Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Take Link Building Up a Notch

Just about every day I receive a number of requests to trade links with other websites. These usually come from people trying to do link building for a client, and the default method they use is link exchange.

These people are building links by using link exchange. Pretty boring, right. Lots of would be experts say link exchange or "reciprocal linking" is dead, worthless, has no value.

Even though I don't completely agree, I stopped doing link exchange quite a few years ago. Why? Because exchanging links seems like a really inefficient way to spend your time.

Why is it inefficient? First because link pages have no inherent value. You can compare link building to putting up election signs. Putting links on link pages is just like putting your signs in special plots reserved just for collections of election signs. Imagine how it would go. You go down the street knocking on doors and you ask "Do you mind if I put up one of my signs on you lawn? I'd really appreciate it." People respond by saying, "Sure that would be fine. We have a special place for signs around back." And they lead you to their little fenced in area out behind the tool shed reseserved for election signs.

Of course nobody except other sign pounders ever looks at the signs in the special plot behind the tool shed. Just like nobody ever looks at your links on link pages.

So why bother doing it?

Well, you might argue that the Search Engines have made even these links worth something by making a website's inbound links one of the important factors in determining who gets to the top of the search engine rankings. Yes, that may be true. As I said earlier, I am not convinced that reciprocal links are always completely worthless.

But there are much easier ways to get links. Ways that make much more sense.

Why spend your time (or your valuable money hiring someone to spend their valuable time) approaching people to trade links when you could just be creating your own links? Yes, that's right. Creating links - actual "one way links" - the kind that virtually all the experts says are so important?

So that brings me to my second point. Trading links is incredibly labor intensive and inefficient. There are many better ways to do your link building. Take that same time (or money) and create a couple of targeted blogs, author some articles, or do some posting on high traffic forums or sites like linkedin. Place your links in these places and presto, you've got instant inbound links.

Well, maybe they're not "instant". You have to actually create posts in your blogs, write and submit your articles, visit the forums and make comments. But doesn't that seem like a better way to spread the word about your product or service than spending your time trading links?

That's what building links is all about these days.

For more ideas see our link building programs using blogs, articles and Web 2.0