Business Blogs As A Powerful Linking Strategy

Blogs are loaded with theme relevant content and links; that’s one reason they get rated so highly in the major search engines. Adding a blog can be just the thing to boost your business. Wayne Hurlbert explains why.

Business blogs are part of the cutting edge of website development. Displaying their value for marketing, public relations, adding fresh new content, maintaining theme relevance, and overall search engine optimization, blogs can play a powerful role for most traditional websites.

As a linking strategy for attracting new theme related incoming links, and for facilitating ease of link exchanges, blogs are second to none. Blogs attract incoming links at a rapid rate. Not only do the links encouarge a high Google PageRank, but the links are highly theme relevant as well.

Bloggers are well known as free and generous linkers. Most blog owners will readily provide abundant natural links to content that interests them and their readership. Not only do bloggers link to interesting and important posts, they will freely create permanent links to their regularly read blogs from their own home blog pages.

Most blog links are to interesting content, and on blogs that means almost daily updates. As part of any link within a blog post, powerful keyword rich link anchor text is often provided. The theme and topic relevance is almost always a given, as bloggers tend to read blogs on similar themes to their own. At the same time, it’s not unusual for blogs to be well themed for more than one subject area, as a result of regular posting habits.

Link exchange problems are almost non-existent for bloggers, since the majority of blog writers will freely swap links with blogs they find interesting. With most blog link exchanges, the reciprocal link is theme related. The concern that reciprocal links have limited value appears not to be the case with blogs. There is almost no evidence of exchanged blog links not benefiting both trading partners.

Even marginally relevant blogs, at the time of the link swap, can be made theme relevant in a very short time. The search engine algorithms acknowledge that fact, and appear to give heavy link value for blog links. There is a very unfounded rumor circulating in the SEO community that blog links are discounted by the search engines. That is simply not true. The high Google PageRanks, and high search placements the search engines award to blogs, are powerful evidence of the strength of blog links.

The reason that blog link popularity and Google PageRank are so freely rewarded by the search engines is the constant addition of fresh relevant content to the blog. Search engines of all stripes, including Google, Yahoo, and the new MSN Search like freshly updated content, and that is one of the key features of blogs. By freshly updated content in the blog parlance usually means new content on an almost daily basis, if not at least one new blog entry every day.

Links come naturally to blogs. The constantly updated fresh content that is a hallmark of blogs is a magnet for natural links. In particular, other bloggers will freely link to content that interests them or their readership. It’s not unusual to get multiple links from a blog to more than one page of your own blog. The process is widespread among blog owners, but is rarely considered by those outside the blogging community.

A blog writer adds a fresh daily entry, commonly referred to as a post, to the blog. That post will appear on the blog’s home page. A few bloggers who read the writer’s posts on a regular basis will link to the unique URL of the post. That URL is called a permalink. That provides the blog with one incoming link–but wait, there’s more!

The linking blog will often add a link a to the blog’s home page as well, as a form of blogging etiquette. When the fresh post scrolls off the blog’s home page, the linked post will be linked from the sending blog, as will the home page. In effect, a post can sometimes (but not always) provide a blog with two incoming links. While the sending blog post will scroll off of its blog home page too, it is sending links to two receiving pages.

The links to posts are not the only value either. If that were the case, the blog linking power would be less than what happens in the real world. The linking blog is highly likely to be themed for the same topics as the receiving blog. That common theme relationship alone provides the much sought after relevant incoming links. All of the major search engines place high value and give high search rankings to pages that are theme relevant.

As if that weren’t enough, there is still more benefit as well. The linking blogger very often provides strong keyword rich link anchor text within the blog post too. That is a powerful and often unexpected bonus for the receiving blog.

The clickable link, laden with some of the receiving blog’s most important keywords as anchor text, and surrounded by theme relevant content, has sent many a blog page to the top of the search rankings. As obviously natural linking and unmanipulated anchor text, the search engine algorithm gives links from within blog posts heavy weighting.

Along with receiving links from other blogs, incoming links frequently arrive at the blog’s doorstep from traditional static websites. Those website links are usually very strongly theme relevant links, since it’s rare for a website owner to link to a blog that has little theme and topic relevance.

In effect, almost all incoming links from traditional websites linking to blog content will be theme related. As such, the receiving blog gets strong link popularity value and maximum Google PageRank transfer from the sending Web page.

Despite the sometimes well deserved bad reputation of reciprocal links and link swapping, bloggers trade links all the time. Not only do blogs feature reciprocal links, but they often provide their maximum possible Google PageRank transfer and link popularity benefit. While other link exhanges between various traditional websites often deliver disappointing results, link exchanges between blogs provide powerful mutual benefits on a regular basis.

Bloggers exchange links in several ways. While many traditional website owners are often guilty of swapping links with entirely unrelated websites, that is less of a problem with blogs. Blog owners tend to exchange links with other bloggers who share similar interests. By doing so, link relevance is maintained, providing strong link popularity boosts and PageRank transfers.

Blog owners link freely to other blogs that interest them, and blogs that may also be of value to their regular readers. The linked blogs very often return the favor and link back to the original blog. Once again, theme relevance is maintained, as the blogs most likely share similar posting topics.

At the same time, blogs that are not quite as well theme related to some linking blogs can be themed for those incoming link blogs. Simply by writing a few extra blog posts on the topics usually found on the linking blogs, theme relevance can be created. Carefully written posts that include the relevant keywords can theme a blog into several categories.

Bloggers tend to exchange links for visitor traffic building purposes, rather than for search engine optimization. While some bloggers are well aware of the SEO benefits of links, the majority are unconcerned about search engine rankings. Link exchanges should be approached from a shared traffic point of view. Exchanges offered on the basis of SEO and PageRank are very likely to fall upon deaf ears.

In the vast majority of cases, links from other blogs are sent from the blog’s home page. Most bloggers, unlike traditional website owners, keep their blog link list on their home page. By doing so, the receiving blog or website gets the maximum possible link popularity and PageRank transfer possible. On the other hand, that transfer is quite diluted, as most bloggers maintain rather lengthy link lists, or blogrolls as they are often called.

Along with the standard Internet directories including The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) http://www.dmoz.org and the Yahoo! Directory http://dir.yahoo.com/, there are many Internet directories that are only available for blogs. DMOZ has become very friendly to blogs and has opened up an entirely new blog category. Within that main blogging category are numerous sub-categories covering most of the major classes of blogs.

As with DMOZ, the Yahoo! Directory includes a major section exclusively for blogs. Within the overall blogging section of the directory are numerous sub-categories for the many blog subject areas

The exclusively blog directories don’t include traditional websites in their listings, providing a distinct advantage for blogs regarding incoming links. Business blogs are especially welcomed by the various blog only directories, as well as being included in the more established directories.

Some blog exclusive Internet directories include:

Blog Search Engine http://www.blogsearchengine.com
Blogwise http://www.blogwise.com
Eatonweb portal http://www.portal.eatonweb.com
Blog Universe http://www.bloguniverse.com
Popdex http://www.popdex.com
Blogarama http://www.blogarama.com
Blogdex http://www.blogdex.com
Blo.gs http://www.blo.gs/
Globe of Blogs http://www.globeofblogs.com
Blizg http://www.blizg.com
Online Marketing Links http://www.onlinemarketinglinks.com

Note that these are only a sampling of the rapidly growing number of blog only Internet directories. Most of the exclusively blog directories have strong Google PageRank on their internal category pages as well.

Business blogs are the fast track to increasing a website’s link popularity and Google PageRank.

Blogs attract theme relevant natural links from other blogs and websites like a magnet. Since it’s generally agreed among search engine optimization specialists that naturally occurring organic links are the most powerful, blogs play directly to their strength.

The regularly updated keyword rich content offered by blogs score high rankings in the search engines as a direct result of their link drawing power.

Link exchanges between theme related blogs are frequent and not at all difficult. Note that bloggers mainly exchange links for visitor traffic purposes, and not for search engine optimization. Link exchanges should generally be approached from the shared traffic perspective.

Blogs also provide an exclusive list of high PageRank blog directories. While maintaining their exclusivity in the blog only Internet directories, blogs are welcomed in the mainstream Internet directories. In that sense, blogs receive the best of both worlds.

Website owners who are serious about improving not only their quantity of incoming links, but their theme relevant quality as well, should seriously consider adding a business blog component to their website.

With the link attracting power of blogs, adding fresh relevant links was never so easy.

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