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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Frustrating SitePoint Tribune article: For Sale: Don't Buy Links, Buy Sites

    In the latest Tribune that arrived in my Inbox:-

    Most web developers know that links into a site are a critical element of the way in which Google ranks your web site. There's no big secret there.

    It's also no big secret that Google actively discourages the buying of links from other sites in an effort to boost link popularity, and that it discourages the selling of links.

    So maybe you shouldn't buy links. Maybe, just maybe, you should buy the entire site.

    Brisbaneishome.com is a site that's based on a capital city in Australia, and it's currently for sale on SitePoint's Marketplace. The Buy It Now price is $450. The site currently brings in $37 per month. So if you bought it, it would pay itself off after a year.

    But here's the thing -- the site has quite a number of incoming links. They're good quality links, including one from a Wikipedia. A Brisbane business would, I suspect, happily pay $50 for a link from Brisbaneishome.com. So why not pay $450 and buy the whole site? You know it makes sense!
    This seems to me like a lame attempt to increase sales on SitePoint Marketplace.

    Brisbaneishome.com is a blogging site and as any blogger knows, the cost of the website isn't the domain or the software but running it and entering the content. On top of that, external links from Wikipedia have the rel="nofollow" attribute and as such are worth nothing in terms of PageRank value.

    Tribute has lost a lot of credibility in my mind with this piece. What do others think? Am I being unfair?

    - Ian.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Brisbaneishome.com is a blogging site and as any blogger knows, the cost of the website isn't the domain or the software but running it and entering the content.
    The article doesn't mention anything about the costs of the website. It only mentions the potential income.

    On top of that, external links from Wikipedia have the rel="nofollow" attribute and as such are worth nothing in terms of PageRank value.
    The article doesn't mention anything about pagerank. Wikipedia links are great, because they attracts a lot of clicks.

    Am I being unfair?
    Yes.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast marcus's Avatar
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    I think the article is on track if you apply basic SEO rules.

    Ian,

    I think you may have taken the article too literally. Brendon Sinclair trys to qualify his feeling about the exact example with this line in the Tribune: "(I'd also point out the site has a few issues in my view, one being that many of the incoming links are from a network of blogs that the owner is associated with -- he says some of these will drop off after the sale.)".

    Lets get back to the real concept here. Buying a site as an alternative to buying links is a great idea. Aaron Wall talks about this concept in his book. You just need to know how to value the site as a potential incoming link. The age of the domain is important and in the case of Brisbaneishome.com the archives say it only goes back to February 2007, so it doesn't have a lot of value on that front. The other measures are the PageRAnk of sites and pages that link to the site in question and then there is the relevance of the content on the site and is it reasonable to assume the incomming link to your key site is natural.
    Last edited by marcus; Dec 20, 2007 at 04:20. Reason: Visible font tags from pasting from email
    Cheers, Marcus
    "Know your measures of success"
    "You can't manage what you can't measure"
    Do you know the basic building blocks of SEO?

  4. #4
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    Marcus,

    Thanks for your constructive response.

    I think the issue I have is that buying a website probably doesn't buy the staff / content producing mechanisms that make that site successful. This is something illustrated in articles such as this one: -

    http://www.wired.com/culture/lifesty.../2005/09/68934

    I think saying the site will pay for itself in a year is misleading, since you still need someone to generate the content - a labour intensive task - to keep the site fresh and maintain it's PageRank. Frequently bloggers are passionate about their subject and give their time for free since they enjoy writing about their hobby. This doesn't make it a viable business unless you can still produce content for the site cost effectively.

    I certainly don't condone buying links, but I question the business case for buying sites if they cannot continue to be run at a profit. Maybe I'm missing something here?

    - Ian

  5. #5
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    Replying to my own replies is probably a bad sign, but I've had another thought. Perhaps the cost of producing content for your newly purchased site can be offset against the increase in traffic to your site(s) that are receiving the inbound links?

    Is there any way to model this? I get frustrated that so much of SEO is finger-in-the-air and rhetoric blog posts without any proof to back it up.

    - Ian.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard
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    I think the article just made a few good points that buying links is not the only way to increase rank or traffic. It just gave another option.

  7. #7
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Mate, Sitepoint is a business, you think they send out that letter because it makes them feel all warm inside?
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy DaveWoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Mate, Sitepoint is a business, you think they send out that letter because it makes them feel all warm inside?
    You mean it doesn't?

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    The article doesn't mention anything about pagerank. Wikipedia links are great, because they attracts a lot of clicks.
    Only IF the article is viewed a lot. I'm sure the concept of "click through rates" applies to Wikipedia links, too. Not to mention that the link can be removed by anybody at any time...

    I have competitors that add their links to Wikipedia articles. Every month I search using Yahoo and find those links and remove them.

  10. #10
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    cheesedude, why is yahoo superior?

  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesedude View Post
    Only IF the article is viewed a lot. I'm sure the concept of "click through rates" applies to Wikipedia links, too.
    Obviously - but Wikipedia articles are frequented more frequently than most other articles on a given subject, so a link will usually bring more traffic than links elsewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheesedude View Post
    Not to mention that the link can be removed by anybody at any time...
    And just as easily reinstated.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheesedude View Post
    I have competitors that add their links to Wikipedia articles. Every month I search using Yahoo and find those links and remove them.
    Do you do so because they are your competitors, or because their site adds no value to Wikipedia?
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    And just as easily reinstated.


    Do you do so because they are your competitors, or because their site adds no value to Wikipedia?
    Taking external links out of Wikipedia in my experience has always gone unchallenged. Putting links in is another matter. There are plenty of people who monitor the "recently updated articles" list and will reverse any changes adding external links. I've seen my competitors try to re-add their links and most of the time--but not always--they are again removed by someone else. But some do get through, however.

    Obviously, I don't want my competitors gaining any advantage over me by using Wikipedia as a self-promotional vehicle. If their site "adds value" to Wikipedia, then mine does as well. But I'm not going around adding links to my sites to articles. Using Wikipedia for self-promotion is as much against the rules there as it is here on Sitepoint. Spam is spam.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    I agree that spam is a problem, but the same is true for those Wikipedia articles which duplicates articles from other websites. In such cases, I would see little problem in adding a website as a source. I prefer to just delete the copied sections, when articles are stolen from me, but each his own taste.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  14. #14
    Error 404: Life not found silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by csswiz View Post
    You mean it doesn't?
    Probably does when those $ come rolling in ....
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.


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