When it comes to connections, clients have personal requirements about the who, what, and where of connecting to third party websites. I’ve taken the connections style guides from several clients and identified trends and resources explaining their importance to your mum (if she had a website).

A Third Party Site Should:

1. Not have questionable outgoing links.

2. Not have a blog roll with unnatural links.

3. Not have a “Links” section that offers to add your site just by emailing them or signing up.

4. Not have a section titled “Purchase Links” or anything similar, sponsored posts, paid posts, etc.

5. Have a sole purpose beyond content marketing.

This can typically be signified by excessive use of categorization of content on sites and the quality of all other content on the site. Example: theonlinecentral.com

Would you let your mum walk down a bad neighborhood at night? Then you shouldn’t let her link to one of these sites either. A content marketing website is likely to be bursting at the seams with links to spammy, low quality sites. Typically these types of sites contain poorly written English, links to bad neighborhoods and only commercial links, all of which inherently lower the value of a site. Also, there’s probably very few people reading and sharing the content on these sites.

If anyone can get a link there, they will. Where’s the value?

6. Be relevant to the client’s industry and/or line of business.

7. Not be a porn, payday loan, gambling or pharmaceutical site.

8. Not link to gambling/poker, porn, payday loans or other “risky businesses.”

Whoever links to your site will help Google define what your page is about. If you have high quality links coming to your page and those links are also similar to your subject search engines will rank you higher for that subject.

Your mum’s site is now judged to be somewhat about porn if many sites that link to her also link to porn websites.

Disclaimer: If your mum has a porn site then she won’t be judged by Google (or me) for linking to other porn sites because they are on-topic to her site.

9. Must rank for keywords.

Tell your mum that if a website doesn’t rank for any keyword terms in search engines then it won’t appear for non-branded queries in SERPs. And if that’s the case, how is a link to your mum’s site ever going to get SERP traffic?

10. No more than 30% of links within one order can be placed on websites that share the same IP address.

11. Not to be a part of a Network of blogs.

In case your mum didn’t know, Google simply hates blog networks because their purpose is to manipulate rankings and cheat Google. If your mum caught you cheating what would she do?

The identifying marks of a blog network post are:

  • Low end content and a default blog template.
  • Categories are plentiful and not related (ranging from death to spaceships).
  • There is rarely an about section or means of contact.
  • A ton of exact-match anchor text pointing to sites at random.

The Published Content Must:

12. Be unique.

“In some cases, content is deliberately duplicated across domains in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings or win more traffic. Deceptive practices like this can result in a poor user experience…In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.” –Source

13. Create content that is relevant to the client and the host site.

14. Include facts, tips and/or stories that provide value to the reader.

15. Make the content informative and/or entertaining.

16. Write with proper grammar, spelling and mechanics.

Alexi, your mum’s new favorite child. Even though Alexi is explaining content from a site owner’s perspective, this should give your mum an idea of what to write and what bloggers are looking for.

Hopefully you and your mum both learned something from this list.