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Think Before You Link

Posted by Werner Coetzee on: 2006-09-10 23:22:44

Self SEO > Link Popularity Articles


Alright I am reasonably new to the whole linking and link swapping arena myself, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that linking to sites that have similar or even complimentary products/services/information etc. will have a greater effect on your own site, than just some guy that is in a process of ‘link gathering’.


Firstly we should look at why people swap links.

The most important reason to link to a site would be to get more visitors from that site. Their visitors should be able to see your link and click on it. If it is hidden away on some arbitrary page somewhere in the middle of the land that time forgot, you are wasting your time. Chat to the webmaster you link to and make sure your link is prominently displayed.

The second reason we swap links (slightly less important according to me), is to grow your site’s link popularity.

Link popularity is quite simply ‘how popular your site is’. Search engines take note of how many links you have coming to your site and assume that the more links you have, the more popular and ‘important’ your site is. But beware!

Our Search engines (bless their little white cotton socks) are getting really smart and you should be careful as to who you link to (outbound links) and where you get links from (known as incoming links).

If you have inbound links from sites with a low PR (Page Rank - that is the Google rating for your site) it could actually effect your ranking in the search engines negatively. In other words you will drop further down the list in searches. Ouch!

If you would like a handy tool to check the PR of any page, you can get a handy toolbar directly from Google. I strongly recommend that you get something to be able to check the PR of potential linking partners.

Another aspect that affects your search engine position is linking to ‘bad’ sites. By ‘bad’ sites I am referring to sites that have no value or content and simply act as a type of banner or link farm. These sites have a low or absolutely no Google PR and they will only bring you down. Stay well clear.

What should the site PR be then? Well, any site with a PR of three or higher should have a reasonably positive effect on your site, but we can’t really generalize.

Always ask the webmaster whom you are planning to link to, exactly where your link will be placed. Check out the PR of that particular page and if where you plan to place his/her link is similar or his/her PR is higher it could be a good swap.

As with everything in life there are always exceptions, but something that always holds true is the types of sites you link to.

Only link to sites that are similar or complimentary to your site. If, for example, I sell shoes on my site, I will never link to a site that sells i.e. insurance. Not only doesn’t it make any sense, but even worse it will affect your ranking! Yup those search engines weren’t spawned yesterday!

So what would be considered good sites to link to?

They keyword here is synergy. A friend recently launched a rating site (http://www.hotmaybenot.com) and he asked me to help him with this issue.

After we spent about half an hour together we soon realised that the list was almost endless.

The first thing we did, was to take his top 20 keywords and do searches on those words. The results as you can imagine were just about endless.

We then had a look at the concept of the site and soon came across many verticals, like dating, flowers, poems etc. etc. etc. It was actually a whole lot easier than he ever imagined. He is now ready to approach hundreds of these sites with a link swap offer.

To conclude I would like to urge every ‘newbie’ webmaster thinking of increasing their sites’ presence to think just a little bit before they go out and gather random, non-sequential links. Haste and ignorance can really be to your detriment.

Remember. Be careful out there!

Werner Coetzee
Web Newbie and Site Administrator
http://www.mom2me.com




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