Monday, May 02, 2005

A Guide to Natural Linking Structure

Okay so I haven't posted in awhile, but travelling a lot now for all of the AVP events throughout the country is taking a toll on my blogging. Here is a brief article featuring some tips and tactics from Marketing Sherpa and Eric Ward, the linking building guru.

OVERALL KEYPOINT :: Search engines are looking for a natural linking structure!

Search engines factor links into ranking sites, so they look not only at the number of links, but also the quality of links, to help decide if they are a fair assessment of a site's quality.

Mistake #1. Links on pages search engines don't see

For example, search spiders often can't see pages such as:
*Password protected or registration-required pages.
*Dynamically generated pages (often featuring long URLs including characters such as ?).
*Pages buried so deep within a site that the URL again is very long (more than 60 characters) and/or contains a lot of forward slashes indicating levels of depth.

Mistake #2. Planting links on link farms
Avoid at all costs, will not benefit you

Mistake #3. Loading up with reciprocal links
There's nothing wrong with reciprocating links, if the site linking to you is appropriate for your content. But the search engines may not take much notice.

Mistake #4. Buying links
Search engines will generally disregard paid links. But it is a good tactic for placing links on sites that will refer qualified visitors like business directories, vertical directories, blogs, resource portals, etc.

Mistake #5. Emailing form letters
These letters expressing, "I've visited your site and would like to exchange links… " Personalize all link requests, explain the benefit of linking back to you.

Three tactics that work for gaining link popularity

Tactic #1. Make the most of your current links. You want to make sure they all include text in the link, not just a graphic. The anchor text (clickable link text) should include potential keywords that people might search for in finding your site and support your SEO efforts.
First take an inventory of every link you have coming in from:
*Trade association and online magazine directories
*Divisions and related sites your organization owns
*Vendors boasting that you're a client
*Staffers' blogs
*White papers posted on 3rd party site

Tactic #2. Get listed on Hub sites
Links from hub or authority sites -- sites that exist in order to help browsers find information on a particular topic -- are given credence by the search engines. You can also find these sources by typing in a search term + links, addURL, links.html, etc. Also, check out When you type in your keywords, you'll see a section on the right titled "Resources: link collections from experts and enthusiasts". Sites requiring reciprocal links are not hubs.

Tactic #3. Approach niche sites individually
Rather than sending a form email letter requesting a link, review each site carefully to figure out who might be in charge of links and how you can appeal to them. How do you find them? Again, search popular search engines to find out what sites come up for your desired keywords. Detailed, multi-word keywords are the best. Plus check out who links to your competitors by again using search engines in conjunction with directory sites such as and

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