Saturday, February 16, 2008

What are links and why do we have them?

If you have visited our web pages more than once, you may see a page identified in one way or another as containing "links".

In many ways, links are the lifeblood of the web. With literally billions of web pages, how do you find the one you are looking for? Well, you can enter a known address (or URL) in the browser and go directly to it.

If you don't know the address, or can't remember it, you must turn to a search engine. Google is the most popular, although there are many more.

So how does Google sort out from all the web sites available, the ones that are most likely to have the information you are looking for?

For any given search term there may be hundreds of web sites that could apply. Of course, the more specific your search phrase, the less guessing room there is for Google. For example, "pot" will get you one result. "Pottery" will get something else. Native American pottery will get you yet another result. And so forth.

Which brings us to "links."

They work at least two ways.

First is that they give you someplace else to look if you don't find your answers on one web site. Look on their "links" page, if they have one, and they may list a number of similar sites that require nothing more than a click from you to take a look. The links list usually includes a short description of the content on the other end of the link. Moreover, the links listed are supposed to have been vetted by the site that lists them. They should be sites that the site owner trusts more than others.

That leads to the second role played by "links". Since it is almost impossible to know which web sites are the best matches for any given search phrase, the search engine relies heavily on what other web sites think are the most appropriate sites for any subject. It's almost as if the link is a vote of confidence from the web community. Therefore, the more links a web site has, the better suited it should be answer any particular question.

That's the theory. Practice often is different. There are web sites that sell links and others that have more than hundreds or thousands of links. These links are disorganized and hardly votes of anything except avarice or attempts to "game" the link system.

Nevertheless, links can be important assets for web sites and for web searchers when all these caveats are considered. If you are on a site that has no links, ask yourself why. If there are pages and pages of links, ask yourself why. If there are a few well-organized links for sites of appropriate subject to the site you are on, they can be excellent guideposts to save you time and send you to trusted sites.

We have four web sites that feature various aspects of tribal art.

ZuniLink.com presents a wide range of authentic hand-carved fetishes, or spirit figures, from Zuni and other Native American carvers. The carvings are believed to have spiritual powers of protection, healing, cunning, wisdom and other valuable qualities.

TribalWorks.com is more like a tribal pot-pourri with sections devoted to Australian Aboriginal art, Arctic art, African tribal art and Native American Navajo folk art. Each item has been hand selected by me and Susanne as something we like well enough to keep.

Native-JewelryLink.com, as its name implies, offers beautiful jewelry in silver and gold, with turquoise, coral and other lapidary materials such as lapis, malachite, opal and sugilite. Every piece isl handmade with great care and devotion to the art.

Finally, Native-PotteryLink.com is a feast of authentic Native American Indian Pueblo pottery, created by hand-coiling, hand-firing, hand-painting and polishing in the finest traditions of Native American pottery. (incidentally, there is a 20% to 40% off sale currently in progress at Native-PotteryLink.com)

Each of the sites includes a page of links that we have found to be generally appropriate and trustworthy. Of course, there is no way to guarantee that nothing has changed with any of these sites since we last reviewed them. The only thing we can guarantee is the quality of our own offerings. Which we do by giving you a 10-day period after you receive it in which to return any item from us.

1 comment:

BeverlyKayeGallery said...

Hello:
I really like the way you have divided your links, which is a timesaving boon!
My gallery deals in Outsider and Self-taught art, but we recently added a link to a collection of vintage Pueblo pottery, collected in the 80's and the 90's. Just click on the pot on the first page and the link will appear.
Best regards,
Beverly Kaye