Hot Linking is Good

I will show you…
1. What is hot linking?
2. Why is hot linking is good?
3. How do I make hot linking even better?

 

1. What is hot linking?
Hot linking is taking embedding an image (or movie) from another website in another website.  For example, this Google logo is actually hosted on Google’s server, not this one.

 

2. Whis is hot linking good?
Hot linking is good for the same reason that normal linking is good.  The more links that you have to a site, the more search engine love you get.  It’s kind of similar to the old saying, “No press is bad press as long as you spell my name right”.

Historically, a lot of people got mad over hot linking.  This is because hot linking uses a websites bandwidth.  Bandwidth is basically how much data they can send over a month. 5 – 10 years ago bandwidth was A LOT more expensive.  So if somebody was using your images without you getting any good thing from it, you would employ some anti-hot linking tricks to block them.  Some websites would even redirect the image to funny or nasty images to teach the hot linkers a lesson.

Nowadays for a few dollars a month you can get a ton of bandwidth, in some cases even close to unlimited.  So if it doesn’t cost you anything, and you get some added love from the search engines then let the people hot link!

3. How do I make hot linking even better?
The only thing better than free incoming links to a website is “free targetted incoming links”.  How do you guarantee those?  Well, you can’t, but you can definitely increase your odds by “Suggesting” links.   To suggest targetted links you need to do 2 things.

a. Add your link above or below (or to the side) of your original image.  Do it the same way YouTube let’s you grab the code to embed a video.  Don’t make the user search for it.  Also put the code into an HTML text box so that they can easily grab it all without copying extra bits of HTML.
b. Add ”Alt” and “Title” text to the image.  This is very important as it tells the search engines, especially Google, what it is linking to.  Targetted links are worth more than 10 untargetted links.  See the examples below

bad
<a href=”URL”><img src=”IMAGE SRC” /></a>

GOOD
<a href=”URL”><img src=”IMAGE SRC” alt=”A small image description” title=”The image’s title” /></a>

(optional) c. Attach “Meta” data to the image.  Each image can store extra “Meta” data.  Meta data is basically just added descriptions such as title, description, date created, author, etc…  Search engines will be looking at this more in the near future but if you wanted to get a head start you can start adding this.  There are various free tools, if you don’t mind free tools from Microsoft I suggest Microsoft Photo Info.

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