There's a problem for people my age in that sometimes we don't understand the vernacular. At least, I don't. When I first heard the word, linking, I didn't know if they meant an actual link (a word or series of words you see underlined) or the physical website address.
I was afraid if I didn't type out the entire address, the person I was linking to wouldn't know I was sending them traffic.
That's not the case. Any hyperlink that will take you to your intended location is considered linking.
And here's another word for you. Deep Linking.
Deep linking is when you send a visitor to a link inside a website that is not the home page. For example, rather than sending you to my home page at http://www.mariazannini.com/, I send you to the Touch Of Fire fact page at http://www.mariazannini.com/Enter%20the%20Fire.htm. The fact page is a deep link.
In essence, I sent you deep into the website. Make sense?
I hear that some web owners don't want you to do that because it steals traffic from their home page. I think as long as someone is visiting your site, they have the option of moving around within the site. Forcing them to go to the home page doesn't give you any better traffic, unless you are selling something that is on the home page.
For myself, I'd rather send people directly to what I want them to see. That's why when I post markets, I almost always send you to the guidelines page rather than the home page. Why should I make you hunt down the guidelines--especially if they're hard to find?
Now that I've explained linking, let's get back to using it as a promotional tool.
The world wide web is a fascinating monster. Search engines have a gazillion spiders or bots that crawl all over your page, be it a website, a blog or a pdf page. They go back to their masters and report who's been on your page, what links were found and how to rank you in popularity.
This comes back to help or hinder you in searches. If lots of people link to you, your site comes up higher in the PageRank. There are some very secret algorithms that go into computing your ranking on a search. They're probably better protected than state secrets.
Let's suffice it to know that it is to our benefit to link to our friends and peers often. Not only will it raise your visibility, but the visibility of the person you linked.
This is why it's so important to comment on blogs with an actual link back to your blog. The more often you comment, especially on high visibility blogs, the higher your ranking.
It does double duty too. A lot of the people I follow now were people who made an intelligent comment on a big blog like BookEnds or Dear Author.
When someone says something smart or insightful, I check out their blog and see if they are equally interesting there. If they are, I add them to my blog reader. If they're especially noteworthy, I might even write them and introduce myself. This way they know who I am before I start commenting on their blogs.
I think it's friendlier and more professional to introduce yourself. It doesn't have to be any more than: Hi, I found your blog through 'so-and-so' and love your posts.
I've had a couple of people comment here who I've never met before and they chat away as if they'd known me for years. And they might know me at that, if they'd been reading me for any length of time or they know me from one of many loops. But if they've never introduced themselves to me, I'm at a social disadvantage.
That's why it's always nice to pop in on occasion. Your comment doesn't have to be world-shaking. Sometimes I post a comment just to tell the blogger that I enjoy the blog. Everyone wants to hear that.
Bear in mind, that really dumb comments label you too. Just as I might follow a trail of virtual breadcrumbs back to a blogger who posted an intelligent remark, you will scare me off if you post wild remarks that seem to have no bearing on the post.
We are judged by our content. Always.
This is why I always try to double check my typing and reread my comments for clarity before I hit send.
But linking is a good thing. It is FREE. It makes you highly visible. And it has the power to give you more traffic, and potentially, more sales.
Link often and link well.
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