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Link Love vs. Link Bait

Sharon Housley -- Incoming links are critical to achieving Internet popularity and search engine ranking. Developing a link strategy can improve search engine results, thereby translating into increased traffic and business.

As a Web master, it is important to develop a link strategy. Unless you have a massive brand with a reputation and following, it is unlikely that the masses will simply saturate your site with deep links.

What are deep links? Simply put, deep links are direct links to various sub-pages on a Web site (example: domain.com/subpage.htm).

Search engines value Web sites that have numerous incoming links spread over a large number of pages within a domain. In other words, a Web site that has large number of incoming links to various pages within the Web site will generally rank better than a Web site that only has links to a single page.

Incoming links are critical to achieving Internet popularity and search engine ranking. There are two popular ways to achieve a massive amount of incoming links, Link Bait and Link Love.

What is Link Love?

Link Love is all about quality. In order to achieve Link Love you must establish authority and credibility. Link Love is all about being a reputable source, and often recipients of link love are the first to post breaking news that is vetted and accurate. Bloggers, Web masters, and publishers reward sources they genuinely enjoy with link love.

Link Bait is often considered the evil step-sister of Link Love.

What is Link Bait?

Link Bait is a hook. It is unique or even controversial content. Common sources of Link Bait include humorous items, accusations, controversy, or even implications. Link Bait is similar to "shock and awe"; people cannot help but link because they are so intrigued (for good or bad). Link Bait often walks the line between acceptable and unacceptable.

Both Link Bait and Link Love generally result in numerous deep links, as bloggers tend to link to directly to specific articles or issues that are raised.

Not all of us are feeling the Link Love and many are not gutsy enough to use Link Bait with jaw-dropping headlines, so what are some simple ways to garner deep links?

Give Aways

Everyone loves "free". Determine what is of value to your Web site visitors and figure out how you can provide it free of charge. "Free" could be anything: an online calculator; a glossary of industry terms; software; information; statistics; or Web space. It is best that the free item relate to the content on the Web site.

Be Different

Do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Being different or unique attracts attention and links. Step outside the box, be innovative and different with your design, product, or service.

Contribute

Often non-profits will provide links to companies that have assisted them. Contributions do not necessarily need to be financial; they can be in the form of free services or products.

Befriend Industry Authorities

Get to know the bloggers and journalists in your space, provide them quality content, previews of releases, or other industry information that would be of interest to their readers. Nothing beats quality information.

Participate

Participate in industry forums and newsgroups. Post constructive well formed posts and link back to your Web site's sub-pages on your site as part of your signature.

Regardless of whether you use Link Love or Link Bait, develop a plan to solicit deep links throughout your Web site; use these tips to improve the quality and quantity of your incoming links.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll, software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds, and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage, a wireless text messaging software company.

© 2007 Sharon Housley

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