Linking Protocol: An Activist’s Guide to Proper Link Usage

Link usage and link policy are subjects that we hold dear. Join us today was we give some tips on how link usage can help your activism train running smoothly. Don’t Link has always been vocal about activism and how link policies can stifle activism causes.  As we would love to continue providing important information for the good fight, here are a few tips on how activists can use links properly:

Anchor Texts

If you want to have a healthy Google score, your anchor texts must make sense. The keyword that you use must be in line with the Meta data that is being used or the point that you want to make the most. For example, it would make no sense to make the word “bike” a hyperlink to a site that talk about cupcakes.

From an editorial standpoint, it is an illogical move and Google’s algorithm will take your anchor text and the link it is direction into consideration as it builds your site strength.

Paid Links

If you have ever come across anyone selling links, here is a tip: STAY AWAY FROM IT. There are people out there that promise a boost to your site through massive backlinking. However, these people often do not take special care in thinking of what anchor text to use. Often, they stuff keywords one after another.

Such moves can and will ultimately hurt your site’s standing. When an activist’s website is deemed not credible, not only will that hurt the owner, it hurts the cause as well.

Dead Links

Do not make use of links from places or websites that have gone defunct. It would be wise if you go back to check your old posts every now and then to check the health of the sites that you have linked to. When you find that the links have gone bad, it would be in the best interest of your website to remove them. You can also update them. Just be mindful of not using the same anchor text as you move forward.

Link Policy

All discussions inevitably turn toward linking policies. Do not fall into the pit of strict policies when it comes to sharing your links and information. While it may sound like a good idea, there are ways in which you can have reasonable link policies that do not stifle those that want to share your findings.

Good Luck!

Real Talk: Are All Linking Policies Restricting and Outdated?

We have been going on at some length about linking policies. Does this mean to say that all linking policies are outdated and restricting? Read on to find out.

Don’t Link has given quite a bit of expansion regarding the topic of linking policies that some websites apply to their sites. We do this because some of these websites claim they have linking policies yet do not really have any. For example, Andrew Corporation has stated that it prohibited links to its site without explicit written consent. This is something that you get through their ‘link request form’. However, at the time of viewing, it does not even exist. How do they expect people to be able to link if there is no way to do so?

Other sites like Shell have the same policy. When you are trying to build a site that could be enhanced with information from other sites, how do you go about it responsibly? Does this mean to suggest that most, if not all, site linking policies are restricting and outdated?

Not Really

Just as there are sites that are quite restrictive when it comes to linking to them, there are those that carry a link as you please policy. Policies exist because they are trying to protect something. It would do no good to casually put your content out into the world and expect everyone to treat it with respect. There are those that simply exist to bring about discord.

Even websites that have a link as you please policy will still have some that are within the lines of reason. Here are some of their policies:

Rescind link policy

This is when they see that you link to their website and your site has details or content that is not in line with their values. If such a thing were to occur, they do reserve the right to ask you to take down the link or they will simply cut off your access to that link. This is not as unreasonable as it sounds.

For example, let us say that a wholly religious website finds that their content is being used on a graphic pornography 3rd party site as a joke or with the intent to offend. As the ideas clash with each other and there is basis for offensive usage of content, the rescind link policy kicks into action. This protects the religious site and its content from being abused.

Content limitation

Quotations are often a way of building articles. However, some websites (mostly publications) will ask that you keep quotations to at least below 180 words. This is to give other websites the chance to build their own take on a subject. They will also require proper citation. That is only fair, after all.

The online world is a community and we should all help to keep it healthy and positive. Stealing content is a no-no. Therefore, not all link policies are outdated or restricting. It just serves to keep everyone accountable and responsible.

Do Linking the Right Way: Responsible Linking Tips

As we have been doing deeper discussions regarding odd linking policies, it should follow that we should now be looking toward responsible linking. Join us today as we look at some tips that can help you link properly. This information is also helpful for activists who wish to build their online credibility over time.

When you are in the business of sharing information that people should be able to trust, it is important that when you share links, they should be above board as well. There are a lot of odd linking policies that have been cropping up in the net over the past 10 years or so. Thankfully some of them have changed yet some stubborn ones persist—oh well.

What is important is that we all take the good and use it properly. After all, there is no sense in just proving those people who subscribe to their stupid linking policies right. If you are going to link to a site, here are a few tips for you:

Check their linking policy

Yes, this is the first thing that you must do. There are just some sites whose linking policies end up biting you hard in the long run so it would be smart to just avoid those. You can always check out linking policies in the Terms & Conditions section of a website. This is normally located at the very bottom of every page of the website—that is correct, every page. You only need to scroll all the way to the bottom.

It might be a bit of a read but this is important if you want to stay out of trouble. It should also give you an idea of what sorts of website value the sharing of information and not controlling it. You should also check if the links are working. There would be no sense in studying up on a site’s linking policy if the link is dead in the water. This can end up penalizing your website as well.

Remember, Google does not like dead or broken links (especially those that associate with them).

Brush up on Google’s policy

When it comes to sharing links on your website, it is important to stay on the right side of Google’s policies. This will ensure that your site will remain in the search results and traffic will not get cut off (it has been known to happen). The thing is Google’s policies change all the time—which is why it is doubly important to check in on their policies and adjust your strategies accordingly. If one of their policies state that you should not overload on links, you should follow it.

Putting in too many links in a single article can be suffocating and damage your website’s credibility.

Why is responsible linking necessary?

For one, it keeps you out of trouble. It also helps build a better network of sites that do not go overboard with their linking policies. Putting it into your articles that the websites that you link to allow proper disbursement of their information can help other people as well!

What’s the Hullaballoo about Homepage Linking Preference?

With the whole discussion about linking policies, one of the common points that crop up is the preference of homepage linking. What is behind this particular policy? As always, Don’t Link is your resource for relevant discourse about linking policies and activism.

The past few months we have discussed the concepts of odd and unfair linking policies that hamper the freedom of sharing information from certain websites. It seems that a majority of the websites that have odd linking policies often prefer that users link to the homepage rather than other parts or sections of the website.

What is the homepage?

From a website standpoint, the homepage is the face of a website. A website’s health is predominantly determined by the traffic or activity that it gets. Google tends to base their rankings on the activity that a site’s homepage gets.

Why prefer the homepage as a link?

One of the reasons why a lot of websites have linking policies that only allow third-party websites to link to their homepage is because of site traffic. When people click the link from 3rd party sites that lead into other parts of a particular site, the extra points that drive up traffic and site ranking are given to the 3rd party and not the source website.

With websites coming up with revenue from ads and whatnot, it is critical that they have a lot of traffic. The higher their traffic ranking, the better the chances of more revenue coming in for the site owner! Yes, it all boils down to money in the end.

Content usage control

If it was not for the revenue, they are after controlling the way their information is presented or used. One of the reasons why some sites prefer that only their homepage is linked is because of quality control. There are some websites out there that write damaging reports or even counter what is presented.

Mind you, this discourse is not about boosting the importance of link policy, this is simply a peek at why some websites feel that they should have linking policies. Protecting the image of your brand is good. However, it is when certain linking policies go overboard like asking for personal information that these policies need to be reviewed.

Sites like the one is the American Stock Exchange have been known to prohibit unauthorized hypertext links to their site. There are others like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange that had previously demanded a written license agreement. It is when websites penalize or even threaten of “further legal action” when their linking policies are violated is outright ridiculous.

So while it is understandable why some websites would prefer that 3rd party websites link toward their homepage, it does not follow that they should also try to impose unreasonable rules on those who merely want to refer back to them as a source. In order for information to be fluidly processed by readers, the details should be streamlined. If you are talking about a particular subject, it makes no sense to link to a site that does not support or emphasize the subject that you are tackling. It makes the message disjointed. In the end, not only do those websites with absurd linking policies hurt other sites, they invariably hurt themselves as well.

Stupid Linking Policies: Ways in Which Certain Sites Restrict Information Sharing

We are back this month with more discussions about linking policies and how they restrict users and frankly make very little sense. Once again, linking policies are the rules that websites impose on users regarding the use of their ‘links’ or content. Today, we will be looking into the ways the way sites restrict information sharing through link policies.

There are a variety of ways in websites can impose their rules. Here are a few ways how:

No “Deep Linking”

If you are not aware of the concept, ‘deep linking’ refers to linking to a particular page in a website that is NOT the homepage. In a regular website there is the homepage or often the landing page that greets browsers. If you were to check other information like the “about” page or a particular article on that website and use the URL from those pages as a link, that can land you in trouble.

For example, Kyle has his website named Frog and David wanted to use Kyle’s article on “10 best ways to feed your Frog” as an emphasis to a point he was making on his own website. If Kyle’s website does not allow deep linking, David cannot use the URL of the article he found so useful or interested.

Another example, would be an injury lawyer in Fort Worth looking to have people find his page about his personal injury services to the local Dallas – Fort Worth metroplex. As you can see this link goes directly to an internal page which is considered deep linking.

Request forms

One of the more ridiculous linking policies that still exist today, there are certain websites that require users to fill in a request form that list their full legal name, their physical home address, and many other details just to link to the homepage. And even if you do decide to go through this process, the websites can reserve the right to withdraw your permission without prior notification.

What makes this so sketchy is the fact that these websites do not even say what they do with your information. If there is anything that anyone should protect, it is their personal information as identity theft is a very real occurrence. As these websites actually do not say what they do with your information, it is understandable why written request forms are one of the more dubious linking policies out there.

Written consent

There are websites that require users to wait until they receive express written consent in order to be able to link to their content. As bloggers and other webmasters require doling out fresh and updated content, having to wait for written consent can mean delays which invariably bog down a site’s traffic. When you are on the business of doling out information, being bogged down and waiting for written consent can be such a hindrance.

Such linking policies are devised to keep information monopolized until the pertinent timeframe has passed and the information is not longer urgent.

Some Final Thoughts

Certain link policies are understandable as the way content is reused should be subject to review by the original posters. However, carrying it over to the point wherein they go into asking for personal information without suitable explanation is going overboard. It is all quite ridiculous.

Unchain the Links: Stupid Linking Policies

Welcome back to Don’t Link. Today, we discuss something that is quite near and dear to our hearts: stupid linking policies. We hope you stay a while and pick up a few tips regarding linking ‘laws’.

What is a linking policy?

These are rules that websites impose on people who would wish to make use of a link for another website. To be clearer, let us say that Kyle has a website named Frogs and his friend David would like to use a link from Frog in an article to emphasize a point. If Kyle’s website has a linking policy that allows that to happen, then David will be able to do what he plans to do.

However, if Kyle’s linking policy explicitly prohibits any sort of linking; David will not be able to do what he wanted. If David went ahead and linked anyway, it would be a violation of the linking policy and the link will be removed. There is even possibility of getting sued for ‘copyright’ violations.

This would kind of make sense if the information you are getting is something that may compromise national security of harm another person. However, some sites that are about food or food products have linking policies that prohibit people from linking to their actual website.

If you are a blogger and you wanted to write a glowing review, having a link to the product website would just be plain common sense. If that website has a linking policy that prohibits people from linking to their website, you can end up in some hot water. So you can completely see how linking policies can come off as well…stupid. By not letting people use links to something as simple as a product—unless the patent and component of how to build the product was there—it is pretty much akin to someone asking for directions and the only answer they can give you is “I know where it is but I am not allowed to say where it is”.

One of the reasons why the internet was so revolutionary is because of the ease in which information could be gathered and developed. If websites, particularly those in media, start putting in stupid link policies that prohibit people from freely disbursing information, what good is it? In the next few months, we will be sharing more details and information regarding stupid link policies and how they can affect everyday users and webmasters.

Be the Change: Mistakes You MUST Avoid As an Activist

When you are someone who wants to illicit change in others, you must hold yourself to a higher standard. Today, we will be discussing mistakes that you simply must avoid as an activist. The life of an activist can be quite challenging. In order to become someone who can be trusted enough to boost or push a cause, you must first get yourself in order. The last thing that any cause needs to have is a liability. There are already too many naysayers out there that already shoot down any form of reasoning that is presented to them.

The last thing that any cause needs is to give any sort of ammunition to the opposition. In order to avoid this, consider these as a guide of what you must avoid:

Not fact checking

If there were any two words that would perfectly illustrate the theme of 2017, it would be fake news. This is a common tag that is attached to any report that is contrary or not in line with a person believes. It does not actually help that there are actually false and misleading reports out there.

As an activist, it is important to be responsible about the information that you share. If you ever see any new development about a cause that you care about, take the time to study the source. Are there other ways to check if the information you have is credible? Do not just be another person who reads the headline and automatically presses the “share” button on social media.

There is enough noise out in the world. Any self-respecting activist will make time to ensure that they are not just adding more pointless noise into the already frayed narrative.

Not picking your battles

Not every argument is something that you need to be part of. There are instances where engaging a person whether online or offline does not yield anything positive. It is pretty much like when a person who likes to spew garbage is headed your way. Do you stand there and let the filth pile over you or do you sidestep and just keep going?

Always consider if the person you are engaging can eventually lead into a teachable encounter. Activists aim to empower and to educate not humiliate and badger. If you do not pick your battles, you will end up with a lot of pent-up frustration and aggression.

Not having any consistency

When you are representing a cause, it is important to be consistent with how you portray yourself and what you are fighting for. It will do nothing for your credibility as an activist to claim that you are vegan one moment then be spotted craving for hamburgers the next moment. It also damages the cause that you have declared to be supporting.

Final Points

Avoiding mistakes is fine—what is better is making room for mistakes when they occur. Activism is an ever evolving process and being too rigid will mean that you will not grow. Look out for mistakes but do not be scared of making any yourself. Just be mindful of it all in the end.

Some of the Biggest Lies Told About Activism and Activists

There has always been a sort of negative stigma attached to the phrase “I am an Activist”. Therefore today we will be taking a look at some of the biggest lies ever told about activism and activists.

All activists are violent

This is, by far, the most common lie that is usually spread about activists. They punctuate this claim with the photos of angry picket lines and clashes that somehow turn into riots. If there was anyone who was to see the implied correlation, we would not blame them for thinking that all activists are violent. However the truth is, they are not.

While there are violent activists out there, it is simply unfair and silly to lump them all as one unit. This is like saying when one doctor botched an operation then all doctors botch operations. Or saying that just because one man is a bigot then it automatically follows that all men are bigots—it is just plain ridiculous. Activists come in varying flavors just like any other societal group out there.

While there is no denying that some rallies end up with violence, it is important to take note of the context of that violence. It is not just about who threw the first punch. If that was the case, then the stonewall riots would have just been labeled off as violent acts with no positive aftereffect for the rights of a particularly marginalized group of people.

Activists are all liars

This is actually one of the annoying lies as there are groups out there that lie in order to shock or scandalize people into joining their cause. Lately, there has been so much negative press about PETA and their unethical actions and treatment of animals (which is honestly just rich given they are supposed to be the champions of animals).

PETA is more of a rabid guerilla operation that is high on its own myth that they are saving animals. This does not mean to say that all activist organizations are this way. Much like you do not lump all organizations fighting for a cause as a single unit, other activists and their groups should not have to suffer simply because of a group who has been known to kidnap pets in order to euthanize them.

Activists, the responsible ones, aim to stimulate change for the better. You cannot do that by peddling falsehoods or scaring people into believing your cause.

Activists are in it to profit

Most activist organizations and charities are non-profit. By saying that activists are in it to make money, is just plain ridiculous. Activists put in time, effort, and skills, to raise money for donation. There are established financial institutions that do trace where the money goes. Laws are in place to keep charities from being fronts for money laundering. There are strict measures set in by the organizations themselves to ensure that everything is written in the books and they pass audit year after year.

Hopefully, these truths have helped opened your eyes a bit more.

Activism Heroes…? Celebrities Who Take on Social Issues in 2017

While it is great while the everyday person takes up a cause, it is better to see someone who is on a higher platform to bring awareness. Today, we take a look at the celebrities who use their privilege to fight for good causes.

A lot of people often dismiss celebs as shallow people who only ever care about getting featured in movies or magazines. However, there are a stellar bunch of individuals who take on societal issues that affect everyone. Here are some of them:

Mark Ruffalo

Currently more well-known as the green giant The Hulk for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this guy does more than turn green—he fights for green. Ruffalo constantly updates his followers and fans about the dangers of fracking and other critical environmental issues like oil spills. He is an advocate of clean energy and is a great supporter of The Solutions Project.

Angelina Jolie

An actress that was once no stranger to controversy, she has since been a beacon of strength and a pillar of light for darker issues that permeates the globe. She fights for the rights of children and women who are caught in the middle of war zones. If you catch her directorial debut film entitled In the Land of Blood and Honey, you will see faces to the cause she fights so passionately for.

She also brings awareness to the health issues of Breast Cancer.

Keanu Reeves

While most know him as the badass Neo or the just as awesome John Wick, Reeves has always been one to help others. Generally well-known as a simple man, he often gives away big portions of his lucrative movie paychecks to charity—his one stipulation is that he is not named as the donor as he feels that will take the attention away from the cause.

Emma Watson

A lot of us watch her grow up on the set of Harry Potter so it is an infinite delight that she grew up to be a fine individual. Her causes involve children in the UK and international ones like UNICEF. She is also an advocate for sustainable fashion—something that most large companies want nothing to do with as fast fashion means fast income.

Felix Kjellberg

More commonly known as the YouTube King Pewdiepie, he has had his share of controversy. However, what does not nearly get enough press time is the fact that he has raised millions of dollars for charity. He created a movement called Charity: Water to support locations that did not have access to clean drinking water.

He has also been known to donate large sums of money to the WWF and has used his celebrity status (and games) to bring awareness about AIDS.

Why celebrity activists matter:

They put a bigger spotlight on issues that are pertinent to all of us. As there is more coverage and public fascination with their lives, the issues that they care about get wider press as well. This truly helps to boost awareness and recruits more budding activists to the field.

Activism in 2017: How to Be an Effective yet Responsible Fighter for Your Cause

It seems that you cannot turn on the television without seeing another group with their clashing ideas. It is one thing to express and fight for your beliefs but it is something entirely different to physically hurt others. It is the year 2017 and you would have thought that people would have learned this lesson by now. However, what is evidenced whenever we tune in to the news, this is hardly the case.

This is why it is important to take the time and learn on how you can be an effective yet responsible fighter for your cause. We are not naming any specific cause simply because these tips apply to any cause out there. Everyone has something they believe in, after all. Here are some tips to carry with you when you are thinking of being an activist:

Grieve first

Whenever there is a cause that needs to be fought for, it comes standard that something was offensive to begin with. Feelings are a pretty powerful thing—this is what primarily manages to propel people from their homes into the streets. However, as useful and driving emotions are you need to grieve first. It is completely fine to be in shock but you should not use it as a stick to beat other people with.

You need to sort out your shock and your anger before you start going out into the world. While it is fine to be angry, you should not carry it with you. This is what causes the clashes and unfortunate injuries and casualties. Your cause will suffer if your actions do not back up what you are fighting for. Remember, before you go out, you need to grieve first.

Get organized

Before you start to make your placards and signs, it would be foolish to simply go out where “a gathering is going to be”. You need to establish an actual support system. Find groups that are legitimate and share the same values as you. It would not be healthy or ethical to join a group that advocates for violence or further hatred.

This is something that must be done with care. There are, sadly, fake groups that seek to malign you once you share your opinions and use your social media to get in touch. Visit public groups and read old posts. See how certain groups respond to hatred. This can help give you a standard to uphold.

Know your limits and capability

You do not have to support your cause in the same way that others do. There is simply no sense in forcing people to do so. However, there are a lot of ways in which you can support your cause. Find out what you are able to do: coordinate, offer legal advice, be an interpreter, etc.

Do not give into pressure of doing more for the cause than what you are comfortable with. Keep these pointers in mind and you can truly be an asset to your cause instead of a liability.

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