Today I’m just going to answer some of the questions being talked about in the forum related to poker link building.

What are some ways that you advertise your great content in order to hopefully attract links?

I’m a firm believer that building links is an advertising strategy. And the first thing you have to do before you advertise your great content is to make sure that your content really is great. And frankly, most poker content I see is mediocre or worse. I don’t think that all the content on your site needs to sparkle like a jewel, but some of your content should. That’s the content that’s going to generate the natural links.

For example, if you’re posting an article with the sole purpose of building the link popularity to your site, then you’re creating link bait. And content for link bait needs to be of a different quality than the content of that page about the Amateur Poker League game in Sachse, Texas that you played in. And even that content will be of a different quality than the content on a directory-style page that lists just the phone number, address and hours of a local cardroom.

But on the other hand, any of those pieces of content I just mentioned could be link bait. If that Amateur Poker League game you played in Sachse, Texas was located at a bar called the Ranch House, you could possibly get a link from the Ranch House’s website to that page. In fact, if you play in 52 weekly Amateur Poker League tournaments at the Ranch House, and you write a recap of what happened at each of those events, I’d be surprised if the Ranch House wouldn’t link to you.

And yeah, some directory-style pages are “throwaway” content. But let’s suppose you live in Oklahoma, and let’s further suppose that you play at a dozen or so different poker rooms there. If you wrote detailed reviews of those poker rooms, based on your personal experiences there, do you think each of those poker rooms might link to your site? Or at least to your review of their poker room? Do you think they might link to their review on your site if you have a sidebar where you post updates on what kinds of promotions they have coming up?

They’d be fools not to link to your page.

So back to the original question. How do you advertise your great content in order to get links?

First you create actual great content. You create it specifically targeting certain linking opportunities. Sometimes you’ll succeed in getting the links, but even if you fail, you’ve got some great content.

The next step is to promote your content on your own site or network of sites. Most poker sites work so hard at promoting affiliate links that they never go to the trouble of actually advertising their own content. But if you’ve launched some really stellar content, why wouldn’t you create a banner for it and advertise that content on your own sites?

If you’re not willing to advertise your content on your own sites, why would anyone else advertise your content?

How do you decide whether a link should go to your homepage or to an internal page?

This is a question that jagan asked in the forums, and it’s a pretty easy question to answer. You don’t decide whether a link goes to your homepage or to one of your internal pages unless you’re linking to it from your site. Quality linking resources will decide which of your pages they want to link to on their own. If you have a tremendous amount of control over how the other person’s site links to your site, then it’s probably not a high value link.

You can ask someone to link to a particular page. You can suggest that someone link to a particular page. But you can’t decide which page someone links to. That’s an important distinction, because it reminds you that getting links is a type of off-page, off-site search engine optimization strategy. And when it comes to off-site, off-page search engine optimization strategies, you’re relying on other people and other websites. You don’t control their sites.

But deciding which pages you ask for links to, or deciding which pages to suggest to someone, is usually going to be based on that other site’s needs. I like to create content specifically aimed at a particular linking resource before asking for the link. Then I know that I have content that’s perfectly tailored to their audience. For example, if I want a link from a blog directory, I need to launch a poker blog. If I want a link from a forum directory, then I need to launch a poker forum. If I want a link from Google’s News section, then I need a poker news section on my site. If I want a link from a professional poker writer’s site, I might ask him to write a column for my site, and then ask him if he wouldn’t mind linking to his article index from his site. If I want a link from a pro poker player’s site, I might publish a review of one of his books, or an interview with him, or a detailed profile/biography of him.

Your link targets decide which pages of your site you get links to.

Is nofollowing affiliate links worth it? Is that strategy overdone?

I nofollow my affiliate links now, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. I don’t think it helps you preserve PageRank, and I don’t think it will hurt your site in any way to not nofollow those links. I wouldn’t spend a lot of time revising old websites with nofollow tags on affiliate links if you haven’t done so.

I also know some very smart people who disagree with me about how important this is, but to me, it’s a pretty low-value strategy in terms of whatever kind of bang for your buck you’re hoping to get.

That’s about it for today

Tomorrow I’ll write about internal site link best practices and directory submissions.