Linking Makes the Web Go 'Round*This is a guest post by Will Harrison but it perfectly describes this blog attitude: LINK OUT GENEROUSLY*

Because this is a guest post, and although I do SEO work similar to Ann Smarty, all I ask is that if you find this article, contact her if you need SEO help. I just landed a job with a major company and I do not need any more clients at this point in time. I have linked to my website to provide information to those who thirst for knowledge, not to compete with Ann.

The beauty of this country is that people are free to believe and think whatever they want. If you don’t like someone’s advice, you have every right to ignore it completely regardless of if it is valuable and helpful. As an American or Canadian, you are allowed to be a free thinker and decide for yourself when you see, read, or hear something that is of value.

For those of you that are here reading this page with an open mind, you will likely learn something valuable and useful and for those of you that have your mind made up already, you can move on to reading some of those useless search engine optimization blogs out there.

You probably have already read countless blogs and articles about search engine optimization and found that one thing that significantly contributes to the direct success of search engine results is linking. Linking is what makes the Internet go ’round. I don’t want to get too in depth into what Google PageRank is all about in this article, but essentially PageRank is Google’s stock value of a website and part of how that value is determined is the quality of the links to that website. Although a website and a blog are completely different in my opinion for the purpose of this article, they are one in the same.

There are two types of linking, internal and external. Both are equally important to the success of a website. If an end user cannot navigate internally around your website easily, they will get frustrated and likely leave. If you direct them to other useful information on other websites, they will likely return to yours to find more helpful information.

How do you build links? What’s the best way to improve PageRank and increase linking to my website?

You have probably read that if you create good content the links will come, that’s partly true and partly untrue. There is tons of websites out there that have excellent content but nobody is linking to it. It is buried under thousands of Google search results and will likely never be found. Part of getting good content recognized is through networking. If you say to a few people, “HEY! LOOK AT THIS!”, and they read it and like it, they will hopefully: PASS IT ON. If you are the kind of person who is constantly screaming, “HEY! LOOK AT THIS!”, then you may likely be ignored like the boy who cried wolf.

Part of getting links to your website is by giving links out to other websites. As you see, I used the anchor text “the boy who cried wolf” to link to the story about the boy who kept crying out to get attention, only to finally be ignored when he actually had something important to say. I have written several hundred articles and pages of information over the last year and think my TOP 10 articles are the only ones I would want to constantly promote or have people link to.

I now have more than five years in the SEO industry and have found that getting quality websites with good PageRank to link to your content can be nearly impossible at times. I have tried to network with webmaster, after webmaster, after webmaster, only to be shot down continuously. It can be extremely discouraging knowing that many people that own websites are link hogs and suffering from PageRank greed. The first rule in life is: NEVER GIVE UP. At some point, someone will grant you an opportunity to network with them, and carpe diem. Networking with competitors and people in your line of work can go much farther than succumbing to PageRank greed and being a link hog.

There is a  faux phenomenon known as “leaking PageRank” is an urban legend. Websites do not leak Page Rank, I don’t care what you have read or where you have read it, it simply is untrue. You do not lose PR because you link to another website. In fact, I have done some experimenting and have found that the opposite is true. If you wrote an article and linked to 5 web pages that each had a Page Rank of 7 of more, you would likely get a small fraction of that Page Rank returned to your page for linking to high quality sites even if you had no incoming links. Linking to pages with Page Ranks of 4 of more can be beneficial to you because you are letting Google know that you are linking to quality websites.

Linking is essential to the success of a website. However, playing fair and following Google’s “Rules of the Road” is more important than the links themselves. Matt Cutts states on his blog, “–the best links are earned and given by choice.” Google’s webmaster guidelines states, “Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank.” It is made clear on how NOT to get links, but very few webmasters are able to find people to link to them, because they fail to network.

Hey, if you read and  like this article, link to it. Link to it to help people realize what a great site SEO Smarty is and to provide people with more information. Information is the key to success in life, not money. Don’t link to it because I asked you to, link to it because you found value in the information in it just like I linked to the various websites that contained other useful information for the readers. Who knows, you might even get some Page Rank back in return, right?

Post image by by P/\UL

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  1. Interesting article and certainly seems to back up my experience re giving outward facing links from my site, certainly to authority sites – you are also saying to visitors “if you want more information we recommend that you visit this site” and I personally think that people remember that you sent them to a good site for the information.

  2. Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny says:

    As a new blogger, I’ve struggled with the idea of referring people to other people’s blogs hoping that they’ll come back to my blog again.

    I think it works. Even if the new blog I visit has excellent info, I still go back to the original blog to see what other useful places they can refer to.

    It seems to work. Zemanta is a new plug-in I’ve just started experimenting with. I find related posts to link out to. I choose relevant posts to link my post to – I notice their page rank, but that isn’t the deciding factor.

    Thanks for making the leaking page rank issue clear. I prefer to think of it this way – the other way doesn’t make sense.

  3. Hal Brown says:

    This is the kind of information I can use, and pass on. I see this “leaking juice…” thing constantly. SEO must be one of the most misunderstood aspects of blogging, or for that matter ranking any sort of website.

  4. Yes it is indeed important to network and never give up… Thanks for sharing!!

  5. …Gostei, e creio na importância significativa de ler sites e blogs de conteúdo, daí depois “linká-los” afim de re-passar informação e dar valor ao meu trabalho, mui bom!!!…



  6. Web Your Name® says:

    I had to GOOGLE that last comment and learned PORTUGUESE, lol. “I liked it, and I believe the significant importance of reading blogs and content sites, then after “link” them in order to re-pass information and give value to my work, very good!”

    Information and Google are amazing. Thanks again Ann for networking with me.

    -Web Your Name®

  7. I love to link other site, even those site which are in similar niche because I never afraid to do so. I believe me and my content quality and I believe linking to others is a good habit. Nice article Harrison, just shared it on twitter. 🙂

  8. What is the name of Will Harrison”s site?

  9. I have been struggling with link building for some time now. I appreciate the straight forward approach to your post.

  10. Web Your Name® says:

    Thanks Ben!

    I have ‘struggled’ as well, but networking with different people in different places but within a similar niche or industry is what it is all about. Linking to unrelated information is not going to help. Linking apples to car repair will not help your Google rankings, or more importantly your readers. Networking is linking because they are both about being connected.

    Web Your Name®

  11. Peter Sickles says:

    Very true about the fear people have of linking out. I’ve been an SEO for a long time, and IMHO… link to strong, relevant websites and Google will love you.

  12. Internal and External linking with varied anchor text is good for results

  13. “If you wrote an article and linked to 5 web pages that each had a Page Rank of 7 of more, you would likely get a small fraction of that Page Rank returned to your page for linking to high quality sites even if you had no incoming links.”

    This statement is categorically untrue.

    As a side note…Toolbar PageRank is almost entirely useless as a performance metric; however this is a totally different topic altogether.

    I think the first rule to getting good links it to check your sources of information and not write false statements in a blog post. This post revolves around the two aforementioned points, both of which are incorrect.

    My takeaway: Don’t link to crap. And this is crap. Try harder next time.

  14. Thanks for the post. I’m always seeking to improve my link building skills. Great information here.

  15. yes, no links, no fun

  16. I am a massive believer in the notion “in giving we recieve” and this applies to everything that we do. So giving links out makes the same kind of sense as does giving a smile to the person you face.. and they almost always give a huge smile back. OR if you want more money then you have to give it away first. It’s something to do with the law of abundant flow I believe 🙂
    Maybe googles algorythms are set up for giving and recieving too?

  17. Pingback: Develop useful content: links, PR, and traffic will come | Info Carnviore
  18. Web Your Name Marketing says:

    “If you wrote an article and linked to 5 web pages that each had a Page Rank of 7 of more, you would likely get a small fraction of that Page Rank returned to your page for linking to high quality sites even if you had no incoming links.”

    This statement is categorically untrue.

    It is true, and I can prove it Mr. KnowItAll.

  19. Point me to your data set then, or however you think you can prove it. I’d be happy to have a look and show you where you went wrong…!

  20. Web Your Name says:

    “parts of our system encourage links to good sites.” -Matt Cutts

  21. Oh I don’t doubt that linking out to relevant sites is a good thing. If your site sells shoes and you link out to other shoe sites then thats good, but if you linked out to a Viagra site then that’s bad. Just like your quote states. Doing this helps show Google relevance.

    But that doesn’t address my point that PageRank does not flow back from sites you are linking to. Again I invite you to show me some evidence if you think you can proove me wrong!

  22. Web Your Name says:

    Really. I don’t usually like to stomp on someone’s feelings, brag, or fight to the death. But I’ll start with 1) Im not sharing anything that I know other than what I have 2) I have a 150+ IQ and proving “Paul” wrong doesn’t actually mean I can’t. OH WAIT. You are going to want proof that my IQ is over 150 too. Well geez. How bout this. You said my post was “CRAP” and don’t link to “CRAP” so, when this post is a PageRank 5 or 7. PLEASE DON’T LINK TO IT. I don’t want your link. Everyone else can decide for themselves if what I say has VALUE. I have NO INTEREST in proving anything, and just because I have no interest in proving something, doesn’t mean I cannot prove it. Haters gonna hate and speculate, but even us dummies can see the obvious. Thanks again Ann, for allowing me to write this article, because obviously you must have thought it had some value, and that much, I value.

  23. Web Your Name says:

    I also made $1.6 million dollars in sales in LESS than 5 years off my previous company before I gave it to my two former employees, but I suppose you would want proof of that as well. I always keep the data, however you will never be priviledged enough to see any of it. The IRS has the proof that I am like Abe Lincoln and tell no lies. No go troll somewhere else.

  24. Haha you are one sad strange little man.

    I could say that I could fly and that my left hand is made from solid gold, but as these claims are unfounded, noone is going to believe them until I offer some sort of evidence.

    The same goes for your unfounded claim!

    If anything, and least you and your ramblings make me laugh!

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