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Shady SEO Advice By Microsoft Employee Skip Chilcott

Posted on : 27-11-2008 at 0331 hrs
Author : Rif Chia

Recently, i went across an article written by Skip Chilcott, Sr. Product Manager of Microsoft where he publicly recommended webmasters to engage in link exchange schemes which are regarded as semi black hat SEO techniques by the search engines.

His theory towards this piece of shady advice? "They help to boost our rankings in search engines." and "search engines look at the number of links to your site from other sites when listing sites in search results."

The above statement is extracted directly from the article which appears to be rather shallow. Do you know that there are more than 200 factors in determining rankings? Unless Mr Skip Chilcott is trying to tell our community that MSN Live Search still works around the old model of link building or maybe this explains why MSN Live Search has not been successful over the years.

  Micosoft Recommends Link Exchange Schemes

His article appears to be contradicting Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, Yahoo! Search Content Guidelines as well as Microsoft’s Guidelines.

Google has mentioned that participating in link schemes is in violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines. "...some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google's webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site's ranking in search results..."

Yahoo! considered link schemes as unwanted techniques/content from their indexes. "...Sites cross-linked excessively with other sites to inflate a site's apparent popularity (link schemes)..."

In response to its competitors, Microsoft also mentioned that "…use of techniques like Live Search index might affect the ranking of your website or even get your website removed from the search index. Settling down for link farms techniques can artificially increase the number of links to the webpage, but it is not genuine…"

With the above statements in mind, why would Mr Skip Chilcott recommends link exchange schemes? And the worse part? He also endorsed certain firms / softwares that can help webmasters in either automatic or manual link exchange schemes.

Why Are Link Exchange Schemes Considered As Semi Black Hat Techniques?

Search technologies have been evolving throughout the years, especially with Google and many of us depend on the search engines to locate relevant information. In the past, link building is one of the most important factor that can place a site above its competitors and this factor alone resulted in many webmasters adopting link schemes to push their website to top positions.

In order to prevent spamming and irrelevant results from being delivered to the searchers, search engines have to discount low quality links or bad links from their ranking systems. Reciprocal linking or participation in automated link exchange program do not provide value to the visitors and they are mainly used for the purpose of gaming the search engines' ranking systems.

It is quite logicial in thinking, if link exchange schemes aren't discouraged, search engines will lose their credibility and usefulness in no time. At this point of time, i am still wondering why a top level employee at Microsoft will recommend such an advice. However upon realising the mistake, Skip Chilcott wrote a second post on the topic. "...I’ve asked a colleague over at Live Search to share some expert advice on linking best practices..."


Tags: SEO, Microsoft


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