SEO super loves links. If a robot like Google placed an ad on the internet dating site, it would say, “Robot seeks website to share with friends. Preference goes to those who already have friends.” While that makes your website sound like a website of ill repute, the point is, the Google robot likes links (like a dog wanting sausage links). Outbound links gives the robot a good idea of what you like and who you are, and inbound links tells the robot that you are sexy.
NOTE: I'm copying and pasting from another blog of mine because hackers keep getting into it, for years someone keeps trying to hack into that blog, so I'm moving everything back here and revamping this blog.
Two Types of Linkage
Inbound Links = Sites that link to your site
Outbound Links = Sites your site links to
What do the SEO Robots like?
The following is relevant for both inbound and outbound links. The WHO is very important. SEO robots will judge you based on the type of friends you have.
For example, true story, when I googled my name and looked at Images, I saw just about every profile picture I ever had, the books I’m in, pictures from my blogs and online portfolio, pictures of my father where I was tagged on Facebook, and my favorite… The Bloggess shows up a few times: pictures of the Bloggess that I haven’t even seen yet to visit or link to. The reason she’s there is probably because I link to her a lot (just like I do my books and blog posts), but also, I comment a lot on her blog, and she has CommentLuv where you can link to your posts in the comments based on an RSS feed. So according to Google, based on our links, we have a mutual friendship, and if you search for me, you will find her because Google thinks we are friends. She does follow me on twitter, and she favorited one of my tweets once. See, we’re friends. Katy Perry favorited one of my tweets once, but Google doesn’t realize we are BFF’s yet.
SEO Robots Prefer Credible Sites
For the most part, if you link to a site (or are linked by a site) that is ran by a real human being with great content (as opposed to spammy content) and who posts frequently, you’ll be fine. The robot world, however, has a concept of Domain Authority where it ranks sites and pages by their credibility. Many factors go into this, but as often as possible, you want to aim to link to (and be linked by) sites with high domain authority.
The best thing to do is mix up the kind of sites you link to, like choose some business branding sites (like Pampers), some major media sites (like Nickelodeon or CNN), some stores (like Amazon.com), and some bloggers (like Me and all my invisible internet friends).
SEO Robots Prefer Popular Sites
Most robots are configured to provide people what they want, and that is usually based on what people already like. That doesn’t mean you should only link to sites with the highest page hits; in fact, you’ll be amazed at how popular some of the most popular sites are not (great marketing positioning will fool anyone). Many factors go into the concept of popularity including how often a site is linked, shared in social media, and visited. Some pages of a site do better than the domain itself, so keep that in mind.
You don’t have to link exclusively to sites you think are popular. Mix it up.
SEO Robots Prefer Sites that share the same Niche and Target Market
If you blog about motherhood, you will want to link to (and be linked by) other places where motherhood is a key concept who reach a similar target market to you. Food blogs should share food blogs; however, a food blog with a readership of primarily mothers should also share blogs about motherhood. Maybe you are reaching crafty people with your knitting blog, then consider linking to cross stitch once in a while.
The important thing is to reach sites who has a readership similar to yours. This not only helps Google decide how to properly stereotype and label your site, but keep in mind, when you link to a site, people looking for that site might see your site in search results (because according to Google, you are now friends), and you want your site to show up in the search results of people who want to read and enjoy to read your blog. In other words, you want your site in the search results for things relevant to whoever is searching it.
SEO Robots Pay Attention to Key Words
If you have a page where the key words are SEO, you are going to look odd to these robots if most of your links are going to recipes. You want to share to places using similar or related key words, for instance, an SEO page may share links to something with the key word, “domain authority.”
SEO Robots Pay Attention to Location of Links
They tell you in the “brick and mortar” business industry, “Location, Location, Location!” If you are opening up a clothing store, location often determines your success. It’s always been one of the most important elements of running a good business. With that said, location still plays a huge role online. If a link to your site shows up in someone’s comments, it won’t be as well liked by robots (or people for that matter) than if your link shows up within the text of an article. Don’t get me wrong, a link in the comments helps, which is why if you have a blog, you have spam comments linking to their site with 100 keywords without saying anything cohesive (most of which get deleted), but that’s why these people do it. Because they do it, and Google knows all and sees all, it makes comments a less credible location for the rest of us. CommentLuv is different because it pulls from the RSS feed.
Proper Linking Etiquette: How to Link
Use key words to Link
You know how when you type a blog post, you can use any word to add a link to it? Instead of using, “Click Here” or the address of the page, use a key word that matches the page you are linking to. If you link to a site selling t-shirts with the word, “Chocolate,” Google is going to consider it nonsense; however, if you link to a site selling t-shirts with the words, “Chocolate Lover T-Shirts,” then you make sense (to both robots and your readers).
Link to the Right Place
So many people do this thing, especially on Pinterest, where they show content to something specific, and then link to the main page’s domain. That’s horrible. Don’t do that. A year later, after that site wrote 50 blog posts, someone clicking the link can’t find the content. You want the link to go to the actual page of the content you are promising, and in most cases, that will be to a specific page within a site. Do not link to redirects. Find the real page and link directly to it.
You know what’s cooler than linking to other sites? When people click that link.
Facebook is infamous for showing more people a picture or link that has a high click-through rate. The more people who click on the links you link to (and to you), the better the link looks. Every time you write a post with links, you will be doing yourself a great SEO service to click every link in your article to make sure it is going to the correct location. You also want to advertise the link in such a way it inspires people to click it.
Link to Real Links
When you link within an article, nine times out of ten, it’s a real link you found in another tab and copied and pasted as a link; however, give it a year, and that link might not exist anymore. SEO is still crawling your old blog post with that link, and it doesn’t like seeing bad links. Frequently, revisit old posts and double check those links. If they aren’t working, replace them or delete them.
In addition, you have to think about all the links coming to you. If you change the address to a page for any reason (like an attempt to delete it), keep the old address and redirect to your newer post. If you spot someone providing a misspelled link to you, where their link goes to an ERROR 404 page, you can ask them to revise it. If that’s not doable, create that misspelled domain page and have it redirect to the page it was supposed to go.
Link to Avoid Plagiarism
Copyrights have some interesting laws; for instance, you cannot copyright an idea. So, if you see another blogger write something you love, and you rewrite it as a paraphrase, by law, you are allowed to do that without citing your inspiration. If you find a picture you love, and you re-draw it your way, you are allowed to (unless it’s a trademarked character like Mickey Mouse, then you have a gray area). However, plagiarism is a totally different thing. It’s not illegal to plagiarize, but it’s unprofessional and kills credibility. Think back to high school when plagiarism was a big deal. When you wrote that research paper (and used note cards for research if you had a good teacher), you still had to cite sources for everything you paraphrased. A lot of people forget that now that they are writing online. Link to your inspiration for ethical dignity.
Link to Network
If you are blogging at all, most likely you have a “tribe” or network of friends where you share each other’s content. Link to their posts in your articles. Focus on people who share your work often. Google will see, “Oh, this site links 4 times to this other site, and the Facebook profile that links to that other site just so happened to share this site’s article 10 times in the last year. Both these sites are good sites on this keyword.”
This is also an opportunity to Link Swap. If you have friends who blog about similar things you blog about, see if they’ll do a link for link, where you link to each other in posts.
Thank People Who Share Your Links
If someone links to you in their blog, you should be grateful for their SEO because some people are stingy with their links out. If you are a really nice person, you will probably try to return the favor. But a Thank You is very good manners.
When I linked to a bunch of sites for The Blog Bomb Awards, more than half the sites dropped me an email thanking me for linking to them. I didn’t even tell them I linked to them. Their WordPress informed them of all the pingbacks (when someone links to their blog, it shows up as a comment).
Link to Your Own Site
Google not only loves links, but SEO Robots in general tend to like sites that have a lot of people clicking between pages in addition to using the categories (a good blend of both should occur). In addition, people clicking to another page in your site reduces “bounce rate” on your numbers. Providing a “Related posts” helps with this kind of clickage, but also, so does linking to your own site within your text.
Remember, most internet readers are impulsive when it comes to where they go. That’s half the fun of the internet where you go to Web MD to research the symptoms of something you think you have, and after enough of “Ooh pretty picture” and “Oh I have to read this one real quick,” the next thing you know, you blinked and now you have purchased a banana slicer and are reading an article called the “Top Ten Creepiest Cat Pictures.”
That phenomenon is MOST likely to occur on your site the more you provide links within your site to your own site.
Link to a New Window
You do want your traffic to remain on your site. Yes, you are diverting their attention to another site, but if your site links to another site directly, they may forget to come back. If your site links to another site in a new tab or window, you’re still there to remind them what they were doing.
The code for opening a link in a new window (for those occasions the computer doesn’t ask you to check that):
If you can’t tell, I got this from W3Schools, and it’s my favorite website to learn and review about coding. Too quick and easy to search for what I need, W3Schools provides more information to targeting your links if you are interested.
Space Out the Links and Use Sparingly
You don’t want a list of links that appears to be spam. When writing for SEO content, the general practice is to have at least 3 sentences between linked keywords (and that’s true for keywords in general, like use synonyms between keywords), and to use only 2 to 3 links within each 300-500 words.
Remember Google doesn’t have any emotions. They don’t care that you want to hoard all the internet traffic to yourself, that the main point is to get people to stay on your site as opposed to hopping somewhere else. All they know is the INTERweb is INTER-connected, and they want to keep it that way.