First off, let me say that I highly value everyone who has taken the trouble to link to my blog. Thank you! This post isn't meant as a complaint, but rather an attempt to improve the quality of links that we bloggers give to each other. I get lazy and do it "wrong" myself very often, but I'm trying to improve!

This article explaining how Google PageRank works reminds us that:

Myth: the higher your google PageRank, the better the results. “While pages with a higher PageRank do tend to rank better, it is perfectly normal for a site to appear higher in the results listings even though it has a lower PageRank than competing pages. [..] Google examines the context of your incoming links, and only those links that relate to the specific keyword being searched on will help you achieve a higher ranking for that keyword.” [Top 10 Google Myths Revealed]

I bolded the key information: the text between the <a> and </a> tags in your link makes a huge difference! Google uses the text in the link to associate the link with keywords used in searches.

Let's do a quick example. I found the article above via GeekPress, but if I link to GeekPress like I just did then the only search term that Google will associate with the site will be "GeekPress".

What Paul Hsieh would probably prefer, however, is for Google to associate his site with terms relating to the PageRank algorithm, so that when other webmasters are searching for such information they will come across his post. To that end, I would do better to write the links like this:

GeekPress posts about PageRank and links to an article about how PageRank works.

It's harder to write like this. Basically you have to write two (or more) links that both mention the relevant search terms but don't sound stupidly redundant. In this case I mentioned "PageRank" twice; that's somewhat awkward, but I can't think of a way around it without short-changing one of the links. (Any ideas?)

Again, I'm nothing but grateful to all the people who have to link to me. If we bloggers take the time to craft better links to each other, though, we'll all reap the rewards.

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