If you’ve been paying attention to advice from web gurus, you know that linking for SEO is important. The experts say your blog posts should include both internal and external links. In addition, you should be commenting and posting in other places that will provide back-links to your own website.
Linking for SEO within your own site should be simple…
You simply take your visitors on to another page to get more information on the topic. Do be careful, however. Make sure that those links actually do add something to the topic.
If that’s not possible because you don’t have additional content on that topic, explain why you’re sending your visitor to another page. Think of something related and preface the link with something like “If you’re also interested in _______, click here to read _____.”
When linking for SEO it is important to let visitors know where you’re sending them, and why.
More and more, people are hesitant to be sent off to some unknown location. In fact, studies are showing that if they don’t know where that link should lead, they’ll skip it.
And no wonder… so many of those links that seem to promise one thing offer something entirely different. Just this week I was doing some research about Airbnb and found three text links in one article that failed to deliver. They were only a waste of time, but I’m kind of fond of my time. I don’t enjoy wasting it.
If you’re linking for SEO – deliver on your promises. To do otherwise will damage your credibility.
Linking for SEO means adding external links, and that’s not always as easy.
You don’t really want to distract from your own message and send people away, and it takes a little time to come up with a link that complements and strengthens your own message. One easy solution is to choose an article from a news or magazine website.
And therein lies a problem.
You and I are (hopefully) writing blog posts and adding to our sites regularly, and our old posts are hanging around indefinitely. It’s always surprising to me, but people do find and read those old posts. I’ve received comments on Active Rain posts from several years ago, and agents report getting listings due to something they wrote in a years-old blog post.
News and magazine articles don’t stay around that long. When you link to them, you run the risk of leading your own visitors astray.
I’ve clicked on links from old posts expecting to find the information promised and been startled to find something else entirely. Most recently, what I found was a long list of post titles, with the one I wanted nowhere on the page.
It would be easy to find and fix if the links just showed up as broken, but they don’t. Instead, they lead to some other unrelated post or page on the same site.
While I’ve already found some of these errors, right now I’m thinking that I really should go back over all of my old blog posts to check for this. That is NOT a happy thought. Between Active Rain and this blog, I have more than 2,200 posts.
But I think it’s important. Wasting people’s time will damage their trust in you. If it happens often enough, it can result in fewer and fewer people visiting your posts.
Even a recent link can go wrong if you aren’t careful.
If you have a WordPress or Active Rain site, you know that the first click to get you to your blog will bring you to a page with a long list of blog post titles.
If you want people to see the post at the top of that page, you can safely link to the whole page, but don’t! It will only work until you add another post. Then the first post will move down until one day it is no longer on that page at all.
If you want someone to read one specific post, click on that title and bring up just that one post. Then copy the URL to share.
The same is true for posts on other sites. Even though it might not be obvious at first glance, the post you want to share may be something like “today’s headline” and thus will disappear tomorrow.
One easy solution: link to another site that you own.
You might have one primary site that hosts your blog, plus a few secondary sites that promote your niche or offer information on some specific communities. Link to specific pages on those sites that add information to your blog post. If you have an Active Rain blog, link to something relevant that you’ve posted there.
Broken links harm your credibility…
So be sure to check your links after you finish writing your post. Mistakes DO happen! (I know this for a fact, because they happen to me.)
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“SEO isn’t about gaming the system anymore; it’s about learning how to play by the rules.”
“If content is king, then links are queen. Build a network of quality backlinks.”
Linking for SEO includes back linking as well.
It would be wonderful if other people just naturally linked to your posts and pages, but it’s best not to depend on that. Instead, put some effort into posting and commenting on relevant sites.
Think of Active Rain, and LinkedIn for posting. Then comment on your franchise site, community sites, other agent’s sites, mortgage lender sites, stager sites, home inspector sites, or even credit advice sites. As long as the blog topics relate back to your own career, and you can add to the conversation, it’s a good choice.
Some of those people might be willing to accept a guest post from you as well. Talk to them. If they say yes, write a post that would fit nicely with the posts they write.
The operative word is “relevant.”
From what I’ve read, Google frowns severely on people who create back links from totally unrelated sites. If you’re commenting in order to create links back to your site, comment on blog posts that are relevant to your business. Then, If you’re linking for SEO, make sure your comments make good sense in light of the post topic.
That means (drum roll here for a few people I see on Active Rain) READ the post before you comment. Never read the title, assume you know what the writer is going to say, and write your comment. You could be embarrassingly far off the mark.
I enjoy reading the comments as well as the posts on Active Rain, and I see puzzling comments all the time. I also see “robo comments,” but that’s a whole other story.
Sometimes I receive comments on my own posts that say something like “Good luck with that closing” or “Hope you get the listing.” Um… I’m not a REALTOR® any more, so I don’t have closings or get listings. If they’d read the post or even my signature line, they’d know that.
Linking for SEO can/should encompass linking for recognition and reputation building.
You want people to think highly of you. Therefore, it only makes sense to take time to leave a thoughtful comment. If it’s possible to add something to the discussion, do it! You never know when something you’ve said in a comment will lead to a referral or a new client contact.
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Chain Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Road closed Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Focus and broken link images courtesy of stuart miles @ freedigitalphotos.net