Links, SEO Credit and Awful Chat Up LinesLink. Link to something else. Another link. There’s no way you’ll know where this will lead you. Or this. You really don’t want to click on this.
Told you so.
Any time we visit a web page, we are presented with the thing we wanted and various little invitations to something else that’s loosely related. Websites want us to keep clicking because that might lead you to download something or subscribe to something else. By linking to something else you then pass on the SEO credit to that page. This can all seem confusing and dense at first, but once you wrap your head around it, it all becomes clear. (I have yet to wrap my head around it.)
The more links there are in a post such as this one though, the less appealing it will usually be. It’s just too obvious that you’re being sold something. It’s like chatting up a girl and using the most overused, cheesy chat-up line you can think of. Sometimes it might work, but usually it won’t because you’re just too desperate. Then you go home alone, wondering where it all went wrong. But that’s ok because maybe now you change your ways. You buy some new clothes and start taking up hobbies. Now you have more to say than ‘it must have hurt when you fell from heaven’.
It isn’t just businesses that try and sell us things with links though. Every day we do it to each other. Maybe you arrived here from Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Whoever posted that link wanted you to read this. The chances are it was me. Why would someone else want to link you to this though? If they have no invested interest in the success of this blog, why give it the free advertisement and SEO credit?
It’s because whenever someone tweets something or posts it on Facebook, they don’t see it as giving an SEO credit to the content they’re linking to; it’s an expression of their interests. It’s a way of saying, ‘I thought this was good and you might too’. How many times have you found a spectacular newspaper article or infographic online that you know your friends will love? You copy the link, dash over to Facebook/Twitter/Google+/LinkedIn, post it and then… nothing. It’s disheartening. It feels like the social media equivalent of people pointing at you and laughing. Only they’re not pointing or laughing because they’re paying absolutely no attention to you at all.
When you post something and it doesn’t get the response you expected it’s usually due to a lack of interest. That’s understandable; not everyone is going to want to read about the new Star Wars movie. The other reason, which you can actually affect, is the fact that people think they’re being taken advantage of. If you are mindlessly posting links everywhere you go in a failed attempt at self-promotion, people are going to realise you’re just in it for the page views and SEO credit.
Whatever content you’re linking to must be of good quality and of interest to the reader. You can’t just assume you can churn things out and people will click on them because they’re there. Saturating people with links and new posts will make them frustrated and they’ll tune out. The flipside of this is that by being too conservative when it comes to linking to content, you’ll just go unnoticed.
There is a cosy middle between inundating people with links and being an anonymous online presence. You’ve got to be selective with the content you point people towards. Keep it relevant and engaging. If you don’t, linking to your content will be like throwing a stone in the ocean. It makes a few ripples but very quickly it sinks and then it its gone forever.
If you want to learn more about SEO, SiliconCloud has a handy beginners guide for you, right here.
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