What is Link Love? Why does it make a difference to bloggers?

Like many bloggers, I rethink everything I do here so much. This vacation was no exception.

But when I came home to see this link on my rss reader, it brought tears to my eyes.

Bloggers, beginners, and anyone creating a Web 2.0 website, links mean a lot to bloggers. And this link is especially precious because it is what I aspire to be.

So, I want to give a shout out to all of you who commented while I was away (I'll be responding soon) and to all of those who offer encouragement.

Thank you perkone, we all need encouragement sometimes. I just want to make sure that I return the favor.

I hope you'll take some time this week to find a blogger who needs encouragement (I love to find beginning bloggers) and comment or link to their blog.

Many people don't understand how the technorati authority rating system works. The Authority rating system is determined by how many BLOGS have linked to you not how many links have.

This is why I have a long blogroll and it will get longer soon when I update it to pull from the education folder in my google reader, which has a lot of new bloggers in it.

Using an automatic list from your feed reader lets you add new people automatically and help those in the edublogosphere climb in authority.

Although many people don't like the technorati authority system, for now it is what we've got. (See Scott McLeod's recent post on the top Edublogs — it is based on Technorati Authority ratings.)

Really, I think the most important thing about it is that I want to help people who are not sponsored by anyone but just blogging as individuals climb in the rankings because teachers with more authority in the blogosphere will soon have more authority in their offline world. (As soon as people really understand what blogs are — and it is happening as we speak.)

So, give a little link love and help others climb in their authority. But to do it, you've got to have a blog! ;-)

Now, I will tell you that I don't really like the linkshare services. I think that someone's blog roll should mean something. Unfortunately, many bloggers do that sort of thing which makes it harder for average every day folk to climb in authority.

It is not a perfect system but understanding how it works may affect how you set up your linkroll.

If you want to help edubloggers and like them, the nicest thing you can do is to link to them.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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Aimee "Roo" June 11, 2008 - 3:56 am

I’ve noticed some blogs don’t even offer blog rolls anymore. I try to link to those I love because I know how important it is, but also because I really like what they are doing.

Good tips about Technorati though.

Anonymous June 11, 2008 - 4:31 am

Technorati used to actually mean something back when most bloggers had blogrolls. These days it doesn’t mean squat. Largely because most really savvy web users get their blogs via RSS subscriptions. And given how few bloggers still use blog rolls, inbound links are largely coming back in the form of references to posts. Additionally, with so many of us bookmarking, inbound links from other blogs is becoming a thing of the past.

It’s cool that you just *discovered* technorati but I’d argue that you’re wrong when you say “many people” don’t know what this is. Who are many people? People who aren’t online? If we’re talking about people who aren’t following blogs then Technorati would mean exactly zero.

Technorati is old skool but it simply doesn’t measure a whole lot in relation to the various ways people are accessing blogs.

Jason Welker June 11, 2008 - 6:42 am

HI Viki,
I find it interesting that the highest ranked “edublogs” on Technorati are blogs about using technology in education, rather than blogs that are actually being used in education. The reason for this is clear, ed tech people read one another’s blogs and link to them. Teachers who blog for their students and peers in their own subject area may have many many readers and commenters, but very few links to their blogs, thus their technorati ranking remains low.

Links are important, but unless I’m blogging about the same things that all the other ed tech people are blogging about, links to my site will remain few. If I blog about a particular subject area and do it well, have lots of readers and commenters who aren’t themselves bloggers, does that mean my blog is not an excellent edublog?

Technorati is certainly flawed in the edublog world in that it doesn’t account for readership or participation through comments. The blogs that write ABOUT using technology in education end up with the highest rankings, while those that are actually being used for education wallow in the double digits! Don’t get me wrong, I dont blog for the ranking, I’m just saying… ;o) ~Jason

Nicole June 11, 2008 - 12:41 pm

As someone new to blogging, I appreciate this post. There is so much I am still trying to figure out. I frequently look at blogrolls just so I can see what is out there. I can’t believe how much I have learned already. Thanks again!

Alfred Thompson June 11, 2008 - 1:45 pm

I try to link to as many other useful blog posts as possible. I seldom write a post that doesn’t links somewhere and if I can send some traffic to another blogger I am happy to do so. I don’t see this as a zero sum game. We are all building the total audience more than we are keeping a piece of it to ourselves. And of course I really appreciate getting links to my blog.

Links also help search traffic so if someone writes something really useful I want to make sure that shows up when people search on that topic. Links are what makes the web the web and by linking to the best information we make it work better.

Vicki A. Davis June 11, 2008 - 6:11 pm

Aimee –
I know that many don’t offer blogrolls, I’m not sure why. RSS readers export them automatically for you. I do it because it is good blog citizenship and helps my fellow educators who may not get a lot of links.

Anonymous –
to say I just discovered Technorati is so far off — blogged about it for some time. I find your comments pretty condescending.

Yes – Technorati is so flawed — unfortunately the rest of the world lags behind early adopters quite a bit and many people do look at it. It helps teacher bloggers offline to have some authority — I can attest to that. It just does, whether we like Technorati or not.

The problem is many people don’t understand how it works. I also follow and google my name to find bloggers who are writing about stuff on my blog and a surprising number of teachers aren’t using hyperlinks at all. I find technorati most useful for the backlinks and when others ping technorati it makes me easier to find them.

The biggest issue I have with technorati is that there isn’t a lot of room for the individual blogger now with group blogs full of paid professionals jumping in. Doesn’t leave much for the individual but that is OK.

If I or any other blogger blogs because of technorati rankings or any other popularity reasons — they are blogging for the wrong reason. I have my reasons for blogging and it it is to help others and learn a lot myself.

I think that we’re seeing a new influx of edubloggers right now and it helps to have information for beginners available.

And when I talk about “many” I’m talking about new edubloggers coming on board. My focus is teachers and helping the edublogosphere.

@jason – Yes, the nature of the beast is that technology blogs tend to get more links but in education that needs to change. It is time for the science bloggers and history bloggers and english bloggers to come on and talk about their practice. And it is time for them to also understand how to link to one another and write properly for the internet. It needs to move past the technology, most certainly. It is about connecting teachers to share best practice. We have got to do a better job of it and do more!

@nicole – It is kind of poetic to see your comment just after the previous commenter — I was so glad for the experts who explained things to me, the beginner. Some people in Web 2.0 assume that everyone just “gets” web 2.0 — there are growing numbers of beginners out there trying to separate the hype from everything else. Please ask if there is anything you don’t understand… I’d love to help. This is a place where beginners are welcome.

@alfred – You get it and understand that linking to one another helps us ALL. It is something we should do to support one another and help each other – NOT just because of Technorati but because it enriches the conversation. Thank you for being a constant encourager to me and a great blogger and I look forward to seeing you at NECC.

Cory Plough June 12, 2008 - 12:43 am

Hey Vicki- Another thoughtful post to advocate for the younger, less “popular” bloggers. Its really hard getting people to read your blog because so many are coming everyday that eventually people feel like they just can’t add anymore to their feed reader. I have 60 subscriptions and find more everyday I want to read. My feed reader jumps to 250 in less than 3 days of non activity.
I teach online at a really progressive, yet heavily flawed school. Adds for a somewhat unique perspective so Im going to try and link you to my blog again. I tried this before when I commented on your post Why I Think More Teachers Don’t Share Their Blog With Others but Google ate up my comment :) The Next Step

shegstrom June 18, 2008 - 3:54 pm

Vicky, Thank you, for some reason whenever I get the blog doldrums, you write a blog like this and I know things will get better. It is hard to find new topics and I do rethink everything I write and live for a comment, who knew a comment would become so important to me, but when I see one or two comments on one of my posts, it is very exciting. I just wish blogger.com had a way of responding to your commenters with a word of thanks. Linking truly is the key and I try to do it often, hopefully, I will have more meaningful things to say in the future so I can watch my own link count climb :) Another great post!

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