This post is by guest author, Marsha Robinett. This article has been edited and published with the author's permission. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.
I know some of you are aware of how links work on the internet. Yet, for others, it's just a complete mystery. If you are in the latter group, don't feel bad because we are going to change that here and now.
For most artists, the word 'links' refers to the Links Category on their navigation bar. Trust me, there is much more to this little word than what appears on the surface. You need to learn how to use links and how to make links work for you.
To keep it simple, think of it like this...'Links', (or hyperlinks) are nothing more than roads or pathways leading from one website to another or from one page to another page with in the same website. The internet is built on a series of pathways between sites. Links or 'roads' are seen on virtually every page on the internet, and when clicked will bring the visitor to a new page.
When a link takes the visitor away from your website, it's considered an Outbound Link. An Outbound link to another artist's website is an endorsement for that artist. It's an advertisement saying their work is inspiring or their articles are relevant to what you are writing about. An outbound link doesn't carry as much weight with Google for you as it does for the other artist. (because, for them it is an Inbound Link to their website)
The Links Category is a good example of Outbound Links.
All this being said...Out bound links can be an important part of improving the ranking of a page when they link to quality sites. My rule of thumb is if a sight contains good information that I think enhances what I have to offer the visitor then I will link to it. This type of linking adds value to your pages.
When another website links to you, these links are considered Inbound Links. Inbound links rank high with Search Engines. This is another artist saying "Hey, great portrait work here, or read this wonderful article on oil painting." This is a sought after heavily weighted link for you. This type of link will come if your art and your writing are high quality...but they come slowly over time.
So how do we get these desirable Inbound Links for ourselves?
One way would be to use the Links Category and ask for reciprocal links from the artists that you list on your links page. This isn't the best way to get Incoming Links (even at times considered annoying), but will work if handled with taste. Making your email interesting and complimentary will help, as does having the link from your website to theirs already in place.
These reciprocal links are not weighted as high as the single Inbound Link from another website...but it is, never the less, still an Inbound Link and can be important especially to the young website. Just remember, you don't need 50, a few good ones will do the job.
How about blog comments? Did you know that every time you leave a comment on another person's blog, you have the opportunity to leave an Inbound Link back to your website. Understand, I said "You leave an Inbound Link" How much easier can it get?
Another way to get Inbound Links is to create what is called 'Incoming Deep links'. These are links created by you to relevant related pages within your own website. By linking to yourself you will not only take your visitors deeper into your website or blog but it will also help your pages rank higher with the search engines.
*The hyper links you place in your newsletter taking your readers back to your website to learn more about your latest painting or to your blog post about the new techniques you've discovered...these are Incoming Deep links.
*When you create a new blog post and link to an old blog post on a related subject...this is Incoming Deep Link.
*When you put your latest painting on your main page and link back to your artwork portfolio...this is also an Incoming Deep Link
Deep linking isn't a substitute for the coveted Inbound Links from other websites, but it will most certainly help. And the great thing about deep linking is, it makes your website easier to navigate and increases the page views per visit.
Remember these things:
1. Links or (hyperlinks) are your friends.
2. Use them well, and use them smart.
3. Don't go wild (1-3) per page are enough (depending on article length)
4. Link only to related articles or related sites
Get in there and just do it. Learn to run with the big dogs...what works for the popular established websites will work for you. See you at the finish line.
A Look At Links
6 Rules for Navigation Links on Your Website
Please Let Me Link to Your Artwork, Please?
Web Traffic Driver Idea #2: Cross-Link with Other Artists
Web Traffic Driver Idea #1: Review the Work of Another Artist
How Would You Promote Your Site if Google Didn't Exist?