Understanding The Importance & Challenge Of Getting Inbound Links

With the advent of Google’s Link Popularity algorithm, people began to aggressively hunt for the almighty inbound links.

It is hard to get links back to one’s site using freebie strategies unless you want to spend your days posting comments on guestbooks and setting up your own doorway pages on alternate sites.

Google made this a bit tougher. Google started using a second algorythm called PageRank. PageRank is a system that has been designed with the intent of valuing the importance of a page in the Link Popularity calculations. No longer does the sheer number of links to a site matter. Instead, one must look at the quality of the websites that link to their site.

This is the reason why posting comments on guestbooks barely gets noticed. These are not quality links.

In this age of multiple domains on a single webserver, Google has taken this into account too. If one has a hundred domains on the same server, pointing back and forth to each other, this is of no real value either as far as Google is concerned.

What is important to them is when sites that have been given a PageRank of at least 1, and those sites point to another site that does not reside on the same I.P. address or webserver. As far as Google is concerned, this is usually another unrelated person who is pointing to a valuable resource. That is why this type of link has a better overall value to Google.

Anything else is looked upon as an attempt to skew the search results without good cause.

Google realizes that we all have the need to promote ourselves, and that we will do so with our own selfish interests at heart. Our own selfish interests do not necessarily reflect the interests of Google’s search users. So, Google works hard to weed out our selfish attempts at shoddy self-promotion.

The Concept Of Reciprocal Linking

When webmasters realized the complexities of the Google ranking systems, they began to understand that they needed to go off of their own server to find those all-important inbound links.

Always looking for the easy way, many webmasters turned to reciprocal linking strategies. Those who are selling these concepts are doing so on the premise that it is an easy and inexpensive way to build inbound links.

To get the reciprocal link, you are supposed to go to the search engines and find a site that looks like it has content similar to yours, but not a direct competitor.

Next, you should check to see that the site you are looking at has a PageRank of 1 or higher.

Then, you are to put a link to that site on your own domain.

Once you have completed the above steps, you are to contact the webmaster that owns the site you just linked to and to tell them nicely that you have placed a link to their site, and would they be kind enough to put your link on their website?

TIP: My site clearly states that “I do not do reciprocal linking, so do not ask.” Believe it or not, I get a half dozen requests every week for reciprocal links. Not only do I know that they did not read my policy on reciprocal links which is linked to from my contact page, I also know that they did not look at my site when they are telling me that my site is related to theirs. {Smile}

Read the site policies at the web sites you visit, and you might be able to save yourself some time.

A week after you have done your linking campaign, you must go back to the sites you contacted to see if your link is on their site. If it is not, then you take their link off of your site.

The Lie Of Reciprocal Linking Strategies

The people who sold you on reciprocal linking policies have usually done so in order to sell you an ebook or their services. Often, they will tell you that it is a simple and inexpensive way to improve your inbound links and link popularity.

They are selling a lie, and let me tell you why.

Most sites that will agree to exchange links with you will do so only if they have a PageRank of less than one, or if your PageRank is equal to or higher than theirs.

If your site or their site has a PageRank of less than one, then the other has not really gained any real value from the exchange. (Some people, even I have recommended that PR4 should be the baseline, but I have seen evidence of PR1, PR2 and PR3 pages giving value to my websites. So, I have changed my recommendation. Additionally, any page that rises above PR0 will frequently climb even higher down the road.)

It takes a lot of time to find people who will link to you, and it takes even more time to validate that the link remains active.

Google has caught onto the reciprocal linking schemes too and has started to penalize sites that provide two-way links to each other, although the penalty is not as drastic as other penalties can be.

I still have a few two-way links on my own domains, but that is fine, as they are not for the benefit of the search engines, but for the benefit of my visitors.

Personally, my time is much too valuable to play the reciprocal linking game. That is something that you should consider as well.

How long does it take you to score one reciprocal link of any real value? How much is your time worth to you? How many dollars do those link exchanges add to your bottom line?

In the end, it is about money, and how much money you are generating for the time spent. After all, your time is worth something too, right?

Treat yourself right. How much is your time worth? an hour? an hour? an hour? Now, calculate how many hours you have spent on getting one reciprocal link that actually sent you one visitor.

Let’s suppose that your time is worth an hour. And let us further suppose that it takes you 3 hours to get one quality link to your website. That link has cost you . Now how much traffic does that link send you?

If your reciprocal linking efforts cost more than they return, then they are a fool-hearty adventure.

There Is A Better Way

You should not be wasting your time generating reciprocal links. Instead, you should be expending your time and resources generating one-way inbound links.

Imagine this. Suppose you could send out an advertisement for your business that had a link back to your website included in it. And suppose you would not have to beg or pay big bucks to get your ad published in ezines or on websites. And then suppose that the publishers and webmasters who saw your ad would be clammoring to put it into their ezines or on their websites, at no additional cost to you.

Can you imagine that being possible?

Well, it is possible. And it happens everyday.

Consider this. You are reading this article right now because you are hoping that I can teach you something about how to make your business more profitable.

And, you are reading this article in an ezine or on a website right now.

Here is the deal. I am attempting to teach you how to do something or about something. It does not matter what I am teaching, so long as the topic of the article appeals to your interests right now, and it is of interest to the people who, like you, are most likely to visit my site and buy my services.

The ezine publisher or the webmaster read this article and felt that it could be helpful to you and your goals. So, they published it and made it available to you for your review.

When you reach the end of this article, you will see a nine line by 65 character wide advertisement for my own business. In short, it is called the “Resource Box” or the “About the Author Information”.

If I did my job well by attracting the interest of publishers and webmasters and selling them on the idea of publishing my article, and then attracted your attention to this article, I will see the benefits of this endeavor.

If at the conclusion of this article, you feel educated or entertained, then you will be more likely to read my Resource Box and visit my website. Perhaps, you might even decide that you would like to use my services to promote your own business. {Smile}

If the publisher or webmaster who printed this article is following the rules of publication, then you will be able to click on the link to my website in the Resource Box.

Please note that I have not included a single link in the body of the article. Links inside an article should be directed only to third-party websites that provide a resource that will support the context of your article.

You Can Do This Too

I tell people all of the time that they can write articles too. Many don’t believe me, but it is true. Everyone has something that they can teach to someone else.

If you honestly feel that you cannot write your own articles, then pay someone to write them for you. If you can write your own basic and specialized knowledge down on paper, you can hire others to edit it into an article that will be published.

When you have an article of good quality, you can either submit it yourself to publishers and webmasters as a free-reprint article, or you can pay someone who specializes in that activity to do it for you.

In The End…

In the end, you will have your own articles in circulation that will be published in ezines and on websites. Ezines can send you a sudden flood of traffic, and websites can deliver the all-important one-way inbound links that you need to grow your link popularity and to bring potential customers to your website.

And guess what else? Once your article gets into circulation as a free-reprint article, it can continue to be republished for years to come, generating new traffic and sales for years to come.

Contrary to the results that are being generated from reciprocal linking, free-reprint articles will actually permit you to earn more money from your promotions than it will cost you to run your promotions.