Bloggers / webmasters and web site owners want to increase the number of visitors to their blogs and sites for almost the same purposes:
- Increase page views to attract advertisers
- Increase brand awareness; if someone’s friend or colleague looks for similar product or service, that someone might refer his/her friend to our site
- Increase market presence; it will be easier to sell products and/or attract ideal customers
- Anything related to the first three
Among the things to do to achieve this goal is increasing the number of inbound links. Inbound links serve two things:
- Improve credibility of the sites in the eyes of search engines (read: search engine algorithms). The likelihood of better search ranking is high
- Attract more visitors through different channels (read: links). More channels mean more ways to reach our pages
Let’s talk more about the second one.
Links are not made equal. Some are more valuable than others. One of the factors that determine the link value is credibility of the site (is the site well-known for reliable information; examples are news sites that existed offline before going online). Therefore it’s not a good measure of link popularity to count the number of links.
Two areas where we can determine who links to our sites are Technorati and our web analytics reports (Google Analytics, Hitbox, WebTrends, Omniture are examples).
While there may be overlap between Technorati and our web analytics reports in terms of who are linking to us, let’s understand the difference between the reports they provide.
Technorati provides information of blogs that link to us. By definition, the site is only going to record entries of sites that are classified as blogs. Thus, if my site is not classified as blogs (mostly are identified using platforms such as Blogger, WordPress or TypePad) then it will not be captured in Technorati and will not show up in the report.
Web analytics reports link referrers where our site visitors passed first before landing on our pages. This means that these link referrers will show up only if visitors click on those links that point to our pages.
In other words, Technorati displays link referrers to our sites REGARDLESS of whether these links are clicked by visitors to reach our sites or not. That is the reason why Technorati provides adjoining numerical information to each link referral called Authority to identify the popularity of such blog. The higher the Authority value is, the more popular or popularly linked the blog is.
We don’t need to look at Technorati’s Authority value to figure out which link referrer is valuable. The higher the number of unique link referrals are, the more valuable these link referrals become. It’s because with those high volume of referrals, it is easy to conclude that the site or blog has a lot of visitors. Many of these visitors find their way to our site because of the placement of our links within that site or blog or that our site content is deemed relevant to these visitors.
By looking at:
- The high Authority blogs that link to our site (from Technorati)
- The high volume search referrals to our site (from web analytics tool)
we can focus on what type of contents we’d like to create to gather the same link love from these sites/blogs. It would be good to return the favor by linking back to these sites especially on blog posts or articles that are relevant to some of their contents.