Are You A Link Whore?

January 3, 2009

Are you a link whore? Do you link your your blog posts to anything you read, in the hope of receiving an inbound link?

Most of us know that good, relevant inbound links can help with search engine optimization. But some linking strategies aren’t worth a toss.

I’ve made plenty of linking mistakes myself. And recently, I read this post on, which made me realise other people are suffering the same link mistakes and frustrations: I cleaned out my blogroll.

Wesley has only been blogging for three months but he’s a link whore. Recently, he set up a blogroll in his sidebar to link to other blogs he reads. Trouble is, when he didn’t receive inbound links in return, he got pissed off and removed them all from his blogroll.

I can understand Wesley’s frustration and I know how it feels to be in the same situation. When you start out blogging, you’re desperate for inbound links and it’s to become a link whore. Here’s a few things I wish I’d known about getting inbound links a long time ago.

Blogrolls Are A Waste Of Space: When I built my first website, you simply had a page of links and you would trade links with other people and add them to your page. But a blogroll appears in the sidebar of your blog. And once you’ve added a whole heap of links to blogs you like, you wind up with little space to fit in anything important, like ads, or space to promote your own stuff.

Experienced Bloggers Can Easily Spot A Link Whore: So linking to a post will barely ever get you an inbound link. For a start – folk want to know you’ve linked to them because you genuinely like what they’ve written, not because you want something in return. And if most of your posts are links to other people, or diary type stuff, you’re not giving anyone much to link back to anyway.

People Don’t Want To Link To Potentially Bad Neighbourhoods:
Link to spammy crap and you’re likely to get penalized by Google. So, if you have a new blog, folk might be cautious about linking to you, until they’re confident that you’re going to continue producing quality stuff.

If You Want Folk To Appreciate Your Links – Do It Right:
If you want to link to something someone has written, don’t just link to the text – “click here”, “blog name” or “writer name”. Google puts more value on relevant links, so use the keywords they’re actually writing about when you can.

For example, heaps of folk link to my name. Now that’s ok and if they’re just mentioning me in passing, it’s fair enough but those links are pretty worthless. I own the domain for my own name – I’d have to do something drastically wrong to get booted off the top of Google for that name. What I’m looking for, is inbound links for the stuff I’m actually writing about.

So, if you want folk to appreciate your links and you’re not sure what keyphrase to link to, use the words in their post title, or ask them.

Don’t Send Patronizing Emails Asking For Links:
If you have a new blog, don’t send patronizing emails to established blogs explaining why it would be beneficial to them to exchange links with you. If they’re getting a decent amount of traffic – they already know the benefits of inbound links.

Also don’t lie about your Google Page Rank, if you send link requests. If it is zero, the person you’re asking to trade with will know. And don’t do what a lot of people do and insist that if they provide a link from their homepage, you’ll get an inbound link back. I get heaps of these requests and I just ignore them. Why on earth would I give up valuable space in my sidebar to link to some new blogger I’ve never heard of?

Personally, I think it’s a waste of time emailing a perfect stranger and asking them to do something for you – but lots of people do it.

Don’t Link With The Expectation Of Getting Something In Return: This rule doesn’t just apply to inbound links, goes for anything you do online, or anywhere for that matter. If you’re only doing things because you want something in return, folk will see right through you.

Provide Useful Links: Link to articles that will be useful to your readers. If you constantly link to crap, they won’t bother clicking through. When I do huge resource posts, I make sure I link to excellent resources. And I often include useful things written by people I know – but you can bet that it’s good stuff.

Don’t Get Too Obsessive About Inbound Links:
Inbound links are useful but don’t waste too much time trying to get them. If you keep writing excellent articles, people will link to them eventually.

There’s plenty other things you can do, aside from getting inbound links, to get more visitors to your blog and learning a bit about search engine optimization is a good start. And if SEO is a bit of a mystery to you, SEO Book will teach you everything you need to know.

Are you a link whore? Has this article helped you understand the correct way to get inbound links?

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