The Fine Art of “Link Love:” A Lesson in Pimping Rides and Boosting Rankings

Link ChainSince my last post broached “Twettiquette” and the process for retweeting and the Twitterverse received the content so warmly, this week I’ll address the fine art of linking. Y’know – those underlined words on websites and blog posts that lead to other websites or related content.

There are ways of hyperlinking text that pulls more weight across the interwebz and with the search engine spiders than others. We’ll talk about what they are and the whatzits and whozits behind the search engine madness. If I were you, I’d grab a bloody mary – this is a fun ride, but one best taken well-lubricated! ;-)

What the Hell is a Hyperlink?

So glad you asked! A hyperlink is a set of words on a web page that, when clicked, lead to another web page. Absolutely fascinating. Riveting, even! All of the following are hyperlinked text:

http://www.whostalkin.com

Search social media at WhosTalkin

One is an obvious web address (a straight URL), but the other…well, the other is a bit more stealth in its approach. It’s called anchor text, and it’s pretty gosh durn important in the world of search engines and page rank. <fill up bloody mary now>

When you write content for the web, whether a blog, e-magazine article or a web page, you can make your visitor’s experience much more interactive by using linked text. You can also do good service for the sites you’re linking to by following a few simple guidelines:
When linking to articles, hyperlink the title of the article and don’t take the lazy way out. For example, don’t write:

Click HERE to view the article.

Instead, write:

PR Squared’s article 10 Rules of Marketing on User Review Sites

Now, mouse-over that article title above. You’re going to see the full title of the article as well as the name of the blog it came from. Most blogging platforms allow you to enter the URL and then also give the link a TITLE. This title is important as it tells readers where the link will take them and lets search engines know that you’re not doing a bait-n-switch between anchor text and linked content.
Open your links in a new window. Nothing irritates me more (and I know others have differing opinions) than reading a great blog or article and clicking on a link…and being taken completely away from the page I was reading! ARGH! This is easily accomplished by choosing the “target” for your link. When using a WYSIWYG editor, choose “open link in new window” or assign the target to <target=”_blank”>.

Hold one moment – fill that bloody mary back up. I have to call my mom and let her know I’m officially a geek.
How Anchor Text Helps Search Engines

Remember those two examples of hyperlinked text above? Well, hyperlinking actual words in a sentence that are key (keywords!) to communicating your message – that’s something the search engines love. Businesses spend days revamping copy for their websites that’s filled with relevant keywords to their product and company, all for the benefit of search engines, web rankings and traffic. You can aid in that goal by using anchor text in your links.

Which example will lend better search engine results:

Read more about using your retirement funds to purchase real estate here.

or

Read this article series about using a self-directed or real estate IRA to purchase real estate.

Naturally, the second one. Linking in that manner will also help the site to which you’re linking as you used relevant keywords to lead readers to their site – always a bonus in the eyes of the search engines.

Have any other “best practices” tips on linking out there in cyberspace? Leave us a comment and let the world know how you get readers from point A to point B!

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