Linking Mistakes Frequently Encountered On Blogs

Broken ChainWhen reading other people’s blogs, you can encounter a multitude of linking problems that thousands of bloggers are making, either when linking to people within their own posts, or when they are commenting.

Linking to Top Level Domains Rather Than Posts

There are multiple benefits for both you and the blog or website you link to if you use deep linking to related content using search engine friendly links, especially for blogs using some method to remove nofollow.

  • Anchor Text – If you are linking to good information, you want other people to be able to find it – using a search engine friendly link helps the search engines understand what the content you are linking to is about.
  • Related Content – Links between related high quality content are the best form of links for search engine optimization, and for your own readers.
  • Use trackback when you link – that provides a clear notification to another blog owner that you are joining in the conversation with them, often with an email notification
  • Links Equals Traffic – most blog themes display trackbacks
  • Links Equals Juice – on blogs using various forms of dofollow it creates a backlink with your choice of anchor text, which is great for SEO. Reciprocal links between related content are still extremely valuable
  • Karma – give other people the kind of quality links you would like to receive – if the link is buried among 20 other links in a list it is almost worthless. If the link is a star in a 10 x 10 grid like a certain meme that is floating around, IT IS USELESS

You will notice that I also use this to my advantage for internal linking, and I even leave trackback for my own posts on rather than using a plugin to switch it off. It is all great related linking, though it helps to have your trackbacks displayed below the comment box to stop things becoming messy.

Note: I am not saying the occasional link to a top level domain is a bad thing, but even then it is good to use some suitable anchor text.
I frequently see things like “Andy Beard wrote a great post on XYZ” and the link would be with my name to the home page. That link might be useful for a couple of days, but then the blog post will be buried in my archives. Permalinks on blogs are there for a reason… use them!

Using A Link From Google Search Results

I always know when someone has made a rushed effort in compiling a collection of links about a subject. Almost always what they have done is performed a search in Google, and rather than clicking through on a link before copying it, they just copy and paste from the Google search results… a huge mistake

I see it all the time, and it is so painfully obvious by how ugly the links look that it is a redirect, I can’t understand how these slip through.

Here is a normal link to my review of PayPerPost Direct

http://andybeard.eu/2007/05/payperpost-direct-review.html

Here is a link to the exact same article from the Google Search Engine Results

Yes Google are tracking every click within their search results, and so do most search engines. They want to know which results you found interesting.

Tracking Links From Within Feedburner

If you pay for their total stats package, their tracking links are supposed to offer a redirect that search engines can understand, unfortunately, any such link won’t issue a trackback, and won’t register in Technorati.

Multiple times I have seen some of the top blogging and SEO experts use FeedBurner redirect links by accident. In fact because they are more likely to be using a feed reader, they are also more likely to make this mistake than newer bloggers.

Tracking Links From Alexa

I am literally mourning the people who are using Alexa redirects in an attempt to increase their Alexa ratings.

It is believed by many people that using an Alexa redirect to link to your site from various places will improve your Alexa rating. I haven’t tested it, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t but there is absolutely no logical reason to be using Alexa redirects for links which could otherwise be passing some useful link juice.

I have seen people use Alexa redirect links:-

  • On their MyBlogLog Profile
  • In comments on Dofollow blogs
  • For their own internal linking

Seriously, that isn’t a very good idea.
It is fair enough sticking an Alexa badge on your site, or encouraging your users to use useful Firefox plugins such as Search Status which now includes Compete reporting as well.

If you really want to experiment with it, you can use them for comments on other blogs, but then that messes up your tracking data, and knowing where you get good traffic from is highly important.

Note: I do realise Alexa use a 301 Redirect, so in theory the links will pass juice, there is no knowing if the redirect will remain the same link in the future, or if a 301 passes all ranking factors – it is certainly an ugly URL I wouldn’t want to click in places like MyBlogLog or on forums.

Copying A Link From a Comment

I see this one time and time again, and it really sickens me.

Someone posts a great link to related content in a comment, and the author of the post decides to move the item into the main post, or write a new blog post including the link and comment.

Unfortunately the links in their blog in the comments contain nofollow, and the blogging software they use grabs the HTML selected, including the nofollow attribute.

Result… a dead link, totally worthless.

Blogger Profiles

Which page would you like to rank highly in the search engines?

  • Your Blogger Profile
  • The Pages Of Your Blog

This isn’t a trick question

Unless you have no choice, always use the alternate URL choice when commenting on Blogger blogs, especially on the blogs that have removed nofollow.

Yes it is more complicated and slightly more time consuming, but what is the point of a junk comment link to your Blogger profile.

Even on a blog with nofollow, a comment link is still a link back to your blog, where you want the traffic to go. You can also use a deep link to a particular blog post, and sign your name with appropriate anchor text which wouldn’t be looked on as spammy, especially if you wrote a very good comment, that was related.

As an example I might link to this article using “Andy Beard on Linking Mistakes” or “Andy Beard on SEO Friendly Links”

That kind of link, especially if they know it is to good information, invites people to click and isn’t going to be looked on as spammy if you gave good information.

I quite often delete comments such as

I wrote about it here, this is my link
www.spammy-link-soon-to-be-deleted.com/reallypoorarticle.htm

Give People Good Links

The more times you give people good quality links, with good anchor text, the more times you will get the same high quality links in return.
Sometimes it only takes a couple of high quality links for a particular page to rise to the top of the search results for the phrase used in the anchor text.

As an example I have seen massive improvements for the charity I chose to help in the Charity link meme, which was at the bottom of the 2nd page of results for Polish Charity, and is now in 3rd place, on the 1st page of results in Google.

Picture Credit:Broken Chain

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Comments

  1. says

    It’s so easy to take the short cut that it is easy to give in to temptation. I think I have tried every short cut possible in my day.

    But, it’s not what works. Pure and simple.

    It’s about developing an abundance mentality and realising there is enough to go around.

  2. says

    I know exactly what you mean, Andy. The one thing I learnt was, always preview your post before submitting, and try clicking all the links that you provide in the post to see that it’s working and not dead. Otherwise it will give a bad impression on people reading the post

  3. says

    I tried the Alexa redirect thing for a month and it does not work. I even did the “bad” thing of making an invisible iframe on my website that loaded a page via an Alexa redirect. No change.

    Using the redirect only lowers the amount of link juice you can get. It also makes you look low rent.

  4. says

    I have to agree with just about everything you said. Sometimes, for reasons other than laziness, I don’t maximize the kind of link I give, as in the case when I have to choose between the amount of traffic a site will get from being linked, and the long term value. In that case, I’d rather make up for it the next time and give the best of both worlds.

    in general though, it’s the basic rule of thumb – give the kind of link you’d like back. Sometimes the other person’s title is absolutely the wrong group of words to use – which is also why I believe the title/headline of a post requires a lot of thought.

  5. says

    Andy, what’s worse about using the Google redirect URL is that they are doing the redirect via a 302 Found, instead of using the 301.

    HTTP/1.1 302 Found
    Cache-Control: private
    Location: http://andybeard.eu/2007/05/payperpost-direct-review.html
    Set-Cookie: PREF=ID=a16edb3887e04d02: TM=1180812180:LM=1180812180:S=bQz48Rl5rKWf7Ixg; expires=Sun, 17-Jan-2038 19:14:07 GMT; path=/; domain=.google.com
    Content-Type: text/html
    Server: GWS/2.1
    Content-Length: 254
    Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2007 19:23:00 GMT

    I know, they claim they have fixed the 302 Hijack issue, but what would be the point of doing it the way that they are? If it’s not a Permanent Redirect then what, are they planning on changing where that particular URL points to in the future…?

    • says

      I think it is also part of their Malware protection so yes for some sites the redirect isn’t direct and could change.

      In the SEO field there are certainly holes in my experience so I am not going to attempt to question the logic of this.

      It is much more interesting challenging the status quo on things like supplemental results and duplicate content ;)

  6. says

    Excellent post and points out that everyone trying to game various rankings is close to pointless. Do quality links with your niche and they usually come back to at some time. Quality comments will help obtain good links. Slow and steady builds a solid foundation. Enjoyed reading this one Andy

  7. says

    Andy, thanks for the good information. I have read a couple of your articles and found them to be informational and easy to read.

    I have had my blog for almost a year, but only in the last few weeks have I started to blog more seriously. The information that you give is very helpful in getting my blog started.

    I have subscribed to your blog, and look forward to future posts.

  8. says

    Excellent post!

    I was skeptical about the Alexa Redirect I used it for a few days when commenting on a few other blogs and I found that my numbers slowed down considerably so I stopped using it.

    I’ve blogged for a little over two years and, like Thomas, I only have I started taking my blog seriously.

    I’m really enjoying your website.

  9. says

    I enjoy the tips you’ve provided here. Link building is definitely key to getting more readers and traffic to your blog.

    I’ve been blogging for quite some time now, but just recently became obsessed with my page rank and creating backlinks to my blog. However, I’ve realized that in obsessing over links, my writing has suffered….so, I’m working on a happy medium ;)

  10. says

    The article is very interesting, congratulations. Good tips. However, it calls my attention the use of Google search results links, even when I don’t agree with the fact of “using them”, it’s very interesting to know more about the topic. Tell me, have you made any experiment to see its importance?

  11. says

    I’ve come across quite a few links using an Alexa redirect and wondered if it was of any benefit. I’ve not tried myself, and wasn’t about to. Good of you to write about it here.

    I’ve learnt a lot over the past few weeks about deep-linking and appreciate your posts a great deal. Cheers Andy.

  12. says

    One nice thing about your blog is that in the comments you actually offer the ability to give out a HTML link. I don’t see this on a lot of blogs, few and far between.

    What do you suggest we do when we want to add a link to a comments section of a blog that doesn’t allow HTML?

    Are we stuck with this option?
    I wrote about it here, this is my link
    http://www.spammy-link-soon-to-be-deleted.com/reallypoorarticle.htm

    Or do we just go for the HTML link and hope it works? It’s nice when the blog offers a preview post version before you actually post your comment so you can test it, but not all blogs incorporate that either.

    • says

      Most people I know who publish a comments policy have nothing wrong with using an HTML link, and they work on most platforms.

      One of the reasons they work is because long hyperlinks can look very ugly.

      If you are allowing link, they might as well have nice looking anchor text.

      That being said, I delete comments that I deem to be overly promotional without “selling” me a reason why they are dropping the link.

      Whether buttons are displayed or not, you can still type the HTML for the link manually.

      You can even write after such a link (anchor text to preserve formatting) or something similar to add extra justification, especially for long links.

  13. says

    I experimented around with Alexa redirects for a few weeks and even saw a teensy bump in my ranking there but eventually gave up on it. Sadly, I was using those redirects in blog comments & email footers… ::: Hangs head in shame :::

    Really, I came to wonder if Alexa ranking isn’t kinda like infomercials hawking “collectable” Nascar plates – what makes them “collectable” is that someone declared them to be so.

    In other words, how much good does Alexa ranking do you anyway – or is it just some kind of a weak self-propagating hoax where we believe Alexa-originated hits to be important because, well, Alexa says they are? And since so many other bloggers have bought into the it, well, it must be true.

    I’d much rather employ deep-linking techniques – both in comments on others’ blogs and in my own posts. This can really breath a little new life back into some older posts that never seemed to get the exposure I’d orginally hoped for.

  14. Burke Jones says

    Thanks for the great tips. I will keep them in mind as I link to sites from my [Junk Spammy Squeeze page which breaks the comment policy] – I also just subscribed to your feed. Keep up the good work!

  15. says

    One of the big link mistakes many make is not having their post title in a link, even on the single post view.

    1. It’s a quick grab with a link copying utility like Firefox’s CoLT (Copy Link) Extension to grab the link of the post title and paste it in your blog post for fast referencing.
    2. If the page is saved to the computer, it now has a permanent URL to get back to the original online version through the post title.
    3. If the page doesn’t load right, refresh would work, but sometimes clicking the post title reloads it nice and lovely.

    Oh, there’s more, but for those of us power bloggers, grabbing the post title off a multi-post view or single post view for copy and paste into our blog posts takes the tediousness out of writing out the link or putting it into a button/popup window, it’s the most important reason. Let nothing get in the way of us blogging about your blog post. ;-)

    • says

      Lorelle I will get that fixed, even if it is just for you – your links are golden.

      I do have the links available near the bottom of the pages in various easy to use forms, but not the post title on single pages.

  16. says

    Andy, thanks for writing this. These are great tips and I couldn’t agree more. Your blog has some great info – you just got yourself another subscriber. Take care.

  17. says

    I generally link to the top of a blog if I am discussing the blog in general but try to link to the article if I am linking the article. I usually try to use some sort of meaningful anchor text. (There are times I don’t do so. For example, if I want to link 10 people who discussed something so readers can find that, I might just say something like “many bloggers are discussing ‘x’ (1,2,3…)” with the number as anchor text.

    I did this long before I learned of SEO. I tend to give proper links as a favor to readers.

    Admittedly, in the cases where I linked a blogger in a series of ‘1,2,3…’, the blogger might wish I’d given them better anchor text, but the alternatives are to impede the flow of the text or to give out no links at all. I think my readers are likely to want to read the links and the bloggers would probably prefer the link with bad anchor text to no link, so I do sometimes do that.

    I also nofollow some links in posts; some web sites and blogs deserve that. :)

  18. says

    What I don’t understand is why people use those horrible Google search generated links. I mean, I know why they do it, they’re in a rush, just as you said, but still, there’s so much to gain from actually going to the page and reading it! I like to create link posts about once a week to articles I found and think my readers might find interesting. You don’t just slap a link in a post and hit publish. Why do you like it? Why do you recommend others read it? How has this linked article affected you? It helps readers gain trust and see the value in what you do if you explain things. Also, another good reason to click through, two words: Trackback. Ok, only 1 word, but sounds like 2 ;)

  19. says

    I have seen a lot of people link to the Feedburner redirect links for not wanting to click away from their feed reader to grab the actual post URL especially when the post in the feed doesn’t have a Permalink in it.

    However, it is surprisingly easy to turn off Feedburner Redirects. Andy, I see you have that turned off but there are still a lot of bloggers who haven’t made it easy for others to link to them.

  20. says

    Great post! I was hunting for references to help educate a client about the importance of her linking structure and this article had 9/10ths of what I was hoping to find for her.

    Definitely adding you to the feed reader. :)

  21. says

    I must say I agree with everything you said in pretty much every single way. I guess it is really bad when you don’t bother to actually go forward and get the most you can out of a link. You could get traffic and a lot of long term benefits. But for some reason it just clicks in with laziness and you don’t bother to fix it at all even though you know you should.

    I also think it is best to give people the best link possible because what you give them will come back to you so if you want a good link you darn well better give them a good one. It is best to give a good title and message as that will help you the most and will give you the best return result. Take the lazy mindset out of your game and you’ll be soaring.

  22. says

    It’s so accessible to booty the abbreviate cut that it is accessible to accord in to temptation. I anticipate I accept approved every abbreviate cut accessible in my day.

    But, it’s not what works. Pure and simple.

    It’s about developing an affluence mentality and realising there is abundant to go around.

  23. says

    Linking to comments:

    I'm sure if I follow you exactly here.

    What I'm doing at the moment is citing comments from another post by the link to the comment.

    I plan on maintaining these links using Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin, delinking them if they disappear. (Or just removing the citation.)

  24. says

    The problem is that on most blogs a link left in a comment, or even the default website link when filling out a form has a nofollow, and people copy the whole html, including rel=”nofollow”

  25. says

    Linking to comments:

    I'm not sure if I follow you exactly here.

    What I'm doing at the moment is citing comments from another post by the link to the comment.

    I plan on maintaining these links using Broken Link Checker WordPress plugin, delinking them if they disappear. (Or just removing the citation.)

  26. says

    The problem is that on most blogs a link left in a comment, or even the default website link when filling out a form has a nofollow, and people copy the whole html, including rel=”nofollow”

Trackbacks

  1. Some SEO Basics and Alexa Rank Mistakes…

    Before you read my article I need to advise you that it is heavily illustrated (unusually for me) and that the diagrams and so forth are of generally high quality (image wise) and so the pictures……

  2. [...] Lots of people subscribe to content but don't read it, or take action by clicking through to an article or referenced site. Feedburner do offer some tracking, but it is hard to use this as an external metric, and to get good results you have to use their tracking URLs which then reduce the numbers of links counted by other metrics such as Technorati. People make linking mistakes. [...]

  3. [...] This is somewhat simplified, because it also depends on the words (called anchor text) that other sites use to link to that page. For example, quite a few of you (lovely people) have linked to me by saying “… Meg ……”. Consequently, I appear quite high up in the rankings for Google for the word “Meg”. If everyone had linked to me using the words “that chick”, then chances are I’d rate well for that term! Please see this post by Andy Beard for good advice about anchor text. [...]