Sunday, September 26, 2021
HomeRecommendedBLAP (Blog Long and Prosper): Those Damn Links

BLAP (Blog Long and Prosper): Those Damn Links

Uh.. prosper. Um.. Live Long and... pay taxes...

Second in a series on becoming a more prosperous (or at least more widely read) blogger.

Links are even more important to you than the last BLAP topic stressing the importance of headlines.  Headlines (which are often also links) can encourage a reader to read your story.   A properly crafted link can fetch a reader from far, far away on the internet to come read your story.

Alas, we don’t always get to craft the links that bring readers to our stories (or cause them to consciously avoid our missives), so where are actually are in control of our links, we should give them the same careful thought and scrutiny that we would devote to a headline.

What is a link?
A link is the magic part of ‘the internet’ (actually ‘the web’ part of the internet) that makes it easy to navigate from document to document and gather relevant information quickly.  You click, you go there.  It was that poweful clickie thing that allowed many early adopters back in the day to fear that they would get ‘lost’ on the internet.   Simple in concept, the internet would never have taken off as it did without the lowly (yet highly sought after) link.  Links both specify the target (the ‘where you will go’) if you click on them, and are intended to give you a teeny preview of what you might see when you get there.  Further, links and link text are also used in search engines to catalog and index links and web pages.  That will be the important, weighty part of this article.

Click Here.
Before proceeding on how to help yourself best with properly crafted links, let’s review link practices that we want to avoid, both because they harm our rankings in search engines, and they may just be bad editorial practice.   Click Here.  Check this out…  X-posted.  Crossposted.  Hot Viagra Chicks.  Win A Million Dollar$.  Technically, this is not a Rick Roll (because I told you what it was before you clicked).  Avoiding that with Wiki-leaked documents. (H/T: Moe Lane [good practice])

Other than revisiting the famous Rick Roll, we won’t go into deceptive links here except to say they will hurt your rankings with the search engines.  Google sez don’t be evil, so don’t be.  Why?  Because ‘Click here’ and ‘x-posted’ don’t tell you anything about what you will see when you click. Perhaps you informed the reader of what they would get if they ‘click here’ just before or just after the link?  Then make that text the link.   Tell us why we should click, what we will discover, and make that information your link.  If you try to induce more clicks to your story by mentioning naked pictures of Paris Hilton and your story turns out to be about kinetic operations in Libya, the search engines will discover and penalize you (and so will your readers, by the way, which is why the search engines do it).

So beyond avoiding the most obvious hazards in crafting good links, what can you do to ensure that your links are actually helpful and informative (which will raise your story’s or your site’s search engine rankings)?

Link text is what matters
When Google first notices a link you crafted, or notices a link someone else crafted linking to your story or site, the first thing Google (and the other search engines) record besides the link destination itself is the hot-linked text.   Yeah, that’s this clickable part that’s in a different color.  The search engines use that link text as the initial clue  to categorize and index the link to your story!

Even after the search engines have spidered your story and know (sorta) what it actually says, the links others eventually furnish to your story can often tell the search engine more about how to index the story than any other meta-information available.  Yes, the search engines do notice the difference between links calling your story a source of witty, trenchant wisdom and links disdaining your shoddy copy as the ravings of a craven lunatic.

As you see above, your choice of link text can place the information that you link to in context for your reader, so good link text can be highly useful in an editorial sense.

So indeed, with something as simple as a link, you have the power to gift, to re-gift, or even the Kraken-like power to destroy!

Use it wisely.

 

 

Ron Robinsonhttp://www.procinct.net
Ron Robinson (Alhambra, CA) is founder of PROCINCT.net, a national internet platform that broke the party Voter Vault/PDI monopoly and delivered precinct walk lists in the 2010 election for over 16 million voters in wards in 20 US states. PROCINCT.net added Precinct Committeeman (PC) Strategy support in Dec of 2010 and is rapidly emerging as a premier online Precinct Strategy resource having worked directly with party and election officials in states to remove local obstacles to becoming a Precinct Committeeman. He is GOP Chair for the AD49 GOP Central Committee, a member of the Los Angeles County GOP Central Committee and a member of the LA GOP Technology Committee. Robinson worked as New Media Director for the John Colbert campaign for US Congress. He is an expert in social media and internet security and an outspoken advocate of precinct committee work, GOTV work, and transparency in party governance.

3 COMMENTS

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Having just written a rare (for me) dispatch that included absolutely no links whatsoever, I feel like an apostate, a heretic, and a lazy-butt to boot. Bookmarked for careful study before my next UP endeavor. Thank you so much for shedding light on the seamy underbelly of SEO.

  1. Having just written a rare (for me) dispatch that included absolutely no links whatsoever, I feel like an apostate, a heretic, and a lazy-butt to boot. Bookmarked for careful study before my next UP endeavor. Thank you so much for shedding light on the seamy underbelly of SEO.

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