How to Get the Google Juice - Part 2

Album Cover: Life in 1472

"Even with a patch on my eye, I'm dreamy."
Slick Rick / Fresh

Posted on January 09, 2006 10:52 PM in Blogging
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Back in November, in the first part of this multipart blog posting, I talked a little about linking and linking often. Well, Part 2 isn't all that far off from that, but deals with links going in the other direction.

Part 2: Link Inward

Linking to external websites is important, but just as important is linking to your own. As any blogger knows, it takes time to get visitors pouring in to your blog. When you are first starting out, it is vital that you make your site known not only to potential visitors, but Googlebot, too. Every time you link to your site elsewhere on the web (or find someone gracious enough to add a link on your behalf), you are increasing the probability that Googlebot will find your blog and index it. The more Googlebot finds links to your blog, the more popular your blog is going to look.

At this point, you might be thinking, "so maybe I should become a comment spammer!" No, you shouldn't. Why? Because you want to build trust. I won't get into the whole why comment spammers are scum subject, but you need to establish a level of trust with people who come to your site. Don't go to a blog about swimming and post random links to your blog about Ruby on Rails. First off, no one interested in swimming is going to have any idea what you're talking about, and even if they do click on your link, they're going to exit as soon as they realize there isn't any chlorine involved. However, if you drop by Loud Thinking and post a comment about Ruby on Rails with a link to your blog, chances are other readers of that blog might click on your link and see what else you have to say on the subject. I did something like this last year and it paid off with many site visits.

Anytime there is opportunity to link to your blog in an honest, unobtrusive way, you should do so. If you frequent discussion forums, add a link to your blog in your signature. If you send out a lot of email, add your link to your signature. If you work in a fortune cookie factory, slip your web address into a few of them. Okay, maybe that last one is taking it a bit too far, but you catch my drift.

Finally, remember that linking inward doesn't have to happen externally. One of the things I do quite often here at my blog is link to my older posts. Not only does this give first-time visitors a chance to read relevant material I've written in the past (and subsequently help me keep them here at my site longer), it also lets Googlebot know that the content is still relevant and fresh. In addition, something as simple as a Recent Comments list or Links section (the equivalent of B-Sides here at my site) that is always changing and dynamic keeps Googlebot interested because content is changing. I think this is one of the main reasons I've gotten as much of the "Google Juice" as I have. I have a lot of rotating, fresh content on every page, and my home page is always evolving with the five most recent entries (at the time of writing, at least).

So when you can, remember to sell yourself. Just remember that greeting someone with a smile and a handshake is a lot different than greeting someone with a bullhorn.

See also:
Part 1
Part 3


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