Growing in Links – Is it a Good Thing?

The Importance of Social Media post was met with huge success. I felt confident that I was doing something right, after all, I didn’t get to over 5 million views without knowing a thing or two about social media. At least that’s what I though! Understanding SEO rankings, google rankings, and alexa.com stats are well outside of my comfort zone. I started blogging because I love to write and I love to read the writings of others. I was a teacher for 8 years and when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, I missed daily life in the classroom; I longed to be reading, writing, teaching, learning, interacting with students… the list is endless. Blogging brought that happiness back into my life. It was the perfect solution. I can stay at home with my daughter, manage home life, and still have that immersion in the writing world. But I would be lying if I said growing in readers and viewers wasn’t important to me. I check my blog stats at least twice a day and seeing the numbers rise and the followers grow brings a smile to my face every time. Alexa.com has a permanent position on my most opened pages and I can tell you my wordpress.com views almost down to the hour. I assumed that linking to other sites must always be a good thing. How could it be bad? After only a few hours of research, I learned a few more things about SEO and link building and it’s not what I expected.

Using sophisticated link analysis, search engines can discover how pages are related to each other and in what ways. Through links, engines can not only analyze the popularity of a website and page based on the number and popularity of pages linking to them, but also metrics like trust, spam, and authority. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trusted sites, while spammy sites receive very few links from trusted sources. Links are a very good way of identifying expert documents on a given subject. Looking at Bucket List Publications, I target an audience which is curious to discover something new, unique, and adventurous. I focus on adventure travel and bucket list related items. Linking to other adventure travel sites and bucket list seekers can be beneficial, while linking to home design may not relate to our “expertise”.

In a two day period of adding links to lesleycarter.wordpress.com, I went from a 62,304 rank in the US to an 85,002 rank. Adding links was the only change in my blog. In fact, my wordpess.com views were higher during those two days, which would have normally increased my rankings.

It’s important to consider how you link to others and how many links you include on your site. On my “Friends” page, I’ve narrowed the links down to mostly travel sites and photography pages. While following and “liking” sites, doesn’t hurt my rating, at least I don’t think – I’ll get back to you on that one, linking to too many sites is not beneficial to anyone.

If I’ve linked to your site in the past, but it’s no longer on my page, I’m now following your site and I will check back regularly. Social shares such as tweets, likes, and follows are considered a far superior and more lasting way to promote the popularity of content than any other method.

Traveling and adventure are as much a part of my life as family and friends. Experiencing new continents, countries, and cultures, with my daughter and my husband at my side, is a dream come true. Thank you for sharing in my journey and may the world be at your doorstep.

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97 thoughts on “Growing in Links – Is it a Good Thing?

  1. Thanks for sharing this – I have just published my first book and am giving myself migraines trying to figure out marketing, traffic, SEOs and all the other words most fiction writers don’t know!! I’m sending myself this link so I can make sure I have it when I need it!

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  2. Thanks for THIS post! I’m CONSTANTLY looking for ways to improve on my traffic.At the moment, I publish 4 blogs of different categories, BUT I’m not self hosted – yet.I think that’s my bigeest fault.I’m continuing to look for a cost effective way of doing this (read:cheap)…I love your blog! It’s been a bit since I posted on No Frills Thrills..but I do post elsewhere…Me and Stoo haven’t been out …
    Ink of (InkandStoo)

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  3. Thanks for sharing this interesting info. My reasons for joining the blogging world are the same as yours. I have also become quite fascinated about social media. Not only about how it works but also how it is impacting daily life. It is such am amazing movement. i am very new to blogging and have so much enjoyed being able to write, the photography and I have learned so much reading all of the blogs that I am presently following. You found me first and I thank you for that because i am quite enjoying your posts.

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  4. Leslie, you’re providing a “real” service for those of us who are novices in the “social media” game. I’m going to re-read your first post and then this one and return to make some comments. Many thanks for extending your hands–reaching out to others in the blogging community and the widening world of cyberspace, Sally

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  5. it helps if you use the “nofollow” code, that will eliminate that issue, but it also doesn’t help those people you link to, it’s a trade off. Google doesn’t like huge list pages, but if they use the “nofollow” code then that’s totally different.

    Since you changed this though I’m going to remove your site from my own blog list (HAHA just kidding), I do like having a more narrow focus, that helps photogs like me who want to see more travel and photog sites, not necessarily generic pages.

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  6. Yeah your article on Social Media was a huge hit. I left a comment and clicked to receive notification of new comments. I haven’t had that many e-mails per day for a long time. They just kept coming. Nice work. Yeah it is a very complex mindfield out there in the SEO business which I am learning at an alarming rate too. Being self employed with zero online marketing budget has forced me to learn this myself and I soak up any info I can.

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  7. Nice article. It’s good to see that you enjoy running your own blog. Running a blog is fun for me as well and it’s giving me a few new opportunities that I never even thought of having before. Hopefully I can continue to expand on my site and watch it grow. Like you, I would check my site stats multiple times a day. That stuff is important, so it’s hard not to give a look more than once.

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  8. Reblogged this on Sell, Lead, Succeed! and commented:
    Lesley Carter is one of the first people who reached out to me when I started my blog earlier this year, and I am grateful to her for that. When I checked out her blog, I was blown away by the content. Furthermore, when I checked out how popular her content was, I was blown away even more!

    She has accomplished things online that many of us can only dream of, and I truly believe that she is just scratching the surface.

    “Growing in Links” is a fantastic post, and I recommend that you take a few minutes to read it. And if you are not following her blog, what are you waiting for?

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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  9. Thanks for posting this. I’m new to blogging and fairly clueless about SEO and all that stuff. Like you, I just like writing, but I would definitely like to figure out the best ways to reach more readers. This information is much appreciated. :)

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  10. Congratulations Lesley! Just a question, in the 2-day period that you added links to your website, does it matter what time do you usually add links? Or you just add links randomly within the day? Thanks for the reply in advance. More Power!

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  11. thank you for sharing this information! i don’t really know much about blogging except that this is one way of how i am able to relieve my stress and just express my thoughts and ideas when it’s circulating into my mind. :3

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  12. This was a great post….. I totally understand how you feel about the classroom, your students… and writing…. I love being with the kids and I have really been enjoying the world of blogging: writing.. putting it out in the world and just enjoying it…. :))))) D.

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  13. I stumbled onto your blog and I like what I saw. Granted I’m a novice about links and writing and all that, but I’m just getting the hang of WordPress and I like it. All my social media is separate which I know doesn’t bode well for unity. But that’s ok. I’m here ti learn! Thanks!

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  14. Interesting information. As a recently published author, I’m constantly trying to figure out how to boost readers and sales. This has given me a better view of the work I’ve done so far. Thanks, much appreciated.

    Drew Merten
    amazon.com/author/drewmerten

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  15. Thanks for sharing this. I was 7million something a few months ago. I was told that was better than 20millionth. I hope I’ve improved things since then. I link to walking, hiking, nature people, though I follow many more via email, rss, twitter etc.

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  16. Interesting! Very informative. Your post is well written and very useful. But, after reading this post, I personally felt that following/liking/etc according to the ranking and SEO sounds, and actually is, so veryextremly calculative. It means, if I need to assure my high spot on google, I can not like somebody’s blog “publicly”, if their blog is not in the same “kind of blog as mine”. I do understand, that there is difference between professional and hobby blogging, but I have a question. Where the heck is the authencity in blogging, if we strictly follow SEO rules and google ranking? That’s just dirty marketing in a prettier package. Personally, it is not how many clicks that count, but how many people behind the screen are TRULY interested in what my blog is about, that counts (in my world). Maybe I am too old fashion blogger. What do you think?

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    • Well said!

      Marketing is marketing and it’s difficult to separate it from the sheer joy of writing or blogging because I love it. You’ll notice that I’m linked to several blogs because I love what the writer has to say and not because they will bring me a better SEO ranking. In particular, I reposted about quilting, http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/8349/, because of a beautiful post from a fellow blogger. Also, photography really doesn’t have much to do with Bucket List Publications except I love great photos and I appreciate the art. Many of the travel blogs, even, are ranked much lower than me and it’s of no benefit to me to link to them other than loving their blogs and respecting their writing. I would like to find a balance, however, and adding substantial links to unrelated blogs is not the way.

      I’m more interested in having followers who I communicate with regularly and enjoy the community that we’ve created than my overall ranking.
      :)

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      • Thank you Lesley, for your reply on this topic! The question was not aimed towards your blog (which btw is amazing), but in general. I have noted so many bloggers, focus so much on amount of followers/likes, instead of quality of the content. There is tendency in blogging, marketing becomes too much, if there ever is too much marketing. ;-) Sure we all want as many followers as possible,I do too, I just wish, we would not lose authencity of blogging and genuine communication for some SEO and numbers.

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      • You’re so right. As the saying goes, it’s about quality, not quantity… although quantity of readers always helps!

        As part of a Digital Publishing class, we were looking into SEO and all that. So many lessons, and the fact that your blog actually has to be good was largely ignored!

        Bucket List Productions is great, though. Well done on such a well-written and enjoyable blog.

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  17. An excellent post thank you for sharing your knowledge. Google ranking is very important for my business biccies.com and I’ve been spending a lot of time recently enhancing my sites SEO. There are several components to that and backlinking is absolutely one of them, I have been working towards building a strong portfolio of links, I know very well that I am a long way from organically cracking google so I’ll continue to work towards that. Articles such as these are always welcome because they are generally accurate and informative.

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  18. Thanks for sharing, Leslie. I love reading about your adventures! I’ve had some of my own so we have something in common! I’m just not much of a technical person, so I have much to learn.

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  19. If I only had the time. LOL I do enjoy writing my blog and reading what others have to say. Hopefully I can get back to a more regular schedule. I never had that high a view count on any given day, but I was pleased that anyone at all would be interested in what I had to say. :-)

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  20. The blogsphere is immense beyond comprehension and filled blogs on everything and amazingly talented people who blog about everything. I’ve been thinking about adding linking to my site. There are so many great blogs out there that I could have blog roll that is bigger then the actual blog.

    This post was helpful to me by giving me reason to focus on the blog areas that might be my strongest areas of interest; if I decide to list links. Thanks.

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  21. I sometimes had a quite similar self-question with opposite situation and circumstances to yours.
    I have very few viewers and I cannot feel interactions much… As the Hammy blog was originally opened for a place to exhibit my artworks crossing boarders, I wondered i should keep posting blogs many times before… After all what i thought in the end was something quite simple: blogging plays a roll of my diary look-back elements, which keeps me forward all the time, and I want to leave this memory and thoughts … and i like writing and putting my artwork public after all.. if someone finds my works and likes some of them, i would be so happy thats all ….
    Hope this could be a help….

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  22. Thanks for sharing! I have spent a significant amount of time in the past working on “linking” for SEO when I worked in marketing. Here’s my question: What is a “good, reputable” linking site, and what does Google consider spammy sites? How does Wikipedia fair in all this?

    Any thoughts! thanks again, learning so much from you everyday!

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  23. I enjoyed your post – having recently started blogging for very similar reasons. I get excited when anyone reads, likes and -especially comments – on my blog, although I can usually count these on one hand. I’m still enjoying the process of writing. I haven’t really considered adding links, but if and when I ever get to that point, I am now a little more prepared. Thanks -

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  24. As a fairly new blogger, I’ve found this very interesting. However I’m wondering about one thing, where you say “Social shares such as tweets, likes, and follows are considered a far superior and more lasting way to promote the popularity of content than any other method”. Sure, I can understand tweets count for something, but likes? A recent post that was on Freshly Pressed bemoaned the fact that many people “like” a post without even reading it! I’ve found this on my own blog, people just clicking the like button, when I can tell from the stats that they haven’t actually viewed the page. Do likes really count that much?

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  25. Thanks for the advice. I’m fairly new to blogging and there’s still a lot I don’t understand. But I also decided to give blogging a go because I really love writing and lately I’ve been doing more editing work than writing (in my paid job). So this is a fun way for me to get back into writing more regularly. So far, I’m loving… and I must admit, I also keep checking my stats :)

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  26. Before Google really tinkered with their algorithm it used to be very easy to get top SEO rank with very little effort.

    But they have made it so you have to be proactive to a degree and really keep a rapport with people. I think that’s good because it then leads to better business.

    Anyway, it seems you have kept a strong social circle with these people, which is good, but it also shows you don’t need a fancy degree or ten classes in SEO to be able to do it :)

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  27. Good post, I understand your twice daily checks on WordPress (even though I yearn for a daily average of about 18 views…). I haven’t really thought too much about how the social media and linking process affects my blog because I too am focusing more on just writing for the sake of it. I also probably have far too varied a subject base to allow mine to develop a following like your blog… But thanks for liking my facebook page and for following my blog. Even if it is a tool to build an audience, it means something to have someone so accomplished looking in on me sometimes!

    Ben

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  28. I think you’re right, the more specific your blog is about then your rank would be better and keep growing up! :)

    Thanks for sharing it, Lesley. :)

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  29. Hmm, I have a tendency to throw links around to various places on my blog. I’m usually pretty careful about where I link to, but I can see there’s no real pattern. I hope that doesn’t harm my credibility in any way…

    I never realised how important they were. To be honest, I never really thought they mattered all that much. I’ll certainly try to be more clever about it from now on, though.

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  30. Didn’t realize you taught for 8 years before all of this– I now feel even more of a connection to your life choices, from teaching to traveling/blogging. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

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    • Teaching and traveling go hand-in-hand in my eyes :)

      I’m not sure if I will go back to teaching since my intention is to stay at home with my daughter, but you never know what life brings and I do love being in the classroom.

      Don’t forget to check out the online magazine; we are accepting submissions.

      http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/

      Have a great day and thanks for reading,

      Lesley

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      • Agreed– traveling is definitely part of what attracted me to teaching as a lifestyle, (besides the obvious desire to be in a classroom!). It sounds like you’ve got it figured out pretty well right now, your daughter is lucky to have you around. Thanks for the link, checking it out now.

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