Relevant Reading - No link spam please
This is the first installment in a series of posts I have promised
in order to help REW Bloggers create the best blogs possible and
hopefully win some really great prizes in the
REW Blogs Contest.
The topic of this blog post is how to properly use the "Relevant Reading" (Formerly named "links" ) section of your REW Blog.
I renamed this section in an attempt to further educate members in terms of the purpose of this section and to help them understand that it is not just about sending yourself backlinks, the true purpose of this section is to provide your readers with access to other great external websites that cover complimentary materials to those being posted at your REW Blog.
Now the most important first step to using this section of REW Blogs properly is to pretend there is absolutely no link popularity gained from placing links in this section (Although you do actually get a lot of link juice from it, especially because it displays on every unique blog post you make - Ok now forget you get link juice :)
Instead of making link popularity your driving force, try to think about who is reading your blogs (Your peers and your target audience - which if written and optimized correctly will also be potential customers coming directly from search engines and relevant queries) - So what else would these users like to read about - what kind of websites can you provide them?
If you blog a lot regarding stats, and census data, perhaps they will be inspired to go check out other cool stats and facts regarding the US economy, or housing trends etc, so go ahead and place a link to http://www.census.gov in there.
If you discuss a lot of local township information or a specific city or community, why not link to the local tourism website, or visitors bureau.
Finally (And inevitably) - you are going to speak about yourself as a person or as a professional in real estate, so yeah go ahead and link to your own website.
(I discuss Google's webmasters guidelines quite a bit, so I am going to reference them as an example of what "TO" post in this section.
Now for some relevant reading faux pasDeep linking: You should NEVER link to more than a single page of a particular domain unless the subject matter or content is so unique from the rest of the site and distinct that it makes so much sense that you just can't not do it. You know what, as a best practice - just don't do it, then you know you aren't spamming the section :)
Non duplicate - duplicate sites: This one really bugs me. So many people create multiple websites centered around the exact same topic "Real Estate for sale in area X" - now many times (And to bad it's not all the time) these websites have unique content (In terms of the words themselves) - but look beyond that and again consider your readers. If you provide 2 websites both with the exact same "kind" of content, promoting the exact same thing (You, your company and services) then you are really not doing them a service or providing them with a unique and enjoyable experience. I don't advocate (And to each their own) multiple websites for essentially the same service, instead I favor creating one amazing website where all of my great content is accessible in one place, and my efforts can be spent developing one GREAT website instead of 5 mediocre ones. I do not put all my eggs in one baskets, as I blog in many different places, participate in forums, social networking websites etc (I have exposure everywhere) - but still everyone knows - there is just one place I call home, for me that is http://www.realestatewebmasters.com - there is no mistaking that.
NO LINK EXCHANGE: This is not a faux fas, this will get your account suspended. REW Blogs were not made available to the public so that they could create link farms or participate in blog roll link exchanges - We have a very savvy search team and diligent moderators, it's not worth loosing opportunity and making your blog look spammy just so someone will give you a poor quality link.
Non related linking: If something is not relevant to your subject matter on a regular basis, don't post it in your relevant reading as it will only serve to confuse your readers. In a future post, I will talk about how to properly use the "Related links" function for an individual blog post which is a much more appropriate avenue for authority linking to outbound websites for a subject that you will cover very infrequently.
Illegal or immoral materials: Shouldn't have to be said, but it does - please don't post links to anything that is not appropriate for an audience pre- PG 13, also don't post links to any materials that promote hate, pornography, racism, or other illegal materials.
Banned or penalized websites: Linking to quality websites that are relevant and chosen for the right reasons should take care of this, but keep in mind - who you link to weighs on how you are valued to search engines. Don't link to websites that engage in search engine spam or have been penalized or banned from an index, it reflects poorly on your judgment.
Ok folks that just about covers my quick tutorial on creating a quality relevant reading list. If you have any questions, or would like a review of your reading list, please visit the relevant reading thread, at the blogs forum.