What Kind of Links Do I Need to My Site?

LinksThere is more than one way to get traffic to your blog. I see a lot of emphasis placed on what I consider dynamic links. This is traffic from commenting on blogs that use nofollow, getting stumbled, getting your site on Digg and the like. These type of links depending on someone physically clicking the link to get to your site. This is a great source of traffic and deserves just as much attention as any, but I think that using it at your only source of traffic is limiting.

One reason is that many of these links pass no rank to your site. Stumbleupon and any other site that uses nofollow don't help one bit with your ranking in search engines. Digg might help a bit since it doesn't use nofollow, but I included it in the list above since it tends to bring with it server crashing, but useless traffic. Stumbleupon for the most part does also. In fact, people have had their Adsense accounts shut down after being stumbled because their Click Through Rate dropped so far. But for the most part this type of traffic is momentary. The moment might be long or short but it ends as abruptly as it begins.

I also listed commenting on blogs that use nofollow, but I will have to qualify that, because it depends on where you comment. I get consistent hits from comments on John Chow's blog and ProBlogger, because they get a lot of traffic and they have lots of post that new readers will go back and read. Both John Chow and Darren Rowse use nofollow on their comments but they write a lot of content that will stand the test of time and continue to be read for years. The traffic from each comment is a trickle but it builds with each comment.

So if I think of most of these as dynamic links, what other links should you be looking for. The type of links that don't need to be clicked on to bring you traffic. They will bring you traffic by increasing your rank in the search engines. This is not earth shattering traffic but it can become that over time. And it's traffic that you don't have to jumpstart every time you use it. While I am not suggesting taking weeks off of blogging, you could and the traffic will not stop. To keep Stumbleupon or Digg traffic going, you have to get more and more of your stories submitted. If you rank well in the search engines because you have chosen your links wisely, you make short step forward in building traffic that you can set and forget.

It is as simple as getting links from sites that don't use no-follow and can be as complex as you want it to be. Despite Pagerank being called useless by many, it is a good indicator. The major search engines still use links to a site as ranking factor and Pagerank can give you a quick insight on the link juice a page can give to you without getting too complex. It just simple to remember that a link from a site with higher Pagerank is better. If you get a choice of anchor text (the text that gets the hyperlink), even better. The SeoQuake Firefox addon has a feature that will draw lines through links that use nofollow tags. This helps a lot when hunting down places to get links from.

Here is a short list of ways to get these type of links:

This is why I have built pages of place to find links for your blogs. Each time I discovered a new category, I built a list for my own use. Then I thought what the hell, give them away. They are all in a serious need of an update except for maybe the video list, but I am getting to it soon. I am writing software to do it for me.

But the best way is to be alert. When you run into a website or blog that ranks high, find out why. Use the Google toolbar as an indicator when you are surfing. When you run into a high ranking site, use Yahoo Explorer to see who links to the site. Once you discover the value of this research, you may want to step up to software like SEO Elite. A little bit of money spent on automation will save a lot of time.

Also use a combination of the SeoQuake addon and the Google toolbar to scope out social networks that pass pagerank.

What you find through this research will be interesting. You will find many links that fall into the normal run of the mill mix. But every now and then, you will find something new. And eventually, coming up with ways of getting links to a site will become natural to you, even without research.

A few tricks I have noticed when getting links:

  • Using something other than your name when commenting on a dofollow blog.
  • Refering to a related post in a comment on a blog.
  • Commenting enough to get on a blogs to get on the top commentators

A lot of this seems SEOish and unnatural, but it pays to know where your time is best spent, if what you are looking for is traffic. All links do matter to some extent and I am really not this analytical about picking links. But it is helpful to at least know the basics. And some of this can be really boring quickly, especially submissions. If you have to be bored, might as well know your work will bring in traffic.