I’m going to start this series of poker linking and poker link building blog posts with a questions and answer session, mostly because I enjoy that article format.

Are more links to your poker site always better than fewer links?

Poker webmasters have an obsession with getting more and more links. More links is always better, right?

Wrong.

More good quality links is always better, but the more crappy quality links you have, the worse off you are. Search engines look at your entire backlink profile as a clue to the quality of your website. What kid of quality signal do you think your backlink profile sends Google if you have 1000 blog comment links from 1000 different blogs, and no other links? How do you think that compares to a site which has 100 blog comment links from 10 different blogs?

Here’s a hint: people who are really involved in discussions at blogs comment multiple times on a blog, and they tend to only participate in a few discussions at a given time. So the backlink profile of the person with 100 blog comments on 10 different blogs is going to be a lot stronger than the backlink profile of the person with 1000 blog comment links from 1000 different blogs. And an added benefit of participating in the comments section of 10 blogs 10 times each is that the owners of the blogs will learn who you are. You’ll become part of their online community (if you’re participating intelligently and helpfully). This is a perfect example of a situation where fewer links is better than more links.

But links from the comments section of blogs don’t matter anymore, do they?

Yes and no. Most search engines have devalued links from the comment sections of blogs, and a lot of bloggers have added nofollow to their blogs’ comments sections. But does this make links from those blog comments useless?

A lot of people would answer, “Yes, those are totally useless, because they won’t help my site rank.”

But let’s assume you’ve just launched a brand new website about sit and go strategies. And let’s also assume that you’ve built a couple of links to the site, and it’s indexed, but it’s not really ranking for anything yet, and it only has about 10 pages of content so far. You’re getting between 1 and 10 visitors from the search engines so far. If you make an intelligent blog comment on 10 related blogs, and each of those generates 1 click to your site per day, you’re getting as many visitors per day from those links as you’re getting from the search engines.

Links are more than just a strategy for ranking well in the search engines. Linking is an opportunity to get traffic from sources other than the search engines. I have websites which get 60% of their traffic from links on other sites, and only 30% of their traffic from search engines. Even my biggest poker site gets 15% of its traffic from links instead of search engines.

If you’re interested in this link building strategy, then take a look at this post at Best SEO Blog: How To Optimize Other People’s Blogs. It’s a more or less complete plan for how to use blogs which nofollow their blog comment links. It’s a fascinating and creative linkbuilding plan. (Read anything and everything by Michael Martinez about SEO by the way. He’s terrific.)

Are links to my homepage better than links to my internal pages, or are links to my internal pages more important than links to my homepage?

The answer is neither. Every link you build should have a distinct purpose. Some links might have multiple purposes. I’ve always thought you should have a combination of links to your homepage and to your internal pages, but I don’t think there’s a formula like 20% deeplinks versus 80% homepage link that’s ideal. I don’t think it matters. Links to your homepage are important. Links to your internal pages are important.

One metric you can use to measure your linkbuilding success is the number of your internal pages which have external links pointing at them. Suppose you have a 100 page website. If you have links from other sites pointing to 10 of your pages, then you have external links pointing at 10% of your pages. You might set a benchmark of having 100% of your pages being linked to from other sites. Or you might go with a benchmark of 50%. Or you might use a completely different benchmark.

The point is that different links serve different purposes, and there are different ways of measuring a linking campaign’s success than just looking at how well you rank in Google for the phrase “poker bonus codes”.

So you’re saying that links that don’t help my site rank better in Google are useful too?

Absolutely. Here’s another example. You can get links from people who broadcast ezines or email newsletters that can send tremendous amounts of interested traffic to your website. If you look through Yahoo Groups, you can find all kinds of newsletter and email discussion groups related to specific subjects. I have a poker-related site which is updated twice a week with content from someone relatively famous in a certain poker niche. Every time my site gets a new article from him, the Yahoo Group for that niche posts a notice to its members.

My Google rankings for this site haven’t changed. (In fact, for my main phrase, I’ve dropped a rank or two. This is totally unrelated to the new content I’m getting.) But my visitor count to the site has increased dramatically over the last six months, from 8000 visitors a month to 12,000 visitors a month. Pageviews have increased from about 25,000 per month to about 37,000 per month. Do those links I get from Yahoo Groups have value?

Well, viewing the cost per click at 7Search.com for that particular keyword phrase can give me some idea of what those visitors are worth. If I bought the traffic there for that phrase, I’d be spending $1 per click. 4000 visitors a month at $1 per click is $4000 a month. I’m spending considerably less than that on the content that’s being featured over at that Yahoo Group, so I’m coming out way ahead.

More about linking this week

Please don’t think that all of my articles about linking this week are going to be about how poker linking is more than an SEO tool. That’s definitely the theme of today’s post, but I’ll talk about poker linking for SEO purposes this week too.