Monday, February 20, 2006

How Do You Use Your Blogroll?

This vacation, although it is making my excellent coverage of medical issues slightly more difficult, is giving me a good chance to post about non-medicine related topics. Today, I would like to discuss the blogroll/link list, usually available on every blog. I guess it goes under blog etiquette but the behavior for one's blogroll is so variable and often not discussed.

It stems from the basics of internet that the best way to get people to your site is through links on other blogs. After all, the chance that a certain reader may click the link is higher than if he should search Google for that same topic directly discussed on your site. Google, as well, assigns a certain page rank to your blog/web site based on how many links it can find to your blog. The higher your "page rank" the more important your site is deemed to be and the more often your posts are archived and available for Google search results, meaning, that Google will scan your site more often if you have a higher page rank. Well, all that means in essence is that the higher your page rank, the more readers you are likely to receive.

This algorithm gets even more complicated as it's not just "how many" links are found to your site but also who those links are from. So a site with higher page rank "passes on" more importance to your page. Very interesting, but what the hell does any of this have to do with my post now?

It's so variable how bloggers use their blogroll, most of the times it's obvious as soon as one sees their page. If the link list is very long, chances are that this blogger exchanges links to boost readership and to increase Google standing. I believe it's a great strategy. Links don't cost anything, and although as your outgoing links increase your "page rank" decreases, this is a small decrease when calculated into overall page ranking. What seems to be most important is incoming links. I use this strategy here most of the time, unless the author requesting a link or their blog really doesn't interest me or has nothing to do with my topics. So yes, I do exchange links at times.

There are others who are very protective of their blogroll. I find this strategy very interesting as it is kind of counterproductive, but, I would guess that it stems from a feeling that your blog is an extension of yourself and so if you don't find another blog interesting you shouldn't add it to your list. I can accept that, although, I warn those same bloggers that they are likely not helping themselves as well.

And then there are those who use other approaches. They title the choice links "special" and others under "exchange/reciprocal links". This is instructive, as it really doesn't matter in terms of rank but achieves both motives at the same time. I think that it's probably a great approach although I don't use it here.

And then there are those who just get too big for their link list. For example, The Fug Girls, who used to have a link list until their readership became so huge that it disappeared off the page. So much for remembering the small people.

I'm not ashamed to request "exchange" links. An author is likely to blog off his list regardless of how the other blog got there. If you don't think so just check out Instapundit over the last two years and notice how the same authors are continually discussed. You'll find them in his blogroll as well, in case you were wondering. And he receives hundreds of submissions a day, so what does that tell you?

So the more links the better, links don't cost anything, they reduce your page rank marginally but can increase it substantially. Make your own calculation. My conclusion is kind of obvious, isn't it?

What's your link strategy?

For a better discussion of Google page rank check out Brad Fallon's blog. Drop me an e-mail about exchange links.

Update: I would just like to thank those who have been using the Amazon bar on the side to purchase their items. Needless to say, I haven't made a living out of it but the few dollars that have come my way as a result have been enough for a good movie and provided some motivation. Not to mention, gave me a good tickle. And to the one reader who actually used the "donate" button for a certain sum: I love you!

19 Comments:

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Blogger Carrie said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Echmouse said...

I link to blogs either because I like the writer as a person or I find their blog interesting. Sometimes it's both.
Mostly, by putting the links on my blog, I can find my favs easily when I bloghop :) It's actually more for me in that sense LOL Some days, my brain is a sieve.

3:36 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Like echmouse, the links on my page are more for me than anyone else. If there is a link on my page it is to a site that I like to visit at least a couple of times a week, and having it on my own blog makes it easy for me to visit them from wherever I happen to be (work, home, friends, etc.)

My page isn't about hits, it's just a place for me to spew. My links aren't about increasing traffic - they're for my own convenience. And they're a real endorsment, too. If I like your page enough to visit it regularly I think other people will like it, too.

I never link just because someone links to me.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous NPs Save Lives said...

I also use my links page to visit the blogs that I like to read. I also have a shameless section "Blogs I'd like to link to me".. We all like to be recognized by others.. It's about obtaining readers..

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It's so variable how bloggers use their blogroll, most of the times it's obvious as soon as one sees their page.

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