The Complete Idiot's Guide

Growing Your Business With Google
By Dave Taylor

Understanding "link:" results (book errata)

A reader from Japan kindly points out that I have a subtle gaffe on page 45 of the book, where I talk about the link: attribute to a Google search and encourage readers to experiment by searching for link:askdavetaylor.com.

Of course, if you try that (link:askdavetaylor.com search on Google) you won't get the results I promise, but instead will find out that there are no matches at all!

Fortunately, that doesn't mean that I'm no longer in the Google database nor that there are zero sites that point to my site...

To see that there's no problem, do the search again, but this time use the pattern link:www.askdavetaylor.com. (link:www.askdavetaylor.com search on Google).

Surprised? Over 1100 matches.

The difference is because in this instance, Google interprets the search pattern quite literally, and when you ask for sites that link to Ask Dave Taylor by using a URL that contains askdavetaylor.com it finds zero matches.

You might be thinking "Ah, but surely www.askdavetaylor.com is a legit match, isn't it?" but in this instance it isn't. With some other special keyword searches, like site:askdavetaylor.com you'll find that the alternative of site:www.askdavetaylor.com gives you identical results.

There are some important implications to this link: sensitivity, actually, the most important of which is that you don't want some people pointing to your pages using XX.com while others use www.XX.com. If you do have these mixed, then Google can't properly calculate the inbound links for a specific page and will not calculate a fair and accurate PageRank for that page.

Here's what I mean.

Let's say that you really liked my article on ADT about how to find out your Google PageRank on a Macintosh (the article's titled Google PageRank on a Mac?) and you point to it by using the correct URL:

http://www.askdavetaylor.com/google_pagerank_on_a_mac.html

Meanwhile, your pal three cubicles over also likes it, but she points to it as:

http://askdavetaylor.com/google_pagerank_on_a_mac.html

This means that each URL will get credit within the Google algorithm for one inbound link. Not two for the page. Multiply this by a few dozen sites and you can see where this can actually be a problem.

My advice: if you have matches both with and without www., then email some of the webmasters for sites that have the wrong link and ask them to fix it for you.

Oh, and my apologies for the mistake in the book!



Category: Updates for Readers   (Article #4371)
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The Table of Contents

Inside The Book
Foreword, by Guy Kawasaki
Introduction to the Book
Increasing Your Business Visibility (chapter 1)
The Benefits of Increasing Your Visibility (Chapter 2)
What Is Google Anyway? (Chapter 3)
Learning about Google Search (Chapter 4)
Disassembling the Google Search Engine (Chapter 5)
What's Your Core Business? (Chapter 6)
Living in an Online World (Chapter 7)
Your Business Website (Chapter 8)
Assessing Your Competitors (Chapter 9)
Keeping Track of Customers (Chapter 10)
The Basics of Building A Good Business Site (Chapter 11)
Developing Online and Offline Content (Chapter 12)
Stretching Your Marketing Dollars (Chapter 13)
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Content, Content, Content! (Chapter 15)
Becoming a More Popular Site (Chapter 16)
Becoming an Online Expert (Chapter 17)
Advertising Your Business with Google AdWords (Chapter 18)
Making Money with Google AdSense (Chapter 19)
The Advantages of Affiliate Programs (Chapter 20)
Avoiding Dumb Online Promotional Mistakes (Chapter 21)
Growing and Expanding Your Content (Chapter 22)
The Future of Findability (Chapter 23)

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Google doesn't support click fraud. But isn't that obvious?
Welcome to Google's online payment system, Google Checkout
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AdSense: Google's Hidden Payroll
Fun new Google service: Movie info
Google agrees to pay $90 mln in click fraud suit
Latest news from Google: Google Friends Newsletter
Nofollow: Another salvo in the Spam Wars
Google Toolbar Gets Personal
Yahoo Search redesign scheduled?
Note from the Google AdSense Team
What's the future of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising?
New Google AdWords Keyword System Released

Updates for Readers
Blogging for Search Engine Results
Why does advertising site Chitika audit commission payments?
Google Adsense Update: Section Targeting
Understanding "link:" results (book errata)

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