Let’s talk about links and why it’s beneficial to spread link love throughout the writing community.
For some reason, Google thinks links are the cat’s meow. When someone links to your blog, Google says “Hey, people like that blog over there!” And then whoosh — your Google Page Rank goes up while you purr and drool all over your keyboard.
Google is so smart it actually ups your rank even more if the links to your blog come from a website with a lot of clout. And by clout, I mean a site that already has high standing in Googledom. So a link from someone like Dooce is going to make you purr a lot louder than say, a link from me. For now anyway.
Hopefully I don’t have to explain why you want to be on Google’s good side. What I would like to point out is that everybody wants to be on Google’s good side (not just you). You can probably guess where this is going.
Making Dreams Come True
That’s right, everybody wants inbound links. So if you have a blog, then you have the power to fulfill wishes and make dreams come true.
One way to do this is to write a review of something another blogger wrote or mention blogs that have inspired your own posts. Another way is to create link lists. The point is, you find a way to link to the ones you love and it’s just like you’re blowing pretty little Google kisses their way.
So link lists are good but guess what’s better?
Use Your Writing Skills to Spread Link Love
Actual sentences and paragraphs are far more appealing than mere lists. This is where your writing skills come into play.
Yes, Google recognizes the difference between links in a list (they get a nod and perhaps a curt handshake) and links that are embedded in the body of a written post (these get a welcome-to-the-family hug). So, when you construct links in this manner, you’re not blowing kisses, you’re French kissing.
What I mean is, links in sentences and paragraphs are WAY better than links in lists.
Links, Trends, and Creative Writing
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend around some of the blogs I frequent, which involves the blogger writing a little story and plugging links (the French kiss kind) into the posts. This is a perfect writing exercise for people like us (that would be you and me) because we are writers and bloggers. It’s a lot like doing mad libs because you write a story and then fill in the blanks with blogs you want to make out with.
Here’s how it works:
Living in the Writing Community
My writing journey had been what you might call a sweet unrest until last September when I launched my freelance writing business because I was struck by one of life’s little inspirations. That would be to make a living doing what I love on my own terms.
Within about six weeks (link no longer active), I had launched my career and was happily writing the cyber highway (link no longer active). My blog helped me find great people within the writing community. And while freelancing paid the bills, it was not my life’s greatest ambition. For I had big dreams of writing a novel and having it published, but I harbored fears of the rejecter and publishers who would find flaws in my fiction.
I decided that in addition to peddling my writing as a service, I would embark on a mission to become a better fiction writer. How? Well I started by escaping reality. Later this year, I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo and write a novel in 30 days. Hopefully I’ll finish on time because as you know, punctuality rules.
Now my dreams are starting to manifest in the form of words and pictures. I pray that I succeed so that one day I might be able to buy a cottage of my own. I just hope I don’t end up on any of the Deep Friar’s rant lists.
You’re All Good Kissers
Now that I’ve made out with all you fine people, try writing a link love mad lib of your own.
It’s a great way to show your affection for other bloggers and a wonderful way to connect with the writing community.
In case you want to get all crazy with the Google juice, here are a few final tips for spreading the link love:
- Don’t limit yourself to using anchor text that matches the blog’s title. Use whatever makes sense. [Anchor text is the text that contains the link. Usually it’s underlined. Often, it’s blue.]
- Likewise, you can link to posts on other blogs, not just to the home page.
- Sadly, you probably won’t fit every blog you love into your link love mad lib. I didn’t. (Sorry guys.)
- You have to choose whether to let the links you want to include drive your post or whether you want it to be story driven. I’m a writer before I’m a blogger so I went with the story.
- Be creative and have fun. Be a good writer-blogger and link lots to others in the writing community.
Now, let’s play spin the bottle! But don’t forget to keep on writing!
I recently purchased Naomi’s book on SEO, which sadly, before I bought her book, I didn’t even know what that was. (Boy was I ever her target market!) Happily I rank #1 for the Words Life’s Little Inspirations, but I couldn’t even think of anything else to check for.She brought up an interesting point of what do you want to be known for out there-searched for- I guess- or ranked for. I had never ever thought about what other words I would associate my blog with, hence, why google only knows me for one thing. (Boy I am So not the one to be talking about this)Naomi suggested thinking of other key words about blogs or asking them what key word they would like you to use instead of always using their blog name as the title. It was an interesting thought and not one I would have EVER thought of!
Also, for writing stories, like these it gives a lot more flexibility if you can tie in a word that would be associated with them.More creativity. I don’t know what to do with that info…but its been floating in my head since I read her book the other day and I thought I would share that tidbit.
This exercise sounds fun,and thanks very much for the lovely link! ( snd if you were to ask me, the answer is I don’t know, the problem of having a very specific niche, now I have to work on that!)
How could I rant about someone as sweet and nice as you? 🙂
Thanks for the link, Melissa! This challenge sounds like fun, too, but I’m going to have to do it later when I’m home from work. (Not all of us are lucky enough to be freelancing from home, you know.)
@Wendi, Yes, Naomi’s book was excellent. I had to add the final tips to this post after reading her ebook and specifically the part about anchor text, something I sort of knew already but had completely slipped my mind. If I’d written this after reading Naomi’s book it would have been a lot different.
@Friar, One never knows 😉 I’m sure you could find something, maybe the fact that I’m the only person in the blogosphere who likes Paris?
@Deb (Punctuality), This was a fun post to write. I highly recommend it, because it gets the creative muscles flexing.
That is the first time anyone has explained that and I’ve understood. Have done it to a certain degree and I had not even realized. Love the kissing analogy also.
Okay, this WAS fun. Mine is pretty short and to the point, but I squeezed a fair number of links in there, so I’m pretty pleased with myself (grin): Link Love Pep Talk
Good one. (And yes. You call, I come.) Harry did something like this a few weeks back after being inspired by someone else, and I’ve seen the linkage being shared this way more and more. It’s much – MUCH nicer to read than the standard lists of links.
(which I like as well. Link to me lots.)
Melissa, I love your writing and this post was a lot of fun. I follow most of the links but there were a few new onees too – thanks! I think the first I read on this was the Once Upon a Bloggy Night and it definitely is a nice change from link lists. A great book on SEO is The Ultimate Guide to SEO by Jon Rognerud. It also comes with a free membership to his site where you get constant updates. Jon is fantastic and he’s on Twitter too.
Thanks for the link, Melissa! I love these things (as you know). I haven’t written my mad libs posts in a while. I’m going to have to get one together! I loved it when I saw your title. I knew it would be a great post (but then yours always are)! 😉
Another great post Melissa and thanks for the link love. Life is momentarily back in the twilight zone so I won’t get to try this until things settle out.
@Milena, This is tricky stuff and I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg. I’m glad the little bit I’ve explained here made sense!
@Deb (Punctuality), Yours is short and sweet, and a very good read! Thanks for the mad lib link love!
@James, Reminds me of a song called “I’ll Call Before I Come.” Great song. Thanks for stopping by.
@Karen, Thank you for the compliment and the recommendation. I’m studying SEO now, so that will be helpful, and I’ll be sure to check it out.
@Michele, I’ve seen a few of these on your blog and they are always super creative and imaginative! I think your blog was the first place I saw this type of link love actually.
@Deb (gscottage), No hurries! Life comes first!
What a great post, and many thanks for the link :). I’m going to need a cold shower before I work on my own mad lib.
Ellen, I totally agree with you about Dooce. More power to her but I’ve never understood the appeal. Melissa, your blog is a much better read.
Thanks for your compliment of my mad libs posts, Melissa. 🙂 I appreciate it! I’m so glad you finally did one of these. I waited like forever for you to write one!
Oh, and great tips too!
@Greer, Aw, you flatter me way too much!
@Michele, It took me a while to get around to it, I know. Thanks!
Writing one of these flash fiction link posts has been on my to do list forever already. If I can just get my mind around some semblance of creativity… *winks*
Beautifully done and thanks for adding more than just the story to this post. It was enjoyable to read as well as educational.
@Rebecca, I had meaning to do this for awhile too and was actually working on it off and on for awhile. It was a fun endeavor 😉
So while we’re on the subject of this, doesn’t Google constantly change the algorithm by which it ranks search results? Do you find you have to tweak things pretty often in order to get listed the way you’d like?
I’m a librarian/researcher by profession and this is something I’ve thought a lot about in terms of conducting searches, but I’m only now starting to think about it from the other side, as someone creating content on the Internet. Since I’m just starting out with blogging, I have no problem toiling in obscurity until I get more sure of myself but it’s an interesting problem.
I think it’s very bad for everyone (both searchers and website operators) that Google has become the only game in town in terms of search engines. Of course, there are other search engines but in practice most people use Google exclusively and it gives them way too much control over how information is presented and delivered.
@Greer, I don’t know how often Google changes the algorithm. It is one of the biggest secrets on the web.
I do think, however, that targeting Google for search will affect your ranking in other search engines by default. I’m only now getting heavily into SEO, but in the past the little bit that I’ve done with Google in mind has actually reaped even better results on some of the other search engines.
In other words, I think all the search engines use algorithms similar enough so that they are all affected by Google-oriented SEO activities. Someone with more SEO knowledge would have to confirm that, but that’s the impression I get.
I can’t believe the smooth way you just shot off that link love paragraph! Shit, girl, that was awesome. I always admire link love stories or paragraphs people write. And it’s fun to do, too. Forces you to be creative. I did one of my own after seeing Harry’s and the one at Drops of Blood. It was meant to be only one post but turned into a long story about good times at the Lusty Weevil…
Great post here! The whole kissing thing worked well! 🙂
Next to your panties post, this is my favorite post of yours! Well written, clever with the French kissing, informative in an exciting way, and great use of images. I definitely want to try out this technique when I have some extra time — will have to put some thought into it.
@Steph, Well, thank you very much! I would like to visit your blog, but the link you gave doesn’t seem to be working. Got another one? I’ll edit it into your comment…Anyway, yes, this was a lot of fun. This post was on my to-do list for a couple of months, but the timing was never quite right. Glad I finally was able to tackle it!
@Jaden, Thanks! One of these days I’ll have to figure out which is my favorite! It’s been fun exploring my writing voice, although it has its own set of challenges.
I would say link baiting is probably the best way to get tons of inbound links. I have a friend who used to run a site a few years ago that indexed nothing but crazy pictures (both photoshopped and real) and shocker (disturbing) videos. The amount of backlinks it generated was quite amazing. Unfortunately, when Google implemented rel=”nofollow” all of his backlinks from forums and social networking sites no longer counted, so he closed it.
Then again, you could just convince people to participate in a Google Bomb, like when hundreds of thousands of people linked to President Bush’s biography with the anchor text “miserable failure”. His bio ended up as the number 1 result for “failure” and “miserable”. lol
@Eugene, I hadn’t heard about the Google Bomb but it’s pretty funny. Now there’s a campaign! Hehehee!