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  Linking Stew

By Eric Ward

Since I began writing for ClickZ nearly six months ago, I have received almost 300 emails from readers, most of them asking questions or alerting me to some cool tidbit related to linking.

That said, today's column will be a helpful hodgepodge of linking news, odds and ends, and fact versus fiction. So, here we go.

  • Search-result links from Inktomi can vary from partner to partner. In other words, obtaining a high ranking through Inktomi will become harder over time since the partner site can tweak Inktomi results.

  • Some sites have more than the standard two links at Yahoo!, but this does not mean you can have more than two links. Yahoo! definitely shows favored-nation status to certain sites, and it's annoying.

  • The Netscape Open Directory, which started as NewHoo several years ago and then became DMOZ, wasn't taken seriously at first by most folks. Fast-forward a few years: It now is as powerful as Yahoo! and LookSmart, distributes listings to more than 300 other sites, and offers multiple link opportunities to your site (if your content truly justifies it). (Full disclosure: I'm an editor there.)

  • New listings at the Netscape Open Directory appear first at the mother ship,, and about a month later appear at the version at

  • Paying for a link that is not in the top three in the search results is, in most cases, a waste. Results of four and lower are not made available to the GoTo partner sites, which collectively have millions more users than GoTo does alone. Like AOL, for example. If the cost increase is just a few cents, get in the top three, and your site could be found across all of GoTo's partner sites rather than only at GoTo.

  • If you want a cheap way to track visits to your site that are generated via links embedded in email messages, just create a duplicate page/URL that is marketed only via email. Any visits to it would have to come via email clicks on it.

  • At AltaVista, there are at least 15 ways a link could end up being seen by a searcher that has nothing to do with the rankings of the site itself. Do a search and look at all those options; it's scary.

  • In some cases, you can purge a dead link by submitting that same link/URL to the engine where it's appearing.

  • has its own link-auction service that is similar to GoTo's. It's called Sprinks, and I like it.

  • Both the Netscape and Internet Explorer Web browsers have "Recommended Sites" buttons that will examine the site you are on and recommend others like it. Alexa powers this. So go get your site linked/indexed by Alexa. It's free. See it here.

  • Spend $10 for your main page link to be indexed by Inktomi. It is the best $10 you'll ever spend. In fact, spend $100 and have it index 10 pages. No engine has more reach.

  • Want to scare yourself? Read "The Link Controversy Page."

  • How long will it be until someone takes what does and makes a business out of it? How long will it be until search engines charge for this info? And when they do, I hope they'll be able to answer questions such as, "What sites are linked to my competitors' sites but not to mine?" or "What links to my site and my competitors' sites have appeared within the last week?" I'd pay to subscribe to such a service.

  • There is a battle going on concerning dead dot-com site links. Good sites that were around for a few years had built up a nice collection of links pointing to them. Then the crash happened, and content couldn't pay for itself. But they do have one remaining asset: link equity.

  • Seven years ago, I opined that automated submission tools were not friendly to search engines and shouldn't be used. People called me silly. Last week, AltaVista made a change to its submission format so that autosubmission tools can never be used to submit to AltaVista. (Yes, I am, in fact, going to say it: I told you so.)

  • A new service that privately introduces newly launched sites to crucial but hard-to-contact professional site reviewers is about to be launched.

Keep those emails coming.

Until next time, I remain,

Eric Ward, Link Mensch

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