The Expertscolumn writing guidelines limit you to a maximum of three backlinks within the text of your article. I can understand the reasoning for this, since links can so easily be abused. Some people have tried inserting many links to try and improve the rating the page gets from the major search engines such as Google, but Google are wise to this tactic and downgrade the page if there are too many links, and even the entire website if there are too many offenders. Too many articles with too many links might mean Expertscolumn gets written off as a ‘content farm’ and penalised in Google search rankings.
Another abuse of links is to entice the reader to click on them and go to another site. I assume that Expertscolumn would like readers to read the entire article before going elsewhere, and importantly also the adverts and the list of similar articles.
For both these reasons Expertscolumn is right to limit the number of links, but is the current limit of only three too low? I think that it is. One reason is that an authoritative article should link to its sources (where those are online sources) and Expertscolumn wants to host authoritative articles where facts can be justified, don’t they?
However that’s not the way in which I’ve fallen foul of the three link rule. I want to post articles about places I’ve visited, usually historic sites. These sorts of articles are best if they are accompanied by photographs but since Expertscolumn doesn’t host pictures embedded directly into the articles using the HTML image tag, the only way to include pictures seems to be to host them on a site such as Photobucket and include them as links. A comprehensive article about a complex historic site might well need more than three photographs to illustrate it, forcing the author either to compromise on which pictures to include or include them all and breach the three link rule. In my article on the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut (in Egypt) I chose the latter (though I was careful to make the links the type that open as a new window rather than taking the reader away from the original page)
I have now been asked to cut back the number of links in that article, in a message from the site admin. I have replied, stating my case for having more than three links. We shall just have to see what happens next. Will the admin engage in a discussion and consider the merits of this type of illustrated article, or will it simply be deleted? Please take a look at the article in question and let me know via the comments whether you think this use of links for photographs is justified or not.