14 Oct 2005

Link Pages are Dead – Long Live Content Pages.

I was reading Rand Fishkin’s SEOmoz blog about what a links page should look like, and it got me thinking…..Link Pages are Dead (actually they’ve been for a while).

Want to see what I’d consider a clear Links Page?

(first know that I’m guilty of creating thousands of these crappy pages in the past…most are gone now)

Bad Link Page Example:
URL: http://www.garden-site.com/links/internet-marketing-links4.html

Title Tag: Internet Marketing Links Page

Page formatting:

Site About Gardening – Internet Marketing Links

SEO Company
Bob’s SEO Company offers SEO Services bla bla bla (find this same description on lots of other pages like this)

SEO Services
Joe offers SEO Services and bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.

Internet Marketing Company
Jim offers internet marketing bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla .

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Ok…you get the idea….now you might agree with the "bad" URL and Title Tag…but you might be asking "what’s wrong with the page formatting?….that’s how everyone does it"

Let me explain my thoughts…..I’m betting that search engines hate pages like the above because it’s just so freaking obvious what the intent of these pages are…..so let’s see, If I were an engine, how would I identify these types of page so I can chuck em out of my index so as to not count these links….hum…we’ll any page with the word "link" in the url or the title tag will knock out 95% of them….I’d agree, it might throw out some "real pages" too…but for the sake of cleaning up, those babbies will be tossed with the bathwater….now…on the the formatting….let’s see….any page which follows this pattern:

Link Text, line break (BR), 4-30 words, new paragraph (p), Link Text, Line break (br), 4-30 words, new paragraph (p), Link text, etc, etc……

yea, that’ll get rid of whatever was missed in our first filter…and yea, it’ll not count a few "real" pages….but again, might be worth the sacrifice.

……ok, I might as well show something better than the old links pages (that are so 2001ish).

Better Resource Page Example:

URL: http://www.gardening-site.com/outdoor-information/tips.html

Title Tag: Gardening tips including info on windchimes, umbrellas, and greenhouses.

Formatting:

7 Outdoor tips and information

The area around your garden can be decorated to make your outdoor experience more enjoyable.

Tip #1. By adding an ornamental windchime to your outdoor area you can enjoy sounds that can be music to your ears. Having a windchime near your garden might also help in scaring away animals which might want to eat your hard earned vegetable that you’ve been planting all year.

Tip #2. Create a nearby area of shade to take a rest in from working in your garden. Patio umbrellas can be a great way to get some releaf from the hot sun. Patio umbrellas can come in several styles and colors to match your outdoor area.

Tip #3. If you want to continue your garden during the winter, you might want to start looking at getting a greenhouse. You can find affordable greenhouses at Bob’s Greenhouses where he stocks several types of greenhouse including large greenhouses and small greenhouses to fit any budget.

Tip 4. If you’re moving plants around you might want to read some expert advice offered at About.com to find information on moving plants from place to place without killing the plants.

Tip 5. The US Government has tips on what types of soil should be used to plant different plants depending on your area. This free planting PDF is offered by Uncle Sam on this .gov page.

Tip 6. Using the right type of gardening tools can make your life easier. Rick’s Garden Tools always offers a big sale on gardening tools during the month of December, but his prices are good year round.

Tip 7. Harvard College did a big study on the health benefits of working outdoors. the study showed bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.  Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bl. bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.  You can find this link to the Study on Harvards’s site right here. bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.

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If you read those tips above, you’ll see I sprinked in some good co-citation as well (.gov’s, edu, expert sites).

The above is not in any way a perfect example…it’s my quick example of "anything" that’s better than the old link, description, link description, link description, etc.  The main idea I’m trying to make is that by focusing on relevance and links within good content is much better than the "old way" of making "links" pages. Link pages are dead. Long live content pages with link embedded within.