I have seen a few questions (Tim from Bloggerista.net) floating out there in regards to the importance and scoring of links in RealRank. We have committed to being open about the system and how it works, so I want to take some time to explain. We assign link scores based on ACTIVE links. We define an active link as a link that has been clicked that day. Google (as far as anyone knows) treats all links as active, regardless of whether they have been clicked or not. I call these dead links.
Why don't we count dead links? We all know that link building is a common practice in the blogoshpere and the web in general. Bloggers and companies alike can build up links over time, regardless of whether or not they have quality content and an actual reader base. You can wind up with hundreds or thousands of links to a site buried in directories, infinitely long blog rolls, comment streams and so on. The bottom line is links without clicks don't really mean much - "dead to me".
I know what you all are saying. "Great, I got on all these blog rolls to pump up my PR and now you are telling me that they don't matter". No, that's not what I am saying. If people are actually clicking on those links then they will be counted. However, I will tell you that most people reading blogs don't click on blog rolls as much as they used to. Remember, RealRank is trying to determine reach and influence, not amount of inbound links. That is the beauty of having real stats.
"Ok, so how do I get active links?" Funny you should ask. I have a thought I'll share:
The Remora Effect
While putting a link in a sidebar may generate a few clicks here and there, the most active links in the blogoshpere are found in the body of a blog post itself. The biggest bloggers ("Whales") have known about the value of active links for quite some time and use this principle to generate blog traffic. The Whales create content so compelling that other bloggers write about it and link back to them ("Remoras"). The post from the Remora is then posted in a trackback, comment or within an update of the post itself. This creates what is called The Remora Effect, a symbiotic relationship creating active links for both the Whale and the Remora. This helps bolster each participant's reputation as an influencer and active participant in the conversation around a topic.
As Colleen proved with her post about the IZEA name change, anyone can be the Whale and anyone can be the Remora. In that case Colleen was the Whale and Robert Scoble was the Remora. The key is content. Great content usually equals great influence.
There are plenty of other ways of getting active links, some more effective than others. I invite you all to share your thoughts in the comments.
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