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Basics on Reduced Link Graphs, Part 1

June 17, 2021

The professionals at Google, Bing and other big search engines are always looking for ways to identify high-quality sites while removing low-quality and spam-heavy sites from their rankings. A big area here is link ranking, which plays a huge part in search engine optimization (SEO).

One possible technique here is called a reduced link graph. While there’s no definitive proof that Google or other search engines actively use this technique, research in the field has shown that these graphs are very effective for helping catch spam – and as such, there’s a high chance that at least some form of a reduced link graph is being used regularly by search engines. With that in mind, let’s start this two-part blog off by looking at the research on the subject, plus what research has determined to be link types that are regularly removed from these graphs.

Reduced Link Graph Basics and Research

Over several different studies, researchers have shown that they can improve search results by removing certain kinds of links from a link graph, then running the same ranking algorithm on the remaining links that were not eliminated. This research was limited – only basic classifiers were used to separate links.

Despite that, the research showed very strong indicators of success. One study, called Measuring Similarity to Detect Qualified Links, showed that taking out certain link types before the ranking process leads to better results and less spam. Our next section will go over these link types.

Removing Certain Link Types

This study immediately removed both advertising links and navigational links from the ranking process. The primary reason for this was that these links do not or should not confer any authority – they’re basically just noise to various search engine algorithms. Most of these algorithms, though, cannot differentiate between this noise and actual, useful information, meaning pages that had fewer of these links didn’t rank higher with as much ease.

Essentially, the research suggests using what are termed “qualified links.” Links that qualify in the similarity they show between the outgoing link page and the target page being linked to will be kept, while links that don’t show enough similarity here will be removed and termed “unqualified links.” This final product is a reduced link graph, which when used for analysis is far more accurate than similar graphs that contain more links.

In our second part of this blog, we’ll go over Google’s public history with link ranking algorithms and reduced link graphs. For more on this or any part of our high-level SEO services, speak to the pros at SEO Werkz today.

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