J.P. Douglas of 56 Rebels asked this question on the wordpress.com support forum. I answered him and that answer has become this blog post. Now I asking for my reader’s to chime in and share their advice on making sound linking decisions.
(1) You can link to any blog you choose in your Blogroll (Links) and in your posts.
Linking to the leading blogs or other blogs in the same niche that you regularly read is a good linking strategy. The rule of thumb is: link to the most authoritative references you can locate. Links to your resources and sources are important to your readers for at least four reasons: verifiability, acknowledgment, examples, and context. Therefore it makes sense to to link to the types of blogs that will provide high quality resources for our readers.
(2) Links reflect relationships.
Linking to blogs that are related to your own blog and that you regularly read comes naturally, and Google is looking for these natural linking patterns. Keeping a short blogroll of relevant links to the most authoritative blogs in your niche makes perfect sense and is referred to as a natural linking pattern.
(3) Acquiring lengthy blogrolls by means of reciprocal link exchanges with unrelated sites is not a good linking strategy.
Today reciprocal links to non-related sites have less value and less authority than they previously had, and can actually harm your blog’s ranking. If you plan to enter such arrangements then it’s important to understand the implications and the realities.
- Reciprocal links are based on an agreement by two sites (two way) to link to each other and small sites enter these arrangements to increase traffic and link popularity.
- Search engines do not give much importance to unrelated (two-way) or reciprocal links, and search engines will assume that unrelated reciprocal links are solicited links.
- If too many of your links are of low quality it may make it harder for your blog to rank for relevant queries, and some search engines may look at inbound link and outbound link ratios as well as link quality when determining how natural a site’s link profile is.
- So use your common sense. No matter how many requests for reciprocal link exchanges you receive do not consider reciprocal link exchanges unless it’s a related site that will provide high quality resources for our readers.
(4) Linkage is not permanent.
As links reflect relationships and as relationships wax and wane, your Blogroll (Links) are subject to change. Linking to blogs that are related to your own blog and that you regularly read comes naturally. Locating new blogs blogs to read within your blogging niche comes naturally. Some blogs you have linked to may become neglected and/or abandoned so making adjustments by removing them is a natural thing to do.
(5) Is it stupid to link someone’s blog who doesn’t link to mine?
J.P. Douglas also asked this question above and I answered him saying: ” Not at all.”
I don’t expect the leading bloggers in my niche to link to my blog and you shouldn’t expect that either.
There’s far more value in composing and publishing posts wherein you have linked to other bloggers’ relevant posts than there is in reciprocal blogroll links. When you link to other relevant posts in post of your own it’s called backlinking. It creates a one-way non-reciprocal link and that’s exactly what every blog needs lots of.
(6) The last word AKA shameless blog promotion.
Many bloggers link to their own blogs to their favorite blogging tips blogs and Google considers that to be a natural linking pattern. After all most bloggers are blogging in completely different niches than those they get blogging help from. Those who benefit do not usually publish posts backlinking to blogging tips posts because they are not relevant to the subject matter in their own blogging niche, so placing such a blog on your Blogroll makes sense. ;)
I’m interested to hear what Blogroll linking strategies my bloggers employ, so please don’t hesitate to share them.
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