Linking Can Be Scary!

- March 21, 2007

Linking and link building can be scary stuff. Constantly, I hear people talk about being penalized for aggressive linking or getting into trouble by using link farms and link exchange programs that are just bad news. The question here is “How do I know if a link is one that will improve my rankings, or one that will end up causing irreparable damage?” In an effort to bring some clarity to a frustrating situation, I have listed below some things to look for when considering a link.

The thing to consider above all else is relevancy. In other words, is the site that I want to link to me somehow related to the content on the page? If not, forget it. Links from pages that are not related to your content in some way, are not going to be counted. Other things to consider include:

  1. Is the directory active?
  2. Is the link clean? (examine the URL stream link structure, it should not be too long or have parameters or include a tag)
  3. How far down do you have to click to get to the link you want? (3-4 pages max)
  4. Do the links on the page contain Anchor Text? (In other words, can you put your keywords in the link?)
  5. Does the listing/directory provide a direct link to the site? (no re-directs)
  6. Does the directory provide a brief description explaining each link? Is it easy to understand? (Link farms generally have no descriptions or descriptions that are the same for many listings).
  7. How many listings are on each page? (Too many can be a sign of a link farm).
  8. Does the directory have any empty categories? (this is a no-no)

When choosing links, it is also important to remember not to add links too quickly as this can be seen as aggressive. A good recommendation is to add 1 new link per week until you have more than 20 quality inbound links, then you can increase your number to 2 per week. Linking may seem intimidating at first, but if you take the time to learn how it works, it can be extremely beneficial.

Please add any questions or comments that you may have regarding linking.

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