I'm new at this so I hope this hasn't been covered to death.
I understand that excessive linking for promotional purposes is frowned upon.
Which is great since providing references can lend your writing more credibility. But what about supporting references that are from sites of a lesser stature than wikipedia? Is it possible to explicitly create nofollow links so that it is clear that the intent is not promotional (link farming) but rather informational? Or is it simply linking outside of hubpages that is undesirable?
I also read that besides the 2 links per domain per hub limit we should avoid linking to the same URL from multiple hubs. Am I right to assume that this means it's OK to link to the same domain multiple times from different hubs as long as the links are going to different (relevant) pages?
Finally, are links to other hubs treated differently or should they follow the same guidelines as for any other links? The scenario I'm thinking about here is someone writing multiple hubs on a given topic and wanting to create an intro hub having plenty of links to the sub topic hubs.
It looks like Hub Groups might be aimed at the situation I described above. Still, I'm not sure how flexible these Hub Groups are, but it seems reasonable to assume the content could be better organized in a regular Hub. But would it be OK?
Thanks for any info you might have on this.
I'm pretty sure that it will have a negative hubscore. It has been discussed before in the forum. It isn't about the URL but the domain. And URL redirectors count as wildcards.
I do believe the same effect comes from linking to wikipedia too many times.
Thanks for sharing your understanding of the matter darkside.
Hmm, what you're saying does not quite match what I understood from the faq and my other readings. I'm even more puzzled now!
So far the do's and don'ts of linking seem to be the biggest hurdle from a beginner's point of view. I imagine myself trying to introduce my mother to the process of creating a hub (Hi mom! sorry to drag you into this ). She's not a computer person exactly, but she manages we'll enough with her browser.
Hub creation is so streamlined and well designed that I'm convinced she would get the hang of it pretty quickly. In no time she'd be whipping up text and videos and, yes, probably links too. Links are an integral part of how we see and use the web, they're the reason we call it a web in the first place after all.
So now I'd have to tell her, "Well mom, be careful when you link to other pages, some are OK (like wikipedia... but perhaps not either), some are not... two links for a single domain might be OK, but you have to remember the links you used in your other hubs".
By then she'd probably be a little, concerned, "Do I have to remember all that?".
"Absolutely," I'd say, "oh and remember that using a redirector counts as a wild card". At which point she'd probably end the discussion and go back to some good old fashioned browsing or even play some solitaire.
Perhaps if the link creation tool could provide immediate feedback saying "You should reconsider creating this link because you have already linked to that domain n times here, here and here" There might already be something like that in place, I haven't tried to make a misbehaved hub just to find out.
Anyway, I imagine that it's a pretty big challenge to provide enough liberty to satisfy users while not being overrun by hordes of spammers. Things will probably evolve over time, and it's going to be interesting to watch exactly how.
Mostly this stuff is only complicated if you are an affiliate marketer using affiliate links or if you have a lot of websites you are trying to get traffic and backlinks for. But I think your mother would be fine with one simple rule of thumb -- no more than two links to any one domain for each hub.
I think that is actually a good rule to follow in general. If you are linking multiple times to Wikipedia, I don't think that provides a lot of value to the searcher. On many topics, Wikipedia is already at the top of the search results anyway, so if someone really wanted to read Wikipedia articles then they could do that easily. Instead, it might be more useful to provide links to resources that aren't quite as obvious.
I would say the "innocent" writer here as nothing to worry about! Those of us who are trying to do a bit of article promtion need to know the rules and abide by them. BTW most of academic conside Wikipedia to be anything but authorative!
Lissie is right. The two colleges I've attended have both stated that Wikipedia is not an academic resource and is not to be used in academic papers or assignments.
I'm not saying that the system is horribly broken or anything like that. But I still believe that this is one of the most confusing elements of building a hub. If the whole process was a muddy mess, it wouldn't stand out as much, but since everything else is so limpid the linking issue can't help but be noticed. I think the whole issue is very interesting because it plays a pivotal role in the long term success or failure of a place like this one. It seems like the folks here at hubpages are doing a commendable effort a keeping things in balance, but it'll probably be a juggling act for a long time.
On your second point re. linking with Wikipidia, I completely agree, nobody wants (or should want) to refer to Wikipedia exclusively. I just pulled that site from the FAQ to use as an example. As a matter of fact, my very first question in this thread was about the proper way to refer to less well know sources than Wikipedia (and the likes) without this being perceived as promotional. I think user settable nofollow might be good enough for this, but there might be issues I'm not thinking of.
@Lissie & gamergirl
Wikipedia vs Academia, that's a huge can of worm (hey that might make an interesting hub). I think there's a valid case to be made against the use of Wikipedia as a major reference for a paper of any substance. But that goes for any encyclopedia (e.g. Britannica). To write a substantial paper you need to dig deeper, often at least as deep as the authors of the encyclopedia articles did.
But Wikipedia's standing as an encyclopedia is on pretty firm ground, I think. Nature did a very interesting study comparing Wikipidia to Britannica in late 2005, and while it didn't come on top, Wikipedia did well enough. It's always better to double-check facts and Wikipedia makes a convenient source to compare against any other.
Oops, end of digression, this was supposed to be about links :-)
jpsteeve, I get what you are saying, but I still do think that for the most part your average hubpages user is not really going to have to worry about the link rules all that much. They exist to prevent marketing abuses.
On the Wikipedia/Encylopedia issue, I think once you are out of high school, using an encyclopedia of any kind as source material for an academic paper is pretty much inexcusable.
I agree with you about not using Wikipedia/Encylopedias for research purposes. Even some elementary teachers will not allow their students to use these resources and expect them to go to the library for research. I think encyclopedias are good jumping off point for deciding what you want to write about though.
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