The Nightmare of Linking

posted 10/23/03

Updated 12/14/03

Don't get me wrong, I like search engines. 98% of the visitors who reach Buggrit Online are referred by a search engine such as Google, All The Web, or one of many others. That said, search engines don't like to index your site if there aren't any other sites linking to it, and to a certain extent, the more links the better.

Many people spend an hour or more each day sending emails to other webmasters asking to be linked to. I am not one of them, for several reasons:

1. Buggrit isn't exactly an easily-pigeonholed site, and there isn't really an "industry" or niche that it fits neatly into, except perhaps blogs (which is, at times, debatable).

2. I don't necessarily want to link back to these people. Buggrit is advertising-free, and I don't want to link to people just to link to them; if I can't make some relevant mention of them in an article, I'm not going to.

3. I'm basically shy, timid, and meek, and don't want to be seen as "forward" when I email these people.

4. Let's face it, we're all afraid of rejection, right?

With that in mind, there are other ways to get links. Directories are good. The Open Directory Project is a good one... if you ever manage to get listed, as it provides the results to Google's directory, and thousands of others. (Buggrit finally got listed there in early December 2003, after about a year of waiting). Blog directories have proven to be fairly useful to me, while political/current affairs sites have been a big bust.

It would be neat if just one or two of the several hundred people who visit this site every week put a link to me on their sites. But, let's face it, it's not going to happen. Just because eight to ten people a day read the Zorki-4/Mir camera review, doesn't mean they want to link to it, sadly. So what's a webmaster to do? Spam guestbooks? Drop URL's in forums, newsgroups, and the like? Break down and put banner ads up?

Nah. A link here, a link there from kind folks who find the site interesting, a link from another site I run, and, a few months later, Buggrit actually ranks pretty well in search engines for some of it's pages. These sorts of links are often referred to as "organic links", and they're generally the best sort to get. It just goes to show... if you pick your niches, you don't need a billion incoming links, or to spend a lot of money (any money, really), or to pester people to link to you. If you build it, and it doesn't suck, they will come, and they will link. Rome wasn't built in a day - why should high search engine rankings be any different?


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