Finetuning – Question 2

We all know linking is an essential part of blogging. It creates conversation. It creates connections.

I want to talk about the words that bloggers hyperlink to in their entries. I think for the most part the decision process is unconscious, I think it is important to look at.

As I look through my own blog, my strategy varies. I find if I am talking about someone else I will highlight the verb in the sentence (i.e. Zach Braff of Scrubs fame is writing a blog to promote his new movie…).

I often hyperlink to the objects I want to highlight, like companies and blogs.

I also know that I will construct sentences differently if I need to put two links in the sentence. I always make sure that links aren’t next to each other and that there are words between them. I want to eliminate any confusion about where a reader will be going.

This almost reminds me of the exercises you would go through as a kid where you practiced emphasizing different words in a sentence. It showed how the sentence’s meaning can differ with a slight change. I think linking is like that.

The other consideration is search engines. Scoble told me he doesn’t really think about what words he links to, but sometimes thinks about how a search engine will view the links. I find it is sometimes hard to figure out a link when I am looking at an excerpt in Technorati.

So, here are the two questions to answer:

1. How do you decide what words to create links on?

2. Are there larger issues to consider when creating links in your blog?

5 thoughts on “Finetuning – Question 2

  1. for my part, I try to include for example the title of the post or article I’m linking to and not just do something like: “You can read it here” or “in his latest post”
    Or if it’s a little link to a movie-file I uploaded I link to it with the name I gave it and not just “movie”.
    so long…

  2. Good question. I generally create links where it just feels right. Looking back over my posts, I seem to follow a few patterns:

    1. The phrase in the sentence that contains the verb (Atlantic City is taking advantage of its geography and –moving the fun outdoors–…)

    2. The name of the company or source of the article I am referencing (According to –USA Today–, a new study found…). Or, I might do (According to –this study– published in USA Today…)

    3. The main subject phrase of the sentence (i.e. In stark contrast to advertisers testing –90-second television commercials– in order to get viewer’s attention…)

    Like you, I will write sentences so as to avoid two links right next to each other. I probably don’t think about how search engines will like my links as much as I should. Mostly, I just want it to be clear to the reader what the link is about.

  3. I like to link to a phrase that includes the verb and the object. By including some important searchable keywords, as what is called link anchor text, I am helping that post become well ranked in searches. It’s a hidden benefit to the linked blogger, of which many people are not aware.

    I also like to double link. I include not only the link, to the permalinked article page, but to the blog home page as well. By double linking, I am giving the blog home page a search engine boost, from my outgoing link. It’s also a courtesy to both the reader and the blogger. Often, the visitor will read more interesting posts on the blog, when they arrive, via the link.

    If the blog title appears more than once, I often link it several times too. That way, if a reader wants to read all the way through the entire post, the link is easy to find and click. They don’t have to scroll all of the way back to the top of the post.

    I like to consider two things when I create a link in the text. One is the provision of additional visitor traffic to the linked blog. The other is a boost to the blog, in the various search engines, by providing an incoming link with some important link anchor text.

  4. I thought I’d written a whole blog entry on this, but couldn’t find in on my blog.

    One big mistake new bloggers make is what their links are. They may have 50 links that use the word “this”. Drives me nuts when I see it.

    Now the reason I try to make a meaningful link is because of search engines, but I do this as a usability thing. When I go looking for something in a search engine I want to get good results. The way this is done is for people to link to good content with meaningful links. If you do something like “{link}This{/link} is a really cool way to fix your hard drive directory” a search engine isn’t going to have any idea what that link is about. But if you put the link on “fix your hard drive directory” it has an idea what the content is.

    Of course people abuse this and bloggers are the worst because they are connected. The miserable failure thing was an example.

    Another reason to make links meaningful is when people scan you page with their eyes, the links stand out and they read them. This can give them a clue that they want to read the whole item.

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