It doesn’t send me any visitors, but is it still worth having a link from?

Yesterday’s article, about the old “our site doesn’t show up in Google Analytics” routine, generated a lot of emails and comments from you, most in recognition that you’re not alone in being plagued by this nonsense. One reader described how he’d been approached by a magazine web site offering traffic figures recorded with a system “which anyone with access to the internet knows doesn’t exist”. He continued: “One of them even sent an extract of data from this powerful system which was no more than an Excel spreadsheet that had some numbers typed in manually.”

You couldn’t make it up, could you? Although I guess that’s exactly what our telesales caller had been doing.

However, on a slightly more serious note, another reader asked: “What about the link value of being on these sites, even if they don’t actually send through any worthwhile traffic? Is that worth paying for in itself?” A good point: as we all know, links are the “currency” of Google, and more external linking means higher rankings in the search results. One thing I would try, if the site you’re thinking about already links to you, would be to look up your inbound links in Open Site Explorer and find the relevant site there. Click on the site to reveal its “Page Authority” (an arbitrary but useful gauge of the strength of the link for search engine ranking purposes). This should give you a good idea of how valuable the link is. Also, take a look at the source code of the linking page, and find the link to you. If it’s some bizarre redirection, or has a “nofollow” tag (like Wikipedia links do), it may be no use at all. Insider Programme members who would like some help with assessing the value of any external sites should send me an email with the name of the site(s) concerned and I’ll take a look.

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