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The Blog and the Nature of Natural Linking
By Bill Platt,
the Phantom Writers

A lot of people are talking, and few of them know, the soul of a search engine was created in the blog.

There has been a lot of talk about Natural Linking. From Oakland (Ask Jeeves), Sunnyvale (Yahoo!) and Mountain View (Google), California, all of the search engine companies are talking more publicly about Natural Linking.

Why Is Linking Important?

The whole concept of linking in the eyes of the search engine companies is that when Site A links to Site B, then Site A is making a personal recommendation of Site B. Because Site A is willing to put their reputation on the line to share the story of Site B, the search engines have determined that Site B MUST be of higher value than Site C.

Google established their PageRank system a few years back based on this conceptual idea. Over the past few years, the other search engine companies have begun to adopt the linking model in their attempt to catch up with Google's lead in the marketplace.

Because the search engine companies want to provide the best possible results to their users for a particular search, they have all climbed on the concept of link counting to determine the value of the sites that they are recommending to their users.

What Is Natural Linking?

The idea behind "Natural Linking" is that you can have for example five people linking to the same site giving the site a recommendation via the hyperlinked text.

The hyperlinked text is any text that appears between the <a href=> and the </a> tags. When used in a HTML document, the hyperlinked text in the viewable webpage becomes a live clickable link like this: Blogger.com. When viewing this link from within the HTML coding, it will look like this:
<a href=http://Blogger.Com>http://Blogger.Com</a>.

Each webmaster who decides to link to an invidual website has a different idea and reasoning as to why his or her visitors should look at the site they are recommending. As a result, each webmaster will outline their reasoning within their links to your website.

In our example, we have five Site A's pointing to Site B:

Example Site One will put the following on their site:
<a href="http://Blogger.com">Easy to Use Blogging Software</a>

Example Site Two will put the following on their site:
<a href="http://Blogger.com">Blogger.com - Owned by Google</a>

Example Site Three will put the following on their site:
<a href="http://Blogger.com">Get a FrŽe Blog for Your Website</a>

Example Site Four will put the following on their site:
<a href="http://Blogger.com">Bloggers Love Blogger.com</a>

Example Site Five will put the following on their site:
<a href="http://Blogger.com">Fully Featured Blogging Software</a>

Each webmaster in this example has shown their users why they should visit Blogger.com. In doing so, each of them has shown their link using their own descriptive text. It is this "descriptive text" that the search engines view as "natural links".

So, "Natural Links" are links that are created by individual webmasters and not by Site B's owner. In the eyes of the search engine programmers, these links will likely have a more accurate representation of the content that appears on a website. And the search engine masters understand that a stranger is always more honest in his representations than the webmaster trying to promote his own website.

What Does Natural Linking Have To Do With Blogs?

Over the last few years, you have read many an article from people pitching the importance of the blog in the search engine optimization game. But, do you know why blogs have become so important to the search engine companies?

Natural Linking

When all is said and done, the text within a link has been given more weight in the search engines than the real content on a webpage.

I heard the guffaws in the audience. I can see the look of utter disbelief on your faces as you sit in front of your computer staring incredulously at my comments.

But, wait. I can actually prove this to you.

Come back when you are done, but do click this link to view the search results for the Worst President: http://google.com/search?q=worst+president

Did you notice the results in search result Number 1? Did you go to the webpage to see if you could find the word "worst" in the text? I did too. And guess what. I could not see the word "worst" in the text either.

The same search with a slight variation, searching for the Worst President in History puts the same page in search result #4.
http://google.com/search?q=worst+president+in+history

This Is The True Power Of Blogs

The search engine companies put far more value in the natural link text than they put in the terms that show up within a webpage! The bloggers are the ones who have said that George W. Bush is the worst president in history. And, I will bet that they get a great chuckle every time someone like me points out their accomplishments.

The reason why the blogs are the best new resource of the search engines is because blogs use natural linking far more often than regular website pages.

The Challenges Facing Us Now

As we move forward to promote our website in the here and now and tomorrow, we must keep in mind the need for natural linking. The challenge for us is how to communicate our sales messages in such a way that links to our websites are perceived by the search engines as natural links.

As we face this challenge, we should consider giving other people more leeway in how they post a link to our websites. If you are using reciprocal links or paid advertising, you should by all means give the person showing your ad several choices for your advertisement. If you are using reprint articles to promote your online business, you should find a way to offer publishers and webmasters multiple article resource boxes, or you should just give them more free reign in developing another natural link to your website.

Good luck in your linking endeavors.

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