by Eric Ward
For a web marketer trying to maximize links at the
major portals, it's the best of times and the worst of
times. Opportunities abound, but it's so confusing
you avoid it.
Can you say with 100% certainty that you have
maximized your links across the major portals?
Are you comfortable that you know all the linking
options available to you at these key traffic centers?
Don't feel bad if your answer is no. It's become much
harder to keep up with, and most marketers have
other things to do with their days than try to keep
up with every nuance of portal linking.
But it's well worth your time to try. As the search
engines and directories partner up with each other, with
paid link providers, with reviewers, with product
databases, with news providers, with advertisers, with
anyone they think can help them build a better service,
the result from a linking perspective is a bevy of new
linking opportunities that didn't exist a year ago.
Take a site like Google. A link to your site can come
from Google in at least three ways, some paid, some free.
Since Google pulls links from three different sets of data,
is your site listed with all three? Do you know what
At Yahoo, there are as many as seven different sets
of data from which a link to your site could come.
Aside from the basic Yahoo category listing, have
you checked into the six others?
And at AOL, a searcher could find your links in at
least four different databases.
They key for you is two-fold: 1). Make sure you
understand which databases are being queried
for each search, and 2). Determine what it takes to
be in as many of those databases as possible.
I'll provide a simple example to illustrate. Google
takes the words you are searching for and passes them
through four different databases on the way to presenting
the results to you. The first database is Google's own
index of millions of Web pages. The second database
they pass the search term through is Netscape's Open
Directory. The third database is the paid Adword
program database., and the last database is their paid
banner advertiser database. So, there are four ways your link
could appear to a Google searcher. You have to decide
which of those four databases you want to be in, whether
it's free or costs you a little money to do so.
And Google is the simplest of the portals. Now multiply
four or five databases times six or seven portals and low
and behold you could have over 20 different databases could
be a part of if you want to maximize your link presence across
the portals. Some of these databases you pay to be in, like
GoTo's main index or Google's AdWords I mentioned previously,
or About.com's Sprinks. Others are free to be in (kind of),
like Netscape's directory.
So, what I suggest you do is conduct a portal link
audit for your site and maybe even for your competitors.
Find those places where you could be linked. Fill gaps,
plug holes. You can be sure your competitor is. How
do I know this? Because I'm now doing three or four link
audits every month as more and more clients ask for them.
And the results are amazing. Not one site I've done an audit
for has maximized link appearances across the portals.
Many sites could double or triple the number of links they
have with little expense and a little time. Every new portal
partnership could mean a new way your link could make
it to the results page.
You can do a portal link audit yourself or have someone
else do it for you, but either way, do one. The resulting
report will be a real eye-opener, and you'll end up knowing
where the holes (missing links) are and what to do to plug them.
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