT, BlackBoard, eCollege, and other course management systems. This is an enormous content migration.
Now, some of the most important sources of authoritative citations are out of reach of the spiders. I am seeing substantial traffic increases from these sources and at the same time some of my best links are disappearing – well – I still get the traffic but the spiders don’t know that.” — EGOL in Google Mischief. Emphasis mine.
It’s nice to hear Google is learning and getting smarter. They’re even trying to help protect us from spam.
“Can links in emails help reduce email spam? Possibly.
If an email has a link within it, the page that it is linked to can be looked at using a concept categorization of that linked content.” — Bill Slawski, Spam Email Filtering Based Upon Links
A link matters, but these days, so does the integrity of the content and intent surrounding it.