Blog Link Building - Not All Links Are Created Equal

Check out my new guide for starting a blog to learn how to go about properly creating your own blog.

So what do you get when a website marketing professional starts a personal finance blog? You get a weekly blogging tips series!

I have to say this series has exceeded by expectations. Originally I just wanted to share some advice with my blogger friends. Since a lot of you guys e-mail me with blogging questions anyway, it makes sense to answer some of them here for everyone. A little unexpectedly this series has really helped with marketing my blog.

Unfortunately this may be the last post in this series for a little while. I’ve built up too large a queue of guest posts which I’m feeling guilty about not publishing more promptly. So I feel obligated to free up another weekday to publish those. I’ll eventually be back with more blogging tips posts. Or if you want to contribute a blogging tips posts, I can squeeze that in sometime soon.

Check out some of the previous posts from this series:

Since this is the last blogging tips post for a while, I’m going to cover something that I am extremely knowledgeable about. It also happens to be a very important topic that many bloggers do not know enough about.

Blog Link Building – Not All Links Are Created Equal

All the time I see blogs that are written quite well and have a decent sized following. Then I see a low PageRank or high Alexa Ranking and realize they are likely missing out on a lot of extra traffic. The problem is usually that they are not effectively building links to help their search engine rankings. They often don’t realize that it’s more than just getting a ton of links. The kinds of links you get play a big role too.

Dofollow Vs Nofollow

I’m sure most finance bloggers will have heard of nofollow and dofollow links, but I suspect many don’t really understand much about them.

The nofollow link attribute was introduced as a way to link to websites without passing PageRank. I personally believe Google was careful with that definition. It was widely assumed that it meant that nofollow links did not help search engine rankings either. I think they still affect a different ranking called TrustRank, which in turn affects search rankings. Also search engines can look at the balance between dofollow and nofollow links to detect unnatural linking patterns. This isn’t a problem with most bloggers since they get plenty of nofollow links via blog comments. By default most blog comments produce nofollow links.

If you’re not intimidated by looking at html code, you can recognize a nofollow link as they look something like this: <a href=”…” rel=”nofollow”>. Or you can download browser toolbars or extensions that can automatically highlight nofollow links.

Because a dofollow link helps search engine rankings to a much larger degree than nofollow links, it is important that you find ways of attaining those kinds of links. This is why you don’t want to rely too heavily on blog commenting as your primary marketing tactic. Instead try to find ways of getting links within post content or from other dofollow sites.

Links From Strong Domains or Pages

While search engine rankings are essentially a popularity contest with links counting as votes, certain links are given a lot more weight. The most significant factor is the strength of the domain and page that is linking to you blog. This is where checking PageRank is quite useful.

The stronger the domain’s backlink profile, the more that domain’s links usually help your rankings. Each individual page also has its own backlink profile, but that is highly influenced by the domain’s internal links. A strong domain can have weak pages with few backlinks. Links from those kinds of pages will help your search rankings less, but they may still help contribute to your TrustRank.

If you can consistently get some links from strong pages it will have a major effect on your rankings. Again, search engines can detect if you are focusing too heavily on links from strong pages. So it is important to balance those links out with links from other sources.

Keep in mind that a website’s homepage is almost always its most heavily linked page. This means it is usually the most beneficial page to get a link from.

Location On Page Matters

This factor might be debatable, but it is believed that the location of your link on a page affects its weight. Most internet marketers at least agree that in-content links are the ideal place for links. Not only will readers notice those links more, but it’s also likely that search engines give more weight to those links.

A link in the footer area of a website is thought to be the weakest position on a page for a link. This is where the least people will see it. Also because footers were abused for link selling and keyword stuffed internal links, search engines probably devalued that area of a site. Links in sitewide navigation areas may also be worth less. The catch is that if you have a link in a site’s footer or in its main navigation, you likely still get strong benefits from a link from their homepage and some benefit from having links on most of their pages. Links ‘above the fold’ might be worth more too.

With Link Building, Spread Yourself Thin

With many backlink analysis tools, it will tell you how many total links you have and how many domains link to you. This is because it is better to have lots of links from many sites rather than lots of links from fewer sites.

When you get multiple links from the same site, each new link is worth a little less. That difference is probably rather minute when it is under 10-20 links from that site. It also depends if those links are all pointing to the same page or whether they are passing PageRank to a variety of pages.

This factor is a little tough to address with blogging since the tendency is to overly focus on your favorite blogs. It is well worth your time to make the effort to ‘get around’ a bit. Focus on your favorites, but try to find links from new sources regularly.

Relevant Links For Keyword Boosts

If you get links from pages directly relevant to the keywords you are targeting, it will help your page gain more relevance for those keywords. So if targeting specific keywords, pay attention to the keywords in the page title, url and headings.

This one is also tough to address with blogging. First of all, usually we are most interested in links from recent pages where we have little control over how relevant the page is for our keywords. Secondly most of us put our efforts into building the overall strength of our domains instead of trying to build links to specific pages.

Think of how you can address this with tactics such as guest posting and commenting on older posts. We can even use strategies that are used more with traditional website marketing such as article distribution and forum posting.

Summary

There are other factors that affect how beneficial a link is, but these are some of the most important factors to consider. So if search engine traffic is a priority, keep these things in mind when you are building links for your blog. The strategies you have been using might not be enough to build up the rankings that you want. Maybe it’s time to switch up your routine and build up your traffic more efficiently.

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