External Links And Why We Should Link To Other Bloggers

External links are very important for many reasons, SEO not being the least of them. Something I don’t do nearly enough is link to other bloggers. I know I should but I don’t because I don’t have the time to do it properly. There are many really good reasons why we as bloggers should link to not only our fellow bloggers but to any relevant site that adds value to our post. 

The Importance Of External Links

Even though this fact has been out since February of this year I’ve only just come about it today. It was a video of Matt Cutts answers the following question.

Hi Matt, does the big G have a version of the search engine that totally excludes any backlink relevance? I’m wondering what search would look like and am curious to try it out.

Matt Cutts And External Links

We don’t have a version like that that is exposed to the public, but we have run experiments like that internally, and the quality looks much, much worse, It turns out backlinks, even though there’s some noise, and certainly a lot of spam, for the most part are still a really, really big win in terms of quality for search results.”

“We’ve played around with the idea of turning off back link relevance, and at least for now, backlink relevance still really helps in terms of making sure we return the best, most relevant, most topical set of search results.

Now I know Matt is talking about backlinks but as far as I’m concerned backlinks and external links are the same thing. They’re both pointing from one site to another. Without external links search engines would find it extremely difficult to find relevant information for  it’s myriad of users.  Google is trying to find a way of doing it but so far is failing.

external links

That is why linking to other bloggers, especially if it adds value to your blog is a great for SEO. Google needs and wants to know what you think is important and relevant because if it’s important to you it’s probably important to others as well.

That’s also why Google hates paid posts. Links within paid posts have little or no value, especially if the link has nothing to do with your post and is only there to fool the search engines.

That’s also why Google now looks less favourably on guest posts as it once used to. There are too many people out there writing guest posts for the sole reason to get links back to a particular site.

Remember how at the beginning of the post I said the reason I don’t link to other bloggers is because I don’t have the time to do it properly? This means that it takes time to find relevant sites to link to. You can’t just link to any site. As far as Google is concerned that is a waste of it’s time. If it’s going to follow a link then it should be adding something to the post not just sending it off on and irrelevant tangent.

Are you taking the time to make sure your external links are relevant to your post?

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Google Updates And The Disavow Tool

I’ve been getting all these emails lately from people wanting to remove links to their sites from comments left on my blogs. I had a bit of a chat from the author of one of those emails and apparently he’s been paying someone to leave comments on blogs for the purpose of getting backlinks. Unfortunately those comments weren’t of the best quality and now because of Google’s latest “Penguin Update” he and a lot of other web-masters are scared shitless because Google is now penalizing them for too many poor quality and “SEO Optimised” links. You see, this is why I do all my own work when it comes to commenting on other blogs. That way I get to choose the blogs and I make sure that only leave good comments and I don’t over do any SEO optimised key words.

Those of you who are my regulars know how I’ve always said that you need to take control of your own blog and how paying someone else to do your posts or write your Sexy Girlcomments means that you lose a fair bit of control. Only you can police the type of comments and the blogs that they are left on. The problem now is that not everyone will take the time to remove those comments. Heck, I’m not so sure that I will continue to do it unless I’m compensated for my time.

I suppose Google realizes this and that is why they’ve recently come up with their Disavow Links in their Webmasters Tools. The problem lies in the fact that people who don’t know what their doing can actually hurt their sites rather than the other way around.

Matt Cutts On The Disavow Tool

Matt Cutts explains a fair bit in the following Video but even though Google is hoping that  their Penguin update and their Disavow Tool will enhance their search engine results I am a little more sceptical. Here is the video.

The reason I’ve posted that video is because I feel that there may be some, maybe even many, who will try to use this tool but in doing so may actually cause more harm than good. Matt Cutts himself said that you should take great care in using this tool and that most people won’t ever need to use it. In fact, unless you’ve received notification from Google that your site is receiving unnatural links or something then you definitely should not use it.

Will it make for better search results? Has the Penguin update been for the betterment of all? There are many who say it hasn’t and that it’s even been used to harm the results of competitors. Will the Disavow Tool be used in a way in which it wasn’t intended? Only time will tell.

What You Must Do To Excel

Truth be told if you’ve done all the right things you don’t need to worry about Panda, Penguin or any other updates. Continue to write good posts, posts that people will link to or even share on their social networks. Take control of your commenting. Rather than blanketing a myriad of blogs perhaps concentrate on those related to your own site. Make sure that your comments are always of a high quality and when it comes to using keywords make sure you don’t always use the same ones.

What will you do to ensure your success in todays fight for a better placement on the search engines?


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The Argument For Paid Reviews

Paid reviews have always been a hot topic amongst bloggers. There are those who are all for it, those who are absolutely against it and those aren’t sure where they sit. Personally I’m all for it as I believe it’s a great way to generate income, and I must admit this has to be the strongest argument for it.

I would say the fact that Google disapproves of paid reviews and would Google Slap the PR off of any blog that would dare to partake of this lucrative money spinner is more than likely the strongest argument against it. I’ve even read some blogs where the bloggers are so against others doing paid reviews that they are quite willing to tell Google on them, something that is actually encouraged by the BIG G!

You have to ask yourself why Google is so against paid reviews, and they will tell you that it messes up their algorithms when paid posts passes on PageRank. Matt Cutts will also tell you that one of the reasons is that they do not want paid post passing PageRank to sites that talk about brain tumors, colon cleansing or certain loan companies as some of these may be less than honorable. The problem is if you search any one of these terms you will find that Google has it’s own sponsored links which would make one assume that the real reason is they do not want others to get in on the action. Think about it, every paid review is taking money out of their coffers. We must remember though that it is Google’s search engine and they can run it any way they want and if they want to penalize people for taking on paid post that is their right.

Another argument against paid posts that I’ve come across is, “What if I don’t support the site or it’s content?” The answer is simple, unless you are a member of PayU2Blog, you simply do not take the task, but don’t for a moment think that you are doing the world any favors because there is always someone out there who will take it and they may not put the spin on it that you would have, had you taken the post. Say for example the task was to review an online gambling site. Were you to pass it up the person who took it on may paint such a rosy picture of gambling online that it may well encourage some to take it up. I’ve done many such posts and I play it down some and always finish off telling people how they should gamble responsibly and not to gamble at all if they can’t afford to lose the money.

Then there are those who are worried that people will stop reading their blogs if they did paid reviews, and you know they would be right if there were more paid reviews than regular posts. That would be like watching a TV station where commercials exceeded the actual program. Paid reviews should not be the main focus of any good blog and where they do exist there must always be some sort of disclosure so that readers know exactly what they are reading.

Now don’t for a minute think that I am promoting paid reviews, because I am not. I am merely stating some arguments as to why certain bloggers, myself included, may want to take on paid reviews to supplement their blogging income.


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