Quality links from external Web sites will help get more of the right people to your own site. Well-written links within your Web site will ensure that your readers can act in a way you want them to.

Linking is about driving action. It's about getting the right people to the right content as quickly as possible.

The more external links you have, the more ways there are to get to your Web site. A link is like embedded word-of-mouth. It's a very positive thing.

The more times people see links to your Web site, the more likely they are to visit. The more links you have, the more likely you are to rank high in search results.

Here are some tips when getting external links:

  1. Get relevant links. If you're selling content management software, there's no point in being linked to from gardening Web sites.

  2. Avoid reciprocal linking. Getting a link by giving a link is generally not a good idea. Unless the other Web site absolutely makes sense to link to, don't link to it.

  3. Get linked from Web sites that don't link to too many other Web sites. If you're just one link among a long list of links, there's not much value there.

  4. Get linked from Web sites that are also well linked. The more that other Web sites are linked to the Web site that is linking to you, the more valuable a link from that site is.

  5. Get links that reflect how people search. Let's say that your customers search for “content management workshops.” If you can get links with that exact phrase, the chances of you being found during those types of searches are increased.

  6. Don't keep changing the structure of your Web site. If you change the structure, you risk breaking incoming links.

To maximize the power of your links, you should try to have as few Web sites as possible. If you have a single Web site address, you can consolidate all the links you are receiving under that address. If you have multiple Web sites, then you need to build up a set of links for each Web site.

For example, Microsoft and Apple consolidate much of their activities under a single Web address. Let's say you type in www.ipod.com. What happens is that you get redirected to www.apple.com/ipod. The same is true if you type in www.windows.com. You get redirected to www.microsoft.com/windows.

The idea here is that each Web page shares, at least to some degree, from the links that the overall Web site has built up.

Writing quality links within your Web site is very important. Here are some tips:

  1. Avoid the use of “Click here,” “Find out more,” “Download now.”

  2. Write your links as if you were writing headings. They should be clear and precise. They should create a call to action. Correct: “Book now for Boston content management workshop.”

  3. Keep your links blue for unclicked and purple for clicked. Always underline your links, unless they are part of a graphic.

  4. Always have an HTML version of your links, as this makes your page more accessible, as well as easier for a search engine to index.

  5. Have a site map/index that is presented in HTML format, as this makes your Web site easier for a search engine to index.

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image of Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern (gerry@gerrymcgovern.com) is a content management consultant and author. His latest book is The Stranger's Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online, which teaches unique techniques for identifying and measuring the performance of customers' top tasks.