Q and A: Is this a legitimate form of link building?

QuestionDear Kalena

So, I’m a freelance writer, cruising through Elance.com, looking for projects to bid on. I see a project for a site called buildmyrank.com. They say they are looking for 150-word blog posts that will be website summaries. I can do this work, but…are these sites legitimate SEO tools or just ways to get around link building that is considered acceptable?

Thanks for your thoughts!


Hi Denise

I think your spidey-senses are accurate! This site looks and smells fishy. They’re also hiding their domain registration details, which, while not necessarily suspicious, is a common practice amongst sites employing less than legitimate SEO methods.

There is a very easy way to determine if they are *white hat*, have a look at their Google Toolbar PageRank. Oh look! A zero PageRank score. If Google doesn’t think they’re trustworthy, that’s a big red flag right there.

I would avoid them like the plague.

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Google’s New URL Shortener: Goo.gl

Everyone needs to shorten a URL sometimes.

Whether it’s to prevent long URLs wrapping in emails, to hide affiliate links or to make links look neater in newsletters or on web pages, a URL shortening service comes in handy. These are simply tools that take long URLs and reduce them into fewer characters to make a link that is easier to share.

First into the market was TinyURL, a service that we didn’t even know we needed until it suddenly became vital. With tweets set at 140 characters, use of TinyURL went into overdrive as Twitter became more and more popular.

But after a while, TinyURLs weren’t tiny anymore and we started looking elsewhere. A couple of small players hit the market and then an outfit called Bit.ly started offering link shortening with built in click through stats and that was enough for most of us to ditched the competition.

Bit.ly became king of the URL shorteners in May 2009 when Twitter announced they were formally abandoning TinyURL to make Bit.ly their preferred shortening service. This wasn’t much of a surprise, given both Twitter and Bit.ly shared common startup investment partners. But the move meant that links from alternative URL trimmers started throwing errors if used in tweets.

Now Google has jumped into the URL shortening pool, with the launch last month of Goo.gl . At this stage, Goo.gl is only available for use within Google Toolbar and Feedburner, but it’s expected to rollout for general use eventually, complete with full link tracking.

As TechCrunch points out in their post about the service, it’s the link data that will win the war between the URL shorteners. But I have a feeling that if and when Goo.gl rolls out as a stand alone service, Twitter will need to rethink their relationship with Bit.ly.

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Q and A : How come we see PR for password protected Gmail inner pages?

QuestionDear Kalena…

We all know that PR comprises of backlinks to a particular page or PR passes on from High Page. We also know that Google or any other Search Engine suggests to block a page by using the username and password.

If that is the case then how come we see PR for Gmail inner pages or PR for Orkut pages when logged in?

In reality the PR should never pass to the email account pages when you have logged in.



Dear Arnab

The PageRank shown in the Google Toolbar is not an accurate measure of a page’s true PR. The Toolbar PR is usually updated 4 – 6 times a year (sometimes more, sometimes less depending on algorithm changes and other search updates).

As a result of this, there are a lot of pages that will show no rank for months, which really do have a ranking hidden to the general user. Or the complete opposite where pages within a well trusted domain like Google (even non-indexed, password protected pages) will show PR that doesn’t exist.

In these cases it’s nothing more than a glitch in the Toolbar as it’s attempting to guesstimate what the PR would be based on the value normally passed down from the root domain.

You can still use the Toolbar PR as a rough guide, but for the reasons above, it’s best not to focus primarily on the Toolbar PR and use other metrics to measure the true value of a page.

Hope this helps.

Peter Newsome

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It’s Green Bar Fever Time!

Yep, we’re about to hit Green Bar Fever this week!

Google is about to update their Toolbar PageRank values and you know what that means. Obsessive webmasters and SEOs panicking about the little green bar. Get ready for the fallout. :-)

Seen any changes to your own site’s PageRank yet? Good, bad or ugly? Why not comment and let me know.

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