Misreading of #3 and Proposed Experiment
Thank you to the numerous individuals who pointed out my misreading of #3 in Rand’s list of SEO questions unanswered. The real question he was proposing, which I misread, was whether or not link removal could actually injure a site beyond where it would have been if the link had never been posted. While my initial reaction is no, I think a simple experiment is in order.
1. Two pages (“Receiving Site A” and “Receiving Site B”) developed using the same 250 nonsensical 7 letter words with no title or meta on a new domain. (“Receiving Site B” will receive the treatment of losing a link)
2. “Linking Page A” will be chosen, with a link to both sites using a 8 letter nonsensical word.
3. “Linking Page B” will be chosen, with a link to just one of the sites using the same 8 letter nonsensical word.
4. Wait until the cache of both A and B are updated, both test pages indexed, and rankings stabilized for 7 days across datacenters.
5. Pull the link from “Page B” which points to “Receiving Site B”
6. Watch what happens.
#Note: Because we know that order of links on the page matters for the amount of weight passed to it, I will place the link to the experimental page (the one which will lose the inbound link) FIRST on “Linking Page A”, essentially placing a greater burden in favor of the null hypothesis. Otherwise, we risk a switch in the rankings of Receiving Site A and Receiving Site B because of the confounding factor of link order on Linking Page A, rather than a penalty for losing a valuable link
Expectations / Hypothesis:
I cannot rationalize a penalty for link loss. The strength of link order alone on Linking Site A will far out weigh any possible penalty for link loss, that no changes in rank order will occur.
Let the games begin!