There’s so much to learn if you want to make money online but I think there are two things that should take priority. One, every blogger should understand keywords – what they are and how they’re used, and how they influence your traffic. And two, every blogger should understand links – what they are, how they’re used, and how they affect your blog. Today, let’s focus on some basic, frequently asked questions about links. We’ll leave keywords for another post.
What are links?
Links are pathways that lead from one online location to another. With the click of a mouse you can travel from site to site to site, all over the Web. But don’t worry. You’ll never really come to the last page of the Internet.
Are there different types of links?
There are three types of links: Inbound links, or backlinks as they’re sometimes called, lead from other websites to yours. Outbound links lead from you blog to other sites on the Web. Internal links lead your visitors from one page to another within your own site.
What do links do for your blog?
Incoming links carry a lot of weight with the search engines, and some are more valuable than others. Links coming from pages that carry content that’s highly relevant to the content on your page are valuable, as are links that come from higher ranking blogs. The quantity of incoming links you have is important, but higher-quality links are more valuable, as are links built on keyword-rich anchor text. The search engines monitor the quantity and quality of your incoming links and use that information to determine your page rank.
Internal links help lead your readers to more relevant content within your own site. As a result, the reader spends more time on your blog and he has a better search experience. When the search engines see that visitors are getting value from your site this also helps with your rankings.
Outbound links also help lead your reader to more relevant content which provides additional value for the reader. The courts are still out, but there’s some evidence that indicates outbound links may also help with your rankings simply because you’re providing additional value for the reader.
Are all links “Good” links?
It’s true that the search engines evaluate your site based on you incoming links, but they also realize that you have no control over who links out to your blog. Links coming from high-quality reputable sites carry a lot of value, but links coming from a poor quality site, or a site that’s completely irrelevant, are not held against you. On the other hand, if those links are purchased or developed through some type of linking scheme, you’ll be jeopardizing your ranking.
When you link out to other sites you need to be choosy. Linking to sites that are under a penalty or ban can drastically lower your ranking. Linking to irrelevant content can also harm your site. Always be careful to only send your readers to high-quality, trustworthy sites and link to relevant content, not just the homepage.
Can outbound links drain your page rank?
The idea that outbound links carry a portion of your page rank to the other blog is a misconception. When you link to another blog the search engines view it as a sign that you trust that other site, like a recommendation. The search engines then reward that other site by increasing it’s rank. They do not “take something” from your blog and “give” it to the other blog.
So no, too many outbound links will not drain away your page rank. On the contrary. If you’re linking to high-quality relevant content you’re actually helping your own ranking, too, because you’re providing more value for your own readers.