One subject that I seem to get asked a lot about is links. Is it better to buy links, reciprocate links, or to just try to create linkbait? Is a paid link better than a natural link? Are reciprocal links dead? Is this link stronger than that link? There are a lot of factors that go into assessing the value of a link and without knowing more I am unable to give a straight answer to any of these questions.
For this reason I am going to attempt to answer all of these questions in a series of 5 posts, but before I started lets break links down into 4 categories. These categories define the method used to obtain the link. The categories are as follows:
Have you ever been emailed by a webmaster asking for you to link to their website and in return they will link back to your website? This is considered reciprocal linking; it is when website A links to website B and website B links back to website A. Some people consider this method of link building to be ineffective, while others claim to have great results with it.
Websites out on the web (usually high PageRank sites) sell text links for X-XXXX amount of dollars per month. These text links are usually purchased in hopes that the link will help a site increase its’ rankings on the search engines. You probably have seen these links on websites, they are usually found in the sidebar of a website right underneath a heading called “sponsored links” or something similar.
Linkbaiting is a method of building links at an accelerated pace. It could be by scooping news or by leveraging the new mediums out their, such as digg and del.icio.us. In most cases it is facilitated by writing good content, doing something controversial or performing some sort of act that causes others to want to link to you. Most of the time it is blogs that participate in the linking process, but nonetheless the links can be effective.
Many people feel that trying to obtain links is manipulative and that people should just concentrate on writing good content and building a great service/product. Those are the two main ways people who believe in organic growth obtain links “naturally” and it has worked wonders for many bloggers and web 2.0 companies.
Understanding and choosing between these link building methods may seem complicated, but it does not have to be. Based on your goals and constraints finding the right solution should not be a problem. It could mean picking 1 of the 4 methods or even using 2 or more of the methods at once.