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Search Engine Information > SEO Specialists Column > Will Google Penalize Your Pages If You Use The Keyword "LINKS" In The URL?

- Questions & Answers with Sharon and Roy Montero -
Learn SEO Promotion and Optimization The Write Way
The Monthly Search Engine Optimization Q&A Column

Things Your Mom May Not Have Taught You About SEO

Once a month Contributing Authors Sharon and Roy Montero answer a Search Engine Optimization question submitted by one of our newsletter subscribers. This month's column answers the question,

Will Google Penalize Your Pages If You Use The Keyword "LINKS" In The URL?

November 2004


I recently received an eMail from a Webmaster of a site that I had hoped to exchange links with. He rejected my link request and advised that he was doing so because he had heard that the Google spiders won't index pages which have titles like links.html or links.htm. I posted this question on a popular internet marketing forum which I frequent and opinions were split right down the middle -- about half the folks thought he was absolutely right and the other half thought he was absolutely wrong. Since reciprocal linking seems to be such an important aspect of how your ranking is determined, I was wondering if you could provide a definite answer. Thanks!

Andrea Hayhurst


Hi Andrea,

You are experiencing a very common situation among site owners and Webmasters like yourself, who are looking for answers to their SEO questions.

The quest for finding a believable answer for your SEO questions can be extremely frustrating and it could leave you with more questions once you've made your rounds to some of the Web's most popular SEO forums searching for an answer.

The problem with many SEO forums is that the posters are either reluctant to post proof along with their answers or they may not be allowed to provide any proof by the owners of these forums.

They are also not allowed to post any URLs and as far as personal and specific answers, they too are not allowed.

These forum owners are more interested in their members and moderators posting only opinions rather than providing specific proof and we know this first hand because we have been banned from a few of them for providing specific proof instead of providing general answers without specific proof.

Obviously no one was able to provide you with a definitive answer, one way or the other on the forum that you spoke of, so hopefully we 'll provide you with enough information so that you will be able to make a decision, one way or the other.

It has been our privilege over the last 8 years of publicly posting answers to various SEO questions throughout many of the various SEO forums across the Web to include as much evidence for our answers to help site owners and Webmasters to make informed choices when it comes to optimizing their pages.

This particular question is one that we would deem as an FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) so we have had many opportunities to answer this question (or related questions) for our students and clients alike.

In fact, for additional insight we recommend that you also read the following recent forum posts of ours.


::: Why Isn't It Wise To Include The Word "Links" In My Web Pages? :::

::: File Extensions And High PageRank -- Does It Matter? :::

Now, let's take a look at your site's present link architecture.

Click here to see if your links.html page is indexed.

And we see that currently (10/25/04) it is indexed and the following listing is displayed.

Link Partners

Link Exchange Rules: If you would like to exchange links, please email me with the following information: First, please place the ... - 7k - Cached - Similar pages

Now, let's check to see if the page is returned for a query string on the page and we see that it is.

So, How Many Pages With "LINKS" In The URL Are Actually Indexed Anyway?

Currently Google displays 281,000,000 Pages with the keyword "links" in the URL and Yahoo displays 17,600,000 Pages. Please note that those are just the pages with the keyword "links" and does not include the keyword "link" (189,000,000 Pages) or any addition to the word such as "links2" (633,000 ) or "links3" (61,000).

What about the keywords "links" & "directory?" Well, 105,000 Pages are currently indexed in Google and 21,200 Pages in Yahoo.

Well, as you can clearly see from the information we've provided that those folks who ...

"... heard that the Google spiders won't index pages which have titles like links.html or links.htm ..."

... Are seriously mistaken.

What Can We Learn From Danny Sullivan's Site?

First, if you are not familiar with Danny Sullivan then we'd like to mention that he is the foremost authority on search engines. We'd go so far as to say that if Danny doesn't know the answer, then the answer is not knowable aside from the search engines engineers of course.

Next, we'd like to show you that Danny has several pages on his site with the keyword "links" in the URL and his pages are indexed just fine and quite well ranked, thus providing us further proof that such pages are indexed and they have no problem ranking high when they've been optimized.

Just look at the following statistics.

The Top 20 Pages On
With The Keyword "Links" In The URL

Results 1 - 67 of about 101 from for inurl:links

The Number on the Right is the PageRank of the Page

1 7
2 7
3 6
4 6
5 6
6 6
7 6
8 5
9 5
10 6
11 6
12 5
13 5
14 5
15 3
16 5
17 5
18 0
19 5
20 4

Then just to prove to you that these pages aren't being penalized for being named with the keyword "links" in their URL, just look at their rankings for some very general and very competitive keywords.

How about this for some proof ... #20 for the keyword ...


... Out of 281 million pages?

Does that sound link Google is penalizing pages with the keyword "links" in the URL?

Obviously not!

We've recorded some current rankings for Danny's "links" pages so we'll have them to refer back to at a future date to see how much things have changed or how much times have remained the same.

The Top Ranking Pages On
For General Keyword Phrases

#20 for ... links ... out of 281,000,000 pages.

#1 for ... search engine links ... out of 9,700,000 pages.

#107 for ... shopping links ... out of 12,200,000 pages.

#256 for ... news links ... out of 16,400,000 pages.

#161 for ... kids links ... out of 9,880,000 pages.

#6 for ... kids search engines ... out of 1,890,000 pages.

#2 for ... multimedia search engines ... out of 1,250,000 pages.

#1 for ... specialty search engines ... out of 540,000 pages.

#21 for ... pay per click ... out of 5,460,000 pages.

In conclusion we'd like to mention that since you have just witnessed about a 50% split in the beliefs of your fellow site owners and Webmasters, it would be advantageous for you to name your pages something other than links.

Even if it's true that pages with the keyword "links" in them are perfectly acceptable to the search engines, there will be many a site owner/Webmsater that will not accept them and therefore will not want to trade links with you or even just link to you without an exchange because of their misguided fears.

As an alternative we'd like to suggest the keyword ...


... Simply because it is short and self-explanatory and because Yahoo uses it and they currently have 6,600,000 Pages indexed in Google so it is quite doubtful that they will change those pages any time soon and it's quite doubtful that Google will not index pages that use the keyword "dir" in their URL.

We also recommend that you follow Google's guidelines and create a clear hierarchy.

Design and Content Guidelines:

• Make a site with a clear hierarchy and text links. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.

• Offer a site map to your users with links that point to the important parts of your site. If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.


In other words, our advice would be to change your current link architecture from ...

... To ...

PLEASE NOTE: We simply replaced the original link's name with its anchor text so those would not necessarily be our choices for the file names/categories. We would use the most appropriate "money words" (keyword phrases that produce revenue/profits) as the file names or in this case, as the subdirectory names.

Also we would advise you to keep your links per page to a minimum, (i.e., 10 to 20).

It is better for you and for your link partners to have 10 pages of 10 links each than it is to have 1 page of 100 links.

Below are the current Wordtracker numbers for daily searches. They are based on your backward links anchor text ...

Your Work at Home and Online Homebased Business Opportunity Directory

Wordtracker's Estimated Daily Searches

work at home 5352 5177
work at home jobs 790 764
work at home business 175 169
work at home moms 152 147
work at home opportunities 143 138
free work at home 131 127
work at home ideas 118 114
moms work at home 109 105
legitimate work at home jobs 107 104
work at home mom 101 98
work at home job 91 88
free work at home jobs 89 86
work at home careers 87 84
work at home scams 79 76
at home work 70 68

home based business opportunities 254 246
home based business opportunity 188 182
home internet based business opportunity 168 163
best home based business opportunity 65 63
income opportunity home based business 35 34
home based business opportunity seeker 25 24
business opportunity home based 21 20
online home based business opportunity 15 15
free home based business opportunity 13 13

homebased business opportunity 18 17
online homebased business opportunity 10 10
homebased sporting goods business opportunity 7 7
business opportunities homebased telecom businesses 4 4
internet homebased business opportunity 4 4
business opportunity or homebased business 3 3
homebased business buisness opportunity from home 3 3
homebased business opportunities for women 3 3


We welcome your follow-up questions should you have any.


Want To Learn All About Search Engine Optimization? We Teach A 6 Week
Online SEO Class - Learn SEO The Write Way - There Is So Much More To
SEO Than Just Meta Tags :::
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2004 This article was written exclusively for Internet Based Moms™ and may not be re-published or copied without permission from Internet Based Moms™, except to print one copy for personal use. Any questions regarding use of this article should be directed to Linda. Comments and general questions about the article's content can be directed to the authors.


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