Foreign IBL's Can Damage Rankings?

Source Title:
Warning: Mass Foreign Language IBLs
Story Text:

Here's a nasty twist on the theme of Googlebowling, Mass Foreign IBL's skewing the Language Google thinks your Site is in. Get a ton of links from a Spanish website to your US hosted, English website and wham! Bounced out of the SERPS...

Google chooses the language of the site through 4 main factors. The physical location of the webserver (IP number), the TLD, The meta languages tag(s), where the incoming links come from and also the actual language of text.

Normally you’d think one of these factors could not override the rest. However, inbound links can override all other factors into duping Google that the page is of a different language than it actually is. This has disastrous consequences, for example if a German page focusing on German language readers gets a highly disproportionate amount of links from english language sites, what happens is that Google ignores the fact the server is in Germany, the tld is .de, the meta language tag is “de” and considers the site english and you will drop a lot in but rise in

Interesting stuff. TW get's quite a lot of Spanish and German links, but not a disproportionate amount, im guessing you'd have to get quite a few (if this is actually true) to do any real damage.



Really hope this isn't true for all sorts of reasons.

If anyone is concerned about

If anyone is concerned about losing rank in their country specific search I suggest they point all their links to me and I will 301 only the good links to you, according to your country requirements.

Actually, that's not a bad idea for a free service!!

It is true. Perhaps is not

It is true. Perhaps is not easy to happen to an english site, but try to promote with english sites your spanish domain. Try to use digital points coop (or similar) with non english site. (yes, what you are thinking right now is posible)

It's an interesting report -

It's an interesting report - I've already seen Google give strong rankings on Google UK "web" search according to links by UK domain/IP. I'm wondering if Alan didn't accidentally trip one of Google's general range of anti-relavancy...oops, anti-spam filters.


i thought that was happening on yahoo, I see no real evidence that it exist in google

GoogleBabbling ??

I'm wondering if Alan didn't accidentally trip one of Google's general range of anti-relavancy...oops, anti-spam filters.

Determining a document's (primary) language by incoming links (not even from the anchor text but language tags on the source page!) makes no sense. That'll be GoogleBabbling. There are tons of authority sites out there which receive links in all languages from all over the world. I've not seen the W3C being treated as spanish or french site. OTOH tons of spanish links pointing to a german URI may very likely trigger a spam filter, although there are some places in spain where english and german speaking habitants outweigh.

Another Excuse for Not Ranking Well

There are a million excuses for not ranking well, and this is just one of them. I mix and match lots of languages and this hasn't been an issue.

I mix and match lots of languages and this hasn't been an issue

Agreed, not for me either.

I dont' think that's the

I dont' think that's the point he's making though. As i said, TW gets lots of foreign language links also, and is not affected.

I think the point is that a disproportionate amount of say german links could do harm. Like lots of them...

The problem is not the

The problem is not the number of foreign language links, is the percentage. If your spanish site has 80% of its links from english sites, be worry.

Never mind

Whatever foreign language links can do or not can do, it's just not plausible that english links push a german site in the english results whereby the german rankings drop. In which language should one pick the search terms to compare the placements of a german page? One could use english words appearing on the german pages ("home page" hehheh), but those are most likely irrelevant with regard to the page topic. Most probably the finding is a confusion. A german search is a search with a german search term. An english search is a search with an english search term. Comparisons of and results for a german search mean next to nothing, because the client is probably connected to the same index+country-specific-algo-variants combo and Google is just toying with him by shoving in some slight funny differences. I still don't buy it.

Disproportionate = +75% or so

I didnt think it possible as well until it happened. You actually see "translate this page" next to the Google result.
we are not talking about 20%/30% of links coming from different languages but from at least 75%. Easily done if links are relied on a network of a different language you are targetting (yes, I screwed up with such a network, but sorted it out quickly). It isnt the total number of links but the proportion I believe that triggers it. You really have kick the proverbial out of it to trigger it but I can assure having seen it on 3 German sites now this is not BS.


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