What is a link?
A simple question that has one definition, but many degrees of complexity.
So, we all know what a link is, right?
OK, so just knowing what a link is doesn’t mean we know what to do with them!
Let’s look at different types of links:
- Inbound or Backlinks.
- Outbound or websites that you link to from your website.
- One-Way referring to links that are pointed from one domain to another.
- Reciprocal referring to links that are pointed from one domain to another and then back.
- Triangle referring to link from site A to site B, link from site B to site C, and then link from site C to site A.
Basic concepts in SEO 101
- Get quality Inbound links from websites that are relative to the topic of your website.
- Only link to websites that are relative to the topic of your website as a resource for your visitors. My cardinal rule: If you would not be comfortable using the site you are linking to, why would your users?
- Get quality One-Way links from reputable websites. Like DMOZ, Yahoo Directory, Business.com,
B-Centraland others. Hint: You may have to pay to play!
- If necessary, offer Reciprocal Links to other quality resources in your vertical. Back to my cardinal rule: If you would not be comfortable using the site you are linking to, why would your users?
- Link Scheme, or Launder your links through a maze of other sites.
Black Hat 101 – do anything and everything necessary to get your site to the top of search engine results as quickly as possible.
So, we have covered some types of links that can help you improve your website in the search engine (organic) results, but what is good (white hat) and what is not so good (black hat)?
Quality links: inbound, non-reciprocal (one-way) links from a quality website (see cardinal rule) that is related to the topic of your website. Think of a link in matters of relationships, when you link to someone your reputation goes with that link. Old saying, formatted for my purposes years ago: “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you, and is willing to admit it!”
Who knows you (and links because you have something valuable to offer to your vertical community)? Are they really giving you something of value?
Who are you vouching for (by linking to them and putting your reputation on the line)? Does it really matter whether they link to you?
I build and help websites succeed, I am an investor. I don’t want a house of cards that could be toppled by a simple tweak in an algorithm. I want a quality foundation of relative, unique content to provide to my users and the links that I provide will help strengthen my relationship with them.
If you have a resource or link directory, how many visitors do you really get in this area of your site? Were these visitors looking for your product or just looking to find some reciprocal partners in your vertical?
Two things that I have found to be self-evident:
- If you provide what the user is looking for, then they will be enriched by that experience and will return, or better yet, send others your way.
- If you do not have what they are looking for, but still provide a quality experience in that niche, they will appreciate the resources you provide and if you are worth your salt, you will only offer something that you would be willing to use yourself!
If you ever wonder if you should do something, ask yourself: “What do I plan to get from this action?” If the answer is anything other than building relationship with other quality websites or with the users of my site, then my suggestion, Don’t do it!
My reputation, small as it may be, goes with this link!
I’m not in denial, are you?