Backlinks / Better Blogging / Blogging Tips / Building a Better Blog / natural linking strategy / non-reciprocal links

Share Your Blogroll Linking Strategy

man scratching his headHave you ever wondered what the what the protocol for adding blogs to your Blogroll (Links) is, and how it has changed in recent times? I asking for my reader’s to chime in and share their advice on making sound linking decisions.

(1) You can link to any blog you choose in your Blogroll (Links) and in your posts.

Linking to the leading blogs or other blogs in the same niche that you regularly read is a good linking strategy. The rule of  thumb is: link to the most authoritative references  you can locate.   Links to your resources and sources are important to your readers for at least four reasons: verifiability, acknowledgment, examples,  and context.  Therefore it makes sense to to link to the types of  blogs that will provide high quality resources for our readers.

(2)  Links reflect relationships.

Linking to blogs that are related to your own blog and that you regularly read comes naturally, and  Google is looking for these  natural linking patterns. Keeping a short blogroll of relevant links to the most authoritative blogs in your niche makes perfect sense and is referred to as a natural linking pattern.

(3) Acquiring lengthy blogrolls by means of reciprocal link exchanges with unrelated sites is not a good linking strategy.

Today reciprocal links to non-related sites have less value and less authority than they previously had, and can actually harm your blog’s ranking.  If you plan to enter such arrangements then it’s important to understand the implications and the realities.

  • Reciprocal links are based on an agreement by two sites (two way) to link to each other and  small sites enter these arrangements  to increase traffic and link popularity.
  • Search engines do not give much importance to unrelated (two-way) or reciprocal links, and search engines will assume that unrelated reciprocal links are solicited links.
  • If too many of your links are of low quality it may make it harder for your blog to rank for relevant queries, and some search engines may look at inbound link and outbound link ratios as well as link quality when determining how natural a site’s link profile is.
  • So use your common sense. No matter how many requests for reciprocal link exchanges you receive do not consider reciprocal link exchanges   unless it’s a related site that will provide high quality resources for our readers.

(4)  Linkage is not permanent.

As links reflect relationships and as relationships wax and wane, your Blogroll (Links) are subject to change.  Linking to blogs that are related to your own blog and that you regularly read comes naturally. Locating new blogs blogs to read within your blogging niche comes naturally. Some blogs you have linked to may become neglected and/or abandoned so making adjustments by removing them is a natural thing to do.

(5) Is it stupid to link someone’s blog who doesn’t link to mine?

J.P. Douglas also asked this question above and I answered him saying: ” Not at all.”

I don’t expect the leading bloggers in my niche to link to my blog and you shouldn’t expect that either.

There’s far more value in composing and publishing posts wherein you have linked to other bloggers’ relevant posts than there is in reciprocal blogroll links. When you link to other relevant posts in post of your own it’s called backlinking. It creates a one-way non-reciprocal link and that’s exactly what every blog needs lots of.

(6) The last word AKA shameless blog promotion.

Many bloggers link to their own blogs to their favorite blogging tips blogs and Google considers that to be a natural linking pattern. After all most bloggers are blogging in completely different niches than those they get blogging help from. Those who benefit do not usually publish posts backlinking to blogging tips posts because they are not relevant to the subject matter in their own blogging niche, so placing such a blog on your Blogroll makes sense.  ;)

I’m interested to hear what Blogroll linking strategies my bloggers employ, so please don’t hesitate to share them.

Related posts found in this blog:

Natural Linking Strategy for Bloggers
How backlinks will make Google your blog’s best friend
WordPress: How to maintain and track links

31 thoughts on “Share Your Blogroll Linking Strategy

  1. Great post and great contribution from the fellow readers! I would agree full heartidly with westwoods comment saying that a blogroll should be about providing resources but it will inherently drum up readership or at least people poking their heads around, which is not a bad thing. When I first started blogging I probably had way to large of a blogroll and they were not as close niched as they probably should be. Have since eliminated all but the most authoritive, as you are doing and have seen some benefits – so hope it has/is still helping you!

    All the best!


  2. Hello from Germany! May i quote a post a translated part of your blog with a link to you? I’ve tried to contact you for the topic Share Your Blogroll Linking Strategy « onecoolsitebloggingtips, but i got no answer, please reply when you have a moment, thanks, Gedicht

  3. I and a lot of other people believe that any link is better than no link at all. That being said, blogroll links are best when they are on a relevant site and the webmaster uses the correct anchor text when placing your link.

    TT you make a good point when you say that blogroll links are not permanent. I’m sure a lot of people, especially new bloggers, think that they are.

    On the other hand, blogs expire and you can be left with with links leading to nowhere. It is a good idea to use a plugin called “broken link checker” to make sure that you are not wasting space on your blogroll with sites that don’t exist anymore.

    Your point 5 also makes a good point. You don’t always have to get a link back. They say search engines look favorably on blogs that link out to authority sites. Besides it looks good to visitors if your blogroll has some “big name” blogs on it.

    I have a blogroll on one of my sites. I think it is a toss up whether you should have a blogroll or just link in the text back to another site.

    Another good post…TT

    • It’s great to see you commenting here because my readers and I learned a lot about backlinking in your guest post How Backlinks Will Make Google Your Blogs Best Friend.

      I’ve previously published a post titled WordPress: How to Maintain and Track Links and I’m thinking that maybe I ought to draw some attention to it as there are links in it to free checkers in it ( Broken links checker, Dead Links Checker, Reciprocal Link Checker, WDG link valet and

      Thanks so much for commenting. :)

  4. The day I read your and Tim’s article about link directories, I removed all those links and the Blogroll from my new blog. I have been trying to drive traffic, the organic way, and my new blog in 2 and a half months time reached PR3.

    I think, I will stick to your advice of – Content is King and Marketing is Queen theme! motto

    • Today I’m deleting some links from my Links (Blogroll) page. I have witnessed the bloggers whose blogs I have linked to on that page publish articles on topics that I had previously blogged on. Did they backlink to my posts in theirs? The answer is “no”. They apparently don’t comprehend backlinking so they will be gone.

  5. Hey timethief thanks for the inclusion in your post. Also the help you gave me on the support site! I’m learning new things everyday in this “blogging” business. When you told me that Blogrolls were dynamic and constantly changing that made perfect sense to me. If I had one piece of advice to new bloggers it would be enjoy what your writing about. And enjoy the process. Don’t be afraid to experiment and get feedback. Most importantly don’t be afraid to ask or get advice from more experienced internet users.

  6. Thanks for another informative post. I’m still very new to this, but my blogroll strategy has been to include only links to writer/writer-related blogs that I have found useful and/or fun to follow. Besides other writers, I’ve added links to agents/editors/literary attorneys who blog, online writer forums and associations, and a couple of artsy-craftsy categories.

    Because WordPress publishes the categories in alphabetical order, I had to do some creative labeling to nudge the categories to line up the way I wanted them to (I didn’t want to number them). I’d like to further subdivide the ‘Useful links’ category (Agents, Online Discussion Boards, Scam Alerts, etc.) so now I’m thinking about following your lead and moving my blogroll to a separate page.

    • @Anne Bingham
      What most of those who are new to blogging sometimes miss is the fact that every outbound link they post is sending Google juice to the site that link points to. Everyone of those chicklets for blog directories is a link. And every link in your sidebar on a blog theme that has a sidebar on every page is leaking Google juice out each time a page loads on your blog. If a blogger is not watchful they can easily place their blog in a position where there are enough inbound links into their sites to balance the outbound links so the blog is leaking link juice.

      Another thing most new bloggers don’t know is that some search spiders stop indexing on any page when they reach 100 links. There are hundreds of URLs on my Resources page. They are not active links. I am providing value to my readers, as all they have to do is copy the URL into theur browser bar and click. But if I were to make all the URLs on my Resources page live links then this blog would become unbalanced as it doesn’t have hundreds of incoming links.

  7. Ok, here is my take on Blogrolls: I don’t use one.

    If your content is worthy of a link, then I do it in the content of my article(s), and only when your content is relevant to mine.

    Linking out is good for your website because it is good for the reader to not land on a dead end. I decided not to put a Blogroll in this time because when I looked at the clicks on my blogrolls in the past, they were not used very often, but when I link in an article, people tend to follow it.

    Personally, I think Google looks at sidebar links the same as they do footer links, they don’t carry much weight.

    On another note, I think we, as content creators, should worry more about what helps the reader instead of worrying about what we think Google is thinking. I would be willing to place a bet that Google would value that even more…..

    • @Keith
      I have am also entertaining the notion of removing my Links (Blogroll) Page completely. My first step was to dump the Links widget that loads in the sidebar of every page on my blog. On my Resources page I do not provide active links. The URLs are there so my readers can simply copy and paste the url into their browser bar and click but they aren’t linked.

      I use the same approach you do when I create posts, unless the link is relevant to the subject matter in the post, and the content I’m linking to has reader value, then it won’t be found in my posts.

      I think that Google’s and the other search engines new focus on natural linking patterns is a good one. Those who manipulate meta data and use every slippery trick they can to game the system don’t impress me a single bit. I write for my readers. I employ some very basic white hat SEO techniques, and I’m well aware that my blog could use a major clean-up. I feel that I’m on the right track when it comes to blogging and also to linking but I’m open to new ideas as well.

      Thanks so much for sharing your approach with us. I appreciate it.
      P.S. You new blog is looking great!

  8. I’m particular about the links I put on my blog. I try to think of the reader experience and since I’m very impatient and I like to only add relevant links that I think will be helpful and quick to access as that’s what I like when I’m visiting a blog. I’m still working on the best way to do that but I don’t like to mislead my readers [ by adding unrelated links!] I guess because some of the content in my blog may be sensitive to the kind of people looking for it and I want my blog to be an easy experience for them.

    In my side bar I only include links to blogs that I read all the time but I have them as images. Do you think this a good way to have a blogroll? I like it because it adds some creativity to the page but I never questioned whether its a good idea or not until reading this post lol

    I also don’t like to have too many links in my sidebar, I find too many are distracting for me.

    I try not to link to people’s blogs all the time in my posts as I seem to go into overkill but I just think the info is so useful, I don’t want readers to miss out on some great info. I’ve always wanted to know, is it ok to link to the same blog often?

    Thanks for this post, great information here!

    • I think using images as Blogroll links is fine. A link is a link and the search engine spider bots do know them when they “see” them. In fact it’s interesting to view what the spider bots view.

      As for the other criteria you use it’s seems we are on the same wave length when it comes to placing links in our Blogrolls based on their value to readers.

      I also like to keep a clean and non-distracting sidebar. This is based on the presumption that the visitors coming to my blog are readers, who are focused on reading the content in my posts. And, in my posts I endeavor to backlink to the most authoritative posts on the most authoritative blogs in my niche.

      I also appreciate what you mean by always linking or frequently linking to the same blogs. I don’t want my readers to miss out on any good and timely information either so I always research before writing. Then when I have a draft I research again to make sure nothing new has arisen before I publish.

  9. Oh man, I’m doing this all wrong.
    I’ve been just sticking links in wherever, and not really caring at all about any of it.
    I’m not sure if I should care.
    And going back and removing them? That sounds like a lot of work. Depressing even. I don’t want to do that. Isn’t there some kind of automated solution? Seems like I should be able to say to WordPress: If a link in this category (which must go to a WordPress blog) is not updated after a sixty day period, then it will be removed. Wouldn’t that be a cool rule to be able to instill on your blogroll?

    • @writerdood

      Isn’t there some kind of automated solution?

      There is no automated solution.

      Seems like I should be able to say to WordPress: If a link in this category (which must go to a WordPress blog) is not updated after a sixty day period, then it will be removed. Wouldn’t that be a cool rule to be able to instill on your blogroll?

      I’m totally confused by what you have said. I don’t wish to only link to blogs. I also don’t want any software program making my Blogroll linking decisions for me. But maybe I’m just misunderstanding what you mean.

      • I’ll try to explain what I mean, but it probably depends on how you use your blogroll. Let’s say you use it to link to other blogs who you are in contact with. You find a good blog that you like and feel that you want to promote, so you add it to your blog roll because you think it’s something that your readers would be interested in (in addition to your own content).

        Now, when you add the link to your blog roll, it just sits there, right? There’s no check on it ever run to see if the URL is still valid, or if anything’s being done to it. What if that blog is never updated again? Essentially, you’ve provided your users with a dead link.

        But, what if you had a rule in your link management section where you could say, if this blog isn’t updated within X number of days, then remove it from my blogroll. Why? Because by X number of days, you figure your readers have all already had the opportunity to go there and visit that site. If they haven’t updated their content, the only thing you’re providing your users is old news.

        The only reason I mentioned the wordpress limitation is because WordPress may only be able to obtain information regarding update frequencies on blogs they host. Of course you don’t want this limitation, no one does, but it’s a technical one. (And may not even exist, I’m just looking at it from the aspect of how I’d want to do this if I were developing a server-side app).

        Are there other types of automation you could include? Certainly. And this would all be optional. You wouldn’t have software managing your blogroll linking for you, YOU would be doing that. The software would only be pruning based on your instructions.

        How about this, for example: You could say, “Show the following link in my blogroll for X number of days each time a new post is published.” Now if the blog doesn’t post for X number of days, it disappears from your blogroll, but as soon as a new post is published, it reappears. This way, your users are only presented with links to content newer than X number of days (a limit that you determine and you control). No more stale links and stinky old fish articles on your blogroll. Only the best and only the newest appears.

        • Now I understand what you mean. Thanks so much for coming back and explaining.

          No wonder I didn’t identify. I’m a subscriber to the blogs I place on my Links Page (Blogroll) so I wouldn’t need what you describe. However, I can see it could be of value to others.

          I’m also leaning towards what Keith has done ie. eliminating a Links Page (Blogroll) completely, and just continuing to backlink to the most authoritative posts in my own posts, as I do now.

          Keith has said:

          If your content is worthy of a link, then I do it in the content of my article(s), and only when your content is relevant to mine.

  10. This is a good topic for me to read up on, our blog is sort of a “chamber of all” we dont hae a specific topic or theme..well more so about all people, places and things that are in the fashion or what we all like and love. Wondered about exchanging vs one way linking for awhile…i`ve added links of blogs to our blogroll that I frequent, like alot, commented on…etc

    We new at this over its all exciting for me to learn all these different ways….the strategy i`m currently using is simply commenting on blogs of interests or within our niche then add them to our blog…amazingly we have had several inquire about adding us to theirs first (hope thats equally beneficial)….if they add us cool if not thats fine too….there are some people who will even remove a link from there blogroll after you`ve added theirs “whatever thats all about” we would’nt we will keep it on ours.

    So for right now the old fashion way works for us, wold love to learn a few newer strategies so i`ll be following this post to keep up with the jones ;)

  11. My niche has a ton of sites, and the problem is every books blog has a Huge blogroll but if you start clicking on links and find old pages that haven’t been updated in ages and end up thinking ‘why bother’. I’ve tried to solve this by putting my blogroll on a separate page and uses a service called Feed Informer to subscribe to each blog in my blog roll’s RSS feed– so what I am showing is a most recently published first listing of headlines from the leading blogs in my niche as well as some personal favorites. My visitors benefit from seeing current posts at the top of my lists and I only have to check periodically to add great new finds or remove sites that have stopped publishing or that publish too frequently, thus spamming my lists. It seems to work well for me.

    • @Alan
      This is so nice. You are the second person today whose advice I miss hearing who has commented on my blog. :)

      I have never heard of feed informer before. It sounds like a feed aggregation service that’s working well for you. Thanks for the description so I know how it can be used, and as I’m the curious type I may be checking into it when I have the time.

      I also choose to keep my Links (Blogroll) on a separate page. To me it makes little sense to place it in the sidebar and have those links loading every time the front page loads.

      I’ve also backed away from being a member of several blog directories as I came to understand that they send very little traffic to my blog, and were simply a string of little icons sucking Google juice out of my blog and sending it to the directories. Unless one’s blog is on the first page of any given category in a blog directory, the drain of Google juice from the reciprocal backlinking to them is not matched by the niggardly amount of traffic they send to your blog. When I posed the question to Tim Grice he wrote a very interesting blog post called Do Blog Directories Help SEO?

      It was good to see you commenting here and I hope to see you again soon.
      Happy blogging! :)

  12. One of my blogs, Apathetic Lemming of the North, is almost nothing but an interminable set of links. I dignify them with the term ‘micro-review,’ since I discuss whatever I’ve linked to.

    The other two blogs where there’s something like a blogroll, Another War-on-Terror Blog and A Catholic Citizen in America, have stricter rules. The blog, blog post, or website I link to has to have a reasonable connection to the blog’s topic.

    Sure, I’d like places I link to to link back: but that’s an ‘extra.’ I like having online resources that point to related sites and blogs – and think other people have the same preference.

    • @Brian
      It’s so nice to see you commenting on my blog. I’m also glad to hear that you think my emphasis on sharing high quality resource links with readers is a sound approach to blogroll linking.

      In December I decided the time had come to purchase a domain and domain mapping for this blog. Frankly, I waited far too long to do it. If I had done this two years ago then the blog would not now be struggling back up the PageRank ladder from 0/10 back to 4/10, due to the fact that the links and PageRank that had accrued to the root blog’s URL evaporated when the URL changed.

      At that time I also “pruned” my blogroll and let all unrelated blogs go. I felt uncomfortable about considering doing so. However, in the end I made the decision knowing the blogs I had linked to previously didn’t end up with my blog draining their PageRank as it climbed the ladder again under the new URL.

      From here on I am aiming to stick to a link only within my niche strategy on this blog, but I am open to suggestions. On my personal blog I allow far more latitude when it comes to linking. On my little Tumblr blog I entertain myself and a few others so I don’t even have blogroll or comments set up and the fact that I don’t even think about those things when it comes to that blog is liberating.

      I hope you are well and happy, as you are among the few bloggers I left behind on the social forum whose blogging advice I respected and miss hearing. Thank you for commenting.
      Best wishes. :)

    • I agree entirely. I feel that linking should be about providing resources, not something purely designed for drumming up readership. If it has that benefit, well, added bonus!

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