Links PageMost sites have a “links page”; you have probably seen it many times. It links to other resources on the Internet considered useful or relevant, or with which the site exchanged links. However, most of the links pages out there are done wrong. Completely wrong.

Why? They just list sites. That’s it. It’s a very long list, and the sites listed are sometimes irrelevant and useless. Because of this state of things, I’d like to offer tips on how your links page can be modified to look natural and be useful.

First, never actually call this page “Links.” Don’t even use the word – it’s a red flag for Google. Call it “Resources” or, because the latter word is also quite overused, come up with something else, like “Web Map,” “Online Center,” or “Interesting Sites.” Even better is to call it by the name of your niche and adding the word: “sites”, “resources” or “websites”; for example, you can call it “Digital Marketing Sites.”

As Google suggests, make your site – and your links page – for people, not spiders. Give a description for each site listed, and make sure each site really is useful and/or relevant. Create all this in a “natural” way; for example, tell a “story” about your subject and add the external links into it where expected. Thus, your visitors will benefit the most from your links page.

When you link to external sites inside your copy (i.e. the site content), it looks natural to the spiders and will get the same attention from them as any other regular page. Remember, traffic from content is usually better than traffic from banners. A good example: If you list tips on some particular subject (such as digital marketing tips) and, inside the article, you give useful links to other sites with their preferred link anchor texts, it will “read” well by both people and bots. You could title that page (on the page and in the code: TITLE tag) “Digital Marketing Tips.”

You can also divide your links into sections or categories, and have a sub-header for each such section with a title and a description for it, serving as a new paragraph in your article. This simple technique will even let you categorize your links into different pages if necessary. It’s a good idea, because having more than 50 external links on the same page will make the page look suspicious, and will also seriously decrease the value of the links you give to your link partners.

There’s another method for creating a links page that I call “citations,” by which you talk about something on that page, and then have citation marks that lead to the source site mentioned on the bottom of the page, along with other cited sites with direct links to them. Thus, your links page will look like an academic paper and might even gain value for the search engine spiders. You also help your visitors by sharing more information about external resources.

If there is a need to list links for a large number of sites, it might make sense to add a search function to the links page. It might even become a strong directory with this case scenario. The large links page must be well-organized; have logical sections (with a separate page for each) with descriptions; list links in a natural way; and provide the entire directory.

By following these straightforward ideas you can be assured that your links page will not just be more useful. It will also invite site owners to exchange links with you, and attract good-quality traffic that might even convert for you if you add your call-to-action buttons/links on the right or left panel or on the header or footer of the page.

Shavkat Karimov
Director, Online Marketing
mobileStorm, Inc.
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