Determine the Value of a Web Page’s Links   23 comments

It might be helpful to explore using aging factors to help determine the value of a web page’s links. Because age plays a role in the amount of trust Google gives a website, we know that the age of a website relates to the value a link from that site gives. You should always use the  whois lookup to check the age of each website you are considering approaching about a link.

Although it might seem that the most valuable sites are the oldest ones according to the whois database, keep in mind that it is not the age of the domain that confers TrustRank, but the age of the website that sits on top of the domain. So if you see that a domain was registered in 1994, don’t drop everything to gain a link on that site because it is possible that the domain was parked for 10 years before a website was built. Even if a website was built right from the start, if the website was later taken down and the domain was parked for any substantial period of time, Google will have perceived that the domain was transferred to a new owner and reset whatever TrustRank it earned in the past. So before giving a site credit for being well aged, you should ask, “Has a website been continuously running on this domain since it was registered?” And note that if a website has in fact been running, uninterrupted, for many years, it retains its TrustRank no matter how many redesigns of the site occurred; Google expects that. Google resets the TrustRank of a website only if the domain has been parked.

Let’s suppose a site has been online continuously for a few years. Does this make it instantly link-worthy?  A site with links is eons more trusted than a site without links, no matter how old it is. So for a site to be truly valuable as a linker to your site, it must also have a bunch of links that have been pointing to it for a long time.

If you really want to be thorough, you can attempt to determine the age of a website’s links before requesting a link to your site. There are various clues you can search for that will each increase the chances that the link is from a certain date.

(A) First, you need to identify pages containing links you want to investigate.
Second, look for clues on those pages as to the age of the relevant
links.

(B) The following are the two best ways to find links to the page you are
investigating:

Googling its URL—Googling the URL of the web page enables you to see what other pages reference it. Assume you are interested in the age of the links to http://www.pets.com/puppies/. Googling this URL brings up the page http://42explore.com/pets.htm. This page features pets.com and contains a link to http://www.pets.com/pupies/. At the bottom it states, “Updated, 06/01.” So we can assume this link is 10 years old. Are we certain this link was not added later? Of course not. But based on the statement at the bottom of the page and the lack of any evidence to the contrary, it would be a reasonable guess. If other pages that reference http://www.pets.com/puppies/   display similar  circumstances, we could guess that at least some of those links really are quite old.

Using Yahoo’s linkdomain operator—You can use the linkdomain operator to locate other pages that link to the page in which you are interested. Assume we are interested in investigating the home page of http://www.studios.com. Typing linkdomain:www.studios.com into Yahoo’s search bar shows many pages that link to http://www.studios.com. One of those pages is http://www.pets.com/Jobs/CommercialTrainersWanted.htm. This page contains paragraphs that each begin with a date. The paragraph discussing http://www.studios.com is clearly labeled July 10, 2004. Therefore, it can reasonably be assumed that this link is at least seven years old. As with Googling a URL, there is no guarantee that this date was not inserted later, but taken along with other similar pages, it is good evidence that this site has well-aged links.

(C)Look for clues on a linking page as to the age of its links. There is no single silver bullet here. The better a detective you are, the more evidence you will discover about the age of the links on a page.

–Is the link contained within the text of an article that has a date somewhere on the page.

–Is the link contained on a blog page that is categorized by date, either on the page or in the URL of the page itself.

–Is the link contained on a page that allows comments with dates on them.

–Does the page have a PageRank of 3 or higher?

–Is there a date in the URL of the page itself.

–Are there any dates on the page at all that could lead to useful assumptions

–Is there any reference on the page to any current events that can be traced back to a certain point in time?

If none of those methods work for you, it is also possible, although tedious, to use archive.org to determine when a site added the link in question. There you can look through archives of a webpage to pinpoint exactly when the new link appeared.

If you’re just looking for the quickest way to determine whether a site has a good number of old links but you don’t want to spend a lot of time on it, use Google’s “link” command. Just go to Google.com and type link:example.com into the search box. If you see web pages from at least, say, 10 different domains listed, the site has a substantial link history. If you are buying a multi-thousand-dollar site, you’ll want to see approximately 40 or more distinct domains linking to the site.

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23 responses to “Determine the Value of a Web Page’s Links

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