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Link tips – are you linking to your friends in a useful way?

Link tips – are you linking to your friends in a useful way?

Link to your friends effectively

Some times we tend to take everything we’ve learnt for granted, we assume that everyone must surely know that already. It’s one of the reasons why we tend to use jargon – we just assume that because we know, then it follows that others probably know as well.

So with that little intro out of the way, herein follows a little statement of the obvious that might not be obvious to all. 😀

If you have a friend who happens to be an SEO in Cornwall or know an SEO in Orange county who has written a good article about obtaining .edu links then link to them in the way I just did!

If you link to them with the words this, here, or click then you are really not doing them as much of a favour as you could be. You wan’t to help your friends right? You wan’t to help improve the relevance of their pages too huh?

So, if they write an article that talks about their launching a new link building service, then use those terms just as I did and link directly to the page too.

If you already know that they are ranking well for a particular term, then mix things up a little for them too. Think of variants of the words they’d like to found for and vary those. People looking for solid business blogging tips might not always enter those terms in a search engine, some might enter make money from your blog, or monetise your blog. By knowing who your write about and taking a little more time, you could be helping them and adding value to what you do, both for them and the people who will subsequently find them in a search engine somewhere.

For those who don’t know – search engines use a thing called anchor text to help them determine relevance. The words that are contained in the link add weight to the page by adding contextual weight. An assumption is made that if a person points to a page with descriptive words, then it follows that the page is likely to be a good match for those terms. If enough people, or enough sites with sufficient levels of authority link to that page for those terms, then the relevance of this page amongst others, is boosted resulting in a greater likelihood of that particular page being returned for the search engine query.

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios

17 thoughts on “Link tips – are you linking to your friends in a useful way?

  1. Thomas Hansen

    Nice informative blog about the importance of anchor text of links… 🙂
    Good one!
    Now we only need to figure out a way to get all of our 29 K number of links to change their anchor text to something that’s useful… 😉
    I assume you’ve googled for “Click here”…?


  2. robwatts Post author

    Hi Thomas,

    Glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the comment

    Only 29k links… 😉

    Click here is pretty much owned by those adobe guys, but you know what? They can have it too, who searches for that after all 😀

    Nice site you have there!


  3. Shane

    Good tips Rob. It’s a good idea to wrap the link in a paragraph that’s reader and search engine friendly too (like you did). I always try to do that instead of just posting a list of shout-out links

  4. robwatts Post author

    Hi Shane, I think thats a good thing to think of too. Shout out isolated links are cool too, but not as cool as what you suggest.

    If I were a search engineer looking at ways of applying value and meaning and context to links. I’d look at the words around the links and the pages that they were on. They’d be other ‘quality’ signals too, but I’d certainly give these a bigger weighting than any others, simply because it could be evident of a human making an effort to link in a meaningful connected non spammy way that makes sense, as opposed to some random splattering of footer, nav or otherwise non grounded reference points designed to attack an aspect of an algorithm.

    Machines are pretty good at picking up patterns and I’d say that algos have matured to a point of being able to differentiate programmatic from natural; or at least gotten a whole lot better at it even!

  5. Matt Ellsworth

    linking with the word “here” is just about as web 0.1 as you can get… That was a big thing in the 90’s.. I never thought I would say that considering I was in high school in the late 90s.. lol…

    While its good to help your friends out – I only do it if they aren’t competing on the same phrase as me.

  6. Kickass Linkbaiter

    Weird, I was thinking about this the other day. I can’t remember who it was but as I was going to link to them I thought “this is not good anchor text”, but I wasn’t sure as to what to put as I had not discussd it with them.

    Perhaps somewhere on our blogs we could publish a bunch of anchor text terms we would like to be used. For example, geographical terms such as that “SEO in Manchester”, it would have to be contextually correct of course, but would prove useful for readers and the recipient of the anchor text.

    For example I would chose
    Linkbait service
    viral content creator


    Most of us already rank for our main terms, but it would be nice to get reciprocal boosts for the secondary terms.

  7. robwatts Post author

    Matt – I like to think in terms of karma –

    Its a global economy with a hellava lot of people getting in on this thing, I think we all need as much help and assistance as we can get. The way I see it is a little like this. If I help a competitor who happens to be a friend then the chances are that if he or she gets more work than they can handle then the likelihood is they might well ask me for a helping hand. If my friends win I win.

  8. robwatts Post author

    @ kickass linkbaiter aka lyndon 😉

    I think you make some good points. Why not include a link to me link at the bottom of each post with a page explaining ones ideal link philosophy.

    I wrote a script once upon a time that I used on a directory to enable people to link to me. I filled an array with a ton of related terms and pages from my site. The link text changed dependant upon what day or hour it was.

    It was a good way of getting lots of deep links to different pages for different related terms.

  9. Mark Barrera

    I think that your advice is great for those that are new to blogging and internet marketing. One thing you didn’t mention is that you should use trackbacks if you are able to.

    Many of the posts that you link to are trackback enabled but it doesn’t look like you sent them a trackback ping. This is a great way to get more traffic to your posts from the blog posts that you are referencing.

    I am enjoying your site and will be adding it to my RSS reader!

  10. robwatts Post author

    Thanks Mark

    Yeah, I hear you on the trackback thing and absolutely agree too. Somethings amiss with my install somewhere as for some reason posts are not sending them, even though I have it enabled as an option – which is kinda sucky! I really need to get it sorted.

    Glad to hear Ive been added to your reader 🙂

    Will be checking out some of those vids on your site over breakfast tommorrow.

  11. Frédéric Panek

    Very nice information!
    One cheeky method that I red in another blog (sorry I forgot where) described how to add relevant word to your name when writing a comment on a dofollow blog…

    For example, since I write about personal development, I could sign using “Frédéric Panek :: Personal development”…

    However, the article stated as well that this method was considered annoying and sometimes even offensive when abused.
    I remember reading a post whereby the author warned his users to not use such method or he would edit the names without prior notice…


  12. robwatts Post author

    Hi Frédéric

    Thanks for stopping by

    I guess it would depend on whether the keywords within the anchor text are parsed and individualised and what kind of weight is applied as a result. Personally were I search engine looking to apply maximum use of such terms, I would apply more weight to an entire phrase within a link and less to individually parsed words.

    Consider this:

    Baa baa black sheep have you any wool: A Nursery Rhyme.

    If these words are contained in their entirety within a link, then a search engine could make a judgement that the page to which they pointed to might just be about the nursery rhyme. You could determine this perhaps by using other pages that referenced a similar line and if you wanted to be really clever, look at say the title tags and heading tags to draw some kind of meaningful conclusions.

    Now if those same words were individualised and enough people used similar strings then would that same page also be relevant for terms like ‘black’ or ‘black sheep’ or wool’ or ‘nursery’ or ‘nursery rhyme’ or ‘rhyme’?

    For me it would have to be a no, because to do so would be to attribute incorrect context and would ultimately weaken relevancy.

    All that said of course, from a visual human perspective, I dont see anything inherently wrong with using things like say, ‘robwatts: link baiter’ or ‘robwatts: SEO’ etc as to the reader it adds a little bit more to who they are reading and what they might be about. As you pooint out though such an approach might well piss people off, especially amongst the blogging community who could well see it as an unwelcome commercial intrusion.

  13. Manila Mom

    I usually link using the blog name itself, especially when I’m not sure what anchor text the recipient prefers.

    I’m just wondering, though, “mixing up” anchor texts as you mentioned. Wouldn’t it be more effective for a blog to concentrate on just one set of anchor texts in order to maximize the number of links to it rather than have the links spread out among various anchor texts?

  14. robwatts Post author

    Hi Manila Mom, thanks for stopping by and commenting

    Nothing inherently wrong with linking by blogname, Im just saying that if you wanted to, you could go that extra 10 yds and make it that little bit more relevant.

    The mixing up of anchor text thing. Well, again just a personal opinion but if you think of it in terms of not everyone searches in the exact same way then you’ll begin to appreciate the benefits of mixing up the anchor text. Seo in Hitchin isn’t the same as Hitchin SEO or Seo Consultant in Hertfordshire or Hertfordshire SEO etc. By varying it, then overtime you’ll improve your scores on these Kw’s too.

    Another side point too is to think in terms of natural linking patterns and avoiding things that might be viewed as blatant link text manipulation. If every single keyword into ones site was the same over and over and over, then it *could* be viewed as a possible attempt at trying to exploit the algorithm for that singular phrase and *could* result in some kind of negative.

  15. David Airey :: Creative Design ::

    Nice article, Rob.

    I’ve just linked through here in a recent post, with anchor text that I hope is suitable.

  16. robwatts Post author

    Thanks David,

    I liked your post Ive never engaged in a speedlink post but having read yours, I can see that they are a nice way of reaching out – thanks again for the mention.

    It’s always nice to be appreciated and valued. Good linking does just that.

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