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Branding links - bad or good idea for the authors and buyers?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Pavle123, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    Not sure why branding links are allowed here. One day Google will hit all those sites for sure. I think this has to be changed.

    I understand that this is the way for authors to earn extra money, but better provide additional resource or anything for the 10-20$ you charge.

    Imho, if you have thounsand do follow, sitewide links pointing to your site from various unrelated websites, guess what? Google penalty is coming. One way or another, sooner or later.
  2. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    *Scratches head* Huh?
    I am just confused as to what you're trying to say here. I mean, branding? Which branding? Which thousand links?

    Care to elaborate? I'm just confused right now.

    I wasn't trying to be insulting, but hey... take it that way.
  3. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

  4. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Resource authors are perfectly within their rights to add a copyright/branding link to their work.

    If you don't like it you have several options:
    • pay for removal
    • don't use the add-on
    • commission a custom add-on
    • learn to write your own
    Carlos likes this.
  5. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Actually, those links are relevant enough. Half of the time, potential webmasters find skins this way.
  6. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    I understand that and it makes sense. But I am just thinking if a site has thousands of links coming to it (most of them sitewide) it might look like a link scheme in Googles eyes.
    I was not criticizing or anything, just asking.
  7. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    Okay, relevant? How can a link like that benefit your user? Would user find info about your niche? In my opinion its not relevant.

    Edit :

    Webmasters are not my users. My users are people who visit and discuss about my niche site and want more info. Not some random dude trying to have same forums as mine.
  8. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Based on your posts so far, you seem to be more than a little obsessed with 'seo'.

    My advice would be to concentrate on actually building a site with good content, then you will find it's not something you need to worry about.
  9. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Yes, seriously.

    This is a "practice" that's been done since vBulletin took over the marketplace. It's a practice that's been used by Blog designers, and google hasn't banned them from their own search engine. Themeforest ends up at #1 for the same exact tactic.
    Let me tell you a story: A user came onto my site, to talk about Call of Duty. He fell in love with the site, so much, that he wanted to buy xenForo. That's what the branding does. Phase #2, he loved the skin, and wanted to learn which skin is it. I told him. I had a few of these users, so yeah, relevant enough.

    Anyhow, I'm tired. I'll leave this to Brogan and the team.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  10. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    I am Brogan. Little things like this destroyed my website a year ago. I know its ridiculous to some. I had great, in depth content, but these "technical" things made sank my rankings.

    I am using XenForo for couple of days, and want to make things perfect right away. Just wanted to hear what others thing about it. It is those authors websites that can get penalized more then mine, so just wanted to ask if anyone had such an experience ,etc.

    Putting those links to rel="nofollow" will make it better imho.

    Edit :
    @Carlos those sorts of "tactics" are called link schemes. Big sites such as TF will never get hit, its always the little guys who end up crippled by the big G.
  11. Carlos

    Carlos Well-Known Member

    Okay, there's a difference in "schemes" and aggressively using those schemes. Google banned RapGenius recently for a similar situation, and RapGenius was meticulous, deliberate about it. ThemeForest in my example is doing it aggressively, by telling blogs to talk about their skins, and provide a link to download (ahem, buy the skin). Google thinks that is a bunch of blogs/sites talking "great things" about it, but is actually... spam backlinks. Useless backlinks. Useless "noise" for google.

    The first thought came to mind, when I saw a search result for one of the skins: "Well, THAT is *ing evil."
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  12. Jeffin

    Jeffin Well-Known Member

    I think you are overly focusing on the branding links instead of focusing on building the community. Generally it takes years to build a good community. With the right SEO methods you should come up on search results. Branding link does least damage. If the branding link is from a popular software, it will probably get ignored because it is natural and high-quality. For example WordPress has been doing this for years. Many big websites still support their branding links.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    Carlos likes this.
  13. Martok

    Martok Well-Known Member

    @Pavle123, as an 80 year old (going by your profile) you've survived the second world war and many other world issues over the decades. I'm sure you'll survive the 'SEO crisis' that branding links don't cause if you focus on the important aspects of community and content. ;)
    SneakyDave likes this.
  14. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    @Jeffin I was not talking about the XenForo link. I am sure this link would pretty much be ignored as you said. I was referring to the resources branding links.
    @Martok Haha, good one! I might as well join your "senior" gamers community. I am sure you´ll have some grandma´s for me there.

    Honestly I have my own blog where I share in depth content.

    I just think it will be hard to have topics which can beat articles. Even this topic is an example.

    We were supposed to talk about branding, and then we got to my profile age and stuff. That is why I would like to be able to understand XF and SEO technical stuff as well. I am sorry if most of you guys do not care about it, but I do. Perhaps its ocd. Perhaps I just care to get the most out of the XF.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
    Jeffin likes this.
  15. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    What is/was the site URL? Also, can you explain what happened?

    In my experience, a few outbound branding links for styles or add-ons wouldn't harm a site at all. They are very common amongst the various forum platforms and have been around for years. Google will also be able to easily identify that the linked sites are genuine resources and wouldn't punish you for linking to them.

    The only scenario I can think of that might harm your rankings would be linking to sites that contained or distributed pirated content; and those who use pirated styles or add-ons get what they deserve! ;)
  16. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    @Clickfinity Hey there. My particular website was not a forum and it has not been hit because of a branding links. I just had bad experience in past with SEO technical stuff. Particular problem I had was with Google Panda 4.1 update when my site (despite very high quality content) was thrown away on 300th page of google for the terms I ranked on 1st page. I am not sure if it will make sense to talk about this right now, as it can go a bit off-topic. But in short I had problems with affiliate links, rel="nofollow" was not placed on those. I also had category pages indexed which looked like duplicate content in Google´s eyes and few other "technical stuff".
    While content and UI are #1 things to take care of, little technical things still make a difference and are important to be taken care of imho. That is why I want to learn more about XF and SEO and get the most out of it.

    My site luckily recovered from Panda after 1 month or so.

    Additionally in one of the hangouts with John Muller (the guy in charge of the webspam team at Google after Matt Cutts left) he said that if the forums should find a way to show great content to Google and noindex what does not matter. Please keep in mind that I am just paraphrasing what he said. I will try to find a link to that video, and if I do I will post it here.
  17. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    In my experience forums can be somewhat difficult to manage from an SEO point of view - whilst you can chose the name, domain, and set your own homepage meta description - the rest is really up to the membership; they decide what thread titles to use and what content goes in their posts, so your best "SEO" tactic is to control spam, remove junk posts (and trolls) and encourage your members to write descriptive and full thread titles (or edit and re-write them yourself). (y)

    Oh, and if you haven't done so yet, be sure to enable XF's sitemap feature and submit it to Google via your Webmaster Tools account; every little helps. ;)

    Shaun :D
    Pavle123 likes this.
  18. Pavle123

    Pavle123 Active Member

    Thanks Shaun, great tips. You are right. Since I am just starting out with forums (I had previously small bbPress forum) I will do my best to take care of technical stuff so that I can make things as SEO friendly as possible. The rest is up to my members. I do tend to write lengthy and quality posts myself, which helps. They started to do it as well. I am going a bit offtopic but I have also installed noindex resource to noindex generic threads with last than 300 words.

    I have enabled XF sitemap and added it to the GWT as soon as I launched my forum. I would also like to mention that I noticed that Bing and Google indexed my forum fairly quickly, within 48 hours or so. It takes me usually a bit more with other CMS such as WP.

    @Clickfinity do you have any special tip for fighting spam, besides re-captcha on the registration form? I haven't noticed any spam in my XF forum so far. But its still a tiny forum with 30-40 members or so.
  19. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    I use the built-in StopForumSpam and Project Honey Pot settings, along with @tenants StopHumanSpam add-on. (y)
    Pavle123 likes this.
  20. Steve F

    Steve F Well-Known Member

    We have recently added nofollow to our branding link for the styles we offer, this hasn't rolled out yet but will in the next update. But in the meantime we have not noticed any ill effect from it, that we can tell anyhow.

    Currently sitting at PR 4 for a 2 year old domain. (y)
    Pavle123 likes this.

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