I am grateful to have Rachel from QuirkyMomma.com post today on how links can increase your blogs reach. One of the things that PR people use to evaluate your potential involvement in campaigns is your ‘reach’. They want to know how influencial your voice is beyond the blog. Rachel has a great way of explaining the different types of links and their value to you. Thanks Rachel!
Linking is often a confusing and frustrating part of blogging, and yet, links can be a very fruitful way to increase your blog’s credibility and traffic as more people are able to find you! I credit the growth of links as the reason my blog has grown. A lot of my readers would not have heard of my Preschool Activities Blog if it weren’t for another site advising that they come check me out. My page rank (where I show up on Google searches) would have remained low (ummm, non-existent) and I wouldn’t be getting any search engine traffic if it weren’t for links, as Google would not have seen me as a valuable site. There are several different types of links, I thought it would be handy to explain the various types of links, the perks and some of the negatives of getting or making them:
* What are incoming links? These are links that others make to your site. They are highly ranked from search engines if they come from the first page of a blog, with in-content links rated higher than links coming from the side-bar, but really, we can’t be too picky! Any incoming link is a good one! You can find what links you have coming into your site either in your dashboard, if you have that capability, or by creating a Google webmaster account. With Webmaster you can see exactly what Google thinks about you.
* What are outgoing links? These are links leaving your site. Examples: links on your blog rolls, links to advertisers, links to authority sites, etc. You want to be careful to not link to a spammy site (check google’s list) and links to higher ranked pages are better than to lower ranked ones, but Google says on their webmaster course/videos that “link bleeding” is a myth. You are not penalized for linking too-often as long as those links are relevant (aka have similar keywords that you have in your site). It can actually help you to link to authority sites. Many times they are checking their incoming links and can find out about you (maybe even give you a curtesy link back), also, it makes you look like you know what you are talking about. Like a research paper, Google likes it when we credit our sources. Examples of “linking up”: You write an article about a great cookie recipe that you adapted. The original recipe was on Food Network, but you substituted a few ingredients and changed a few things making the recipe yours. By linking to the original you are showing that you are “on par” with the Food Network.
* An Explanation of NoFollow/DoFollow links:
NoFollow is the default method of linking used by the majority of blogs. NoFollow is essentially a code that Blogger, WordPress and other platforms have added making comments, and sometimes sidebars, not crawl-able to search engines. These links Google “supposedly” does not travel from. When the Google bot gets to your site they crawl all your pages, when they come to a NoFollow link they “supposedly” do not follow it to that site in an effort to make their bots more efficient. NoFollow is good for the blog owner as it means they do not have to moderate links as heavily, however, it is not giving a “vote of confidence” to the sites you’re linking to. Are NoFollow links worthless? I don’t think so (but I am not an expert). I find it hard to believe that Google doesn’t keep track of NoFollow links, they just may not weigh them as heavily as other links. The easiest way to gain NoFollow links is by leaving comments on other people’s sites or by being in blogrolls (many of these are not crawl-able either).
DoFollow links are the ones where the bots come across the link and then go scout out the site that you are mentioning – these are also called “backlinks” or “incoming” links as the bot comes “back” (or “in”) to you. Bloggers and webmasters alike obviously want more of these types of links as they increase credibility. The more sites sending “backlinks” to you, the more you look credible or like an authority according to Google. The easiest way to gain DoFollow links is by guest posting on another person’s blog. Most blogs do not have “NoFollow” codes over their content area. Some blogs (like Barb’s and my kid activity site) are DoFollow in their comment area as well. The perk of this is that you get to reward the people who comment on your site with link juice, the negative is that you have to moderate comments a bit more and delete ones that are irrelevant or from “spammy” sites. If you want to know if a site is DoFollow in their links, check out this FireFox Add-on (I love firefox!!!). If you do have a DoFollow blog, there are a few things you don’t want to link out to (ex: giveaways, paid advertisers, etc.), but that list is for another day and another post!
Leave a comment if you have any questions I’d love to answer them as best as I can. I have not been blogging for long, but I love jumping in head-first and learning everything I can about whatever it is that I am doing. These were just the meanderings of my blogging journey! If any of you want me to share some link juice with you, feel free to stop by Quirky Momma. I love to feature other relevant blogs!