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Since 1977
             

   Kim also works as a Usability Analyst and is well published.

A Usability Analyst's job is to make sure that your killer site is actually usable by your target visitor. Many businesses spend a lot of money to develop a nice-looking site that ranks high in the search engines, only to have their visitors give up in frustration because they can't find or purchase what they are looking for.

Kim Krause's Thoughts
on the Seeming Success of FFA Sites

Viking Waters asked Kim:

I realize that with Google "content is king". However, in an attempt to measure perception against reality, I've found some sites that are on page one of a Google search (in a VERY competitive area) that are loaded with links on their "link page". Not only that, but they have a link on their index page to a set of link pages provided by "Links To You," a notorious FFA link farm that puts your site on one of their pages in return for you hosting over a dozen pages of categorized links on your site.

Kim Replied:

Many sites are optimized as well as using link farm techniques, but the risk is entirely theirs to take. Google is routinely penalizing sites for the practice, but worse, there are now what we call "search engine police" who go around reporting sites for having links farms. This was encouraged by Google. (There's a whole ethical debate on this too!) Alta Vista used to ban entire IPs for using doorways, which caused quite a storm. Therefore, you won't find top of line professional SEO's using link farms. But, since the practice does work in certain cases, it's still done.

For example, Zeus. It's a software application whose developer, David, actually contacted Google for help in avoiding having his customer sites banned for using it. He's tried to educate his customers to really research a site first and only link to quality sites, and not load up pages with quantity links vs quality. Zeus is abused unfortunately, which bothers David, but he continues to promote it as a way to help webmasters find links to work out link requests with.

I've never used them, nor have my clients. They refuse to have links pages on their sites because it doesn't look professional. They rank well regardless using branding, or advertising methods for example.

Link farms ignore the fact that what Google cares about are how many links are on a page. A page with 50 outbound links is not as worthy as a page with 5. Google gives more weight to the links on the page with 5 links. They did this to blow the link farms away. Google figures a page of content with a few links to resources means those resources must be pretty "worthy". Google also places weight on what the link description says, which link farms don't pay much attention to.

I wrote the article prompted by the experiences of some Cre8asiteForum subscriber experiences with scams. Some are crazy. Like a bait and switch technique where they say they link to their main domain, but actually put it in a sub-domain that isn't even linked to anything.

The choice is always yours. I link to offsite pages a lot in Cre8pc because it's an informational site and I enjoy highlighting good sites, articles, etc. I know full well these links "leak" my own PageRank, but I don't care. For me, the reward is in customer satisfaction, not pleasing Google. But, if my keywords were "books" or"weight loss", I'd likely be using every darned thing I could find to outwit engines because the competition is ridiculous :)

Hope this helps and thanks for asking. Cheers!

See more on search engines at Kim's Search Engine Guide.

 

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