Any time you write content for the Internet, you want to attract readers. But there’s a lot of competition for readership. The magic words for success are “Search Engine Optimization, ” SEO. Adding appropriate links to text is an important part of that process.
SEO simply means that you succeed in writing content that will rank high in search engine results. Let’s face it, if a result isn’t on the first page of returns from an Internet search, it’s not likely to receive any clicks.
Most of what is written about SEO involves keywords and key phrases. It is critical to find these combinations of words that people are searching for and provide them in your content.
Why use links?
Another important part of good search engine optimization is to use links, and to use good ones. Google, in particular, gives text with links in it, and which has links to it, a higher score, up to a point. You don’t want to have a lot more links going out than there are coming in. An author will only have limited control over the number of links which point to his or her content. But an author can choose to add one or more links of value. A few links are good, but avoid simply listing dozens of links.
What is a valuable link?
Link to pages that have high value. Don’t create a link to a page that’s just a bunch of other links (sometimes called a link farm). So even if you’ve found a list of links on a topic, linking to it can hurt your content. Choose one or two important single sites and link to them.
Link to pages that aren’t likely to change. Dead links will hurt rankings. If you link to a sales page for a specific item, realize that it may change if the site alters its file structure, or go dead if the item is discontinued. It may be better to link “higher” on a site, rather than to a specific item. For example: link to http://www.greatstuff.com/pillows, rather than to to http://www.greatstuff.com/pillows/decorative/suede/tuscany001.htm. This might be especially important on a site like Shared Reviews where you may not be able to edit your content in the future.
Links to other articles or reviews you have written on Shared Reviews are always good, if the linked content is relevant.
Link to pages that may offer more detailed information than you want to cover in your article. For example, right here I am going to link to a page called Google Ranking Factors, with lots more about how Google chooses which content to reward with a high rank.
Link to sources that you may have quoted or even rephrased content from. This is similar to citing sources for a research paper. Give credit to sites, particularly if there is detailed technical, scientific, or academic content that is obvious you would not have understood from your own knowledge.
What does a good link look like?
A good link has anchor text that is an important word or phrase. The anchor text is the word(s) that you actually click on. It may be underlined or appear in a different color, although it can be coded to look just like the other text. In any case the little hand will appear when you hover over it, so you know that it’s clickable.
It’s very important to use quality anchor text. We’ve all seen links that say “for more info click here.” That’s BAD- just about the worst! It has almost no value at all. This example is slightly better: Buy this book on Amazon. At least you’ve used a meaningful word as the anchor text. But you can buy thousands of things on Amazon, and that’s probably not what your article or review is about.
The best anchor text consists of a keyword or phrase, or a product name. For example, if I wanted you to look at my book, I should use: Buy North Country Cache, not: Buy my book here. Be descriptive, rather than generic.
How to code a link?
The answer to this depends on what kind of environment you are using.
On Shared Reviews, you need to use their content creation interface. To do this, type the anchor text, then highlight it. Now you can click the little icon button that looks like a chain link. A popup box will open. Put the URL (the http://www.whateveritis.biz) in the top field. You can leave the bottom field empty, but this is another chance to create a quality link. If you add a keyword or phrase here it gives search engines one more thing to find.
On forums, a kind of shorthand is used that is similar to HTML code. It’s often called BBcode (for bulletin board code). Sometimes there will be a method similar to the one on Shared Reviews, but sometimes you’ll need to use BBcode. It’s easy to use. Here’s how a link should look [url=http://www.whateveritis.biz]Whatever It Is[/url]. See more BBcode.
When coding a web site, you would use full HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), which is only a little more complicated than BBcode. Here’s how to code a link in HTML.
Whatever It Is
One of these three methods will get you through the mechanics of almost all link-creating situations.
Good, descriptive links to valid web sites not only add value, but they can help your content to be ranked higher by search engines. Any time it’s appropriate, don’t hesitate to use a few links when you write reviews or articles for Shared Reviews, or anywhere.