Recently a site went live with a Top 100 List of Hospitality Blogs. I did take a gander at the list and while a great list of B&B blogs, some of the sites included were not industry specific, and because of that something twinged me as being a bit “off”. I was a bit surprised for example that blogs like Daniel Craig’s and Acorn Internet’s got left off the list when I looked at it a couple of days ago.
Unfortunately and sadly to burst some people’s bubbles this list is pure link bait. A discussion on the PAII forums brought to my attention by the lovely and talented Susan Poole of The B&B Coach this morning (pointed out by Sarah from Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast in the forum) that it is link bait, and several emails forwarded to me last night and this morning by friends who own B&Bs on that list, said that they were asking for links back confirmed it.
Because I am infernally curious when it comes to this kind of thing, I had to dig a little further into this, it appears the site went live a little over two weeks ago but the domain name itself has been registered since 2009 and a cached internet archive version of the page shows that it had redirected to an even bigger link farm until the site moved over.
The domain name itself has back links to hundreds of other link bait/link farm sites.
These types of things go around several times a year and B&B owners get email notifications or mentions of it on a blog or FB page that they were listed on a best of list. I get several a week and they all go into the trash folder.
If you get an email or notification about this sort of thing, do a little investigation first before linking back (especially if they ask for a return link).
Do a whois search of the domain name at http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/
Do an internet archive search at http://archive.org/web/web.php
And do a search in quotes for the domain name. If it links back to other link farms, run!
Another tip is see what relevance ALL of the other blogs have to the topic, in this case, non relevant blogs were attached to the list as well, the other blogs were high traffic blogs though which is how they got on the list.
Unfortunately while it’s always lovely for the ego to be listed on a top or best of list, linking back to sites like this and promoting them is not doing your website or blog any favors. Google does not like link farms and you may find your site penalized if you do add a link back.
Interestingly enough, Google just came out with a disavow links tool, more information about that here http://searchengineland.com/google-launches-disavow-links-tool-136826 So if you find your site getting nobbed by Google by being on the list you can at least send a request in to Google (and Bing: the link is in the article) to disavow the link.
Congrats to any B&B that made the list though for being an active traffic worthy enough blog to get solicited for this, that in itself is a compliment.
I’ve exchanged several pleasant emails with Sarah (not Jenna Winkler, the apparent site founder?). Sarah says the site is not a link farm and they are trying to do a service and be useful to people which I can appreciate. I did voice my concerns as well as the fact that quite a few SEO people that are much more well versed in it then I, had brought up about negative site linking and she said she would talk to her tech team about it. We will see whether this gets done and B. more importantly that a list that is supposed to be online long term is fixed and updated so that it does not contain irrelevant information with links to blogs that have nothing to do with hospitality.