All of the major search engines have built into their ranking algorithms what is known as link popularity. Google has long been well known for its PageRank, which was named after its creator, Larry Page. A big part of PageRank is link popularity. How many links does a page have pointing to it and how related content wise are those links. Yahoo! search and Bing too now have as a major component of their ranking algorithms page rank.
Years ago Webmasters who desired high organic search rankings on the major search engines, would do what is known as reciprocal linking. As its name implies, in reciprocal linking, you would place a link to another Web page and in exchange the other Webmaster would place a link on their site back to your page. There were several inherent problems however with doing reciprocal linking. First off, unscrupulous Webmasters would of course accept the link from you 'but often would wait a month or longer before they finally (after several email reminders) placed a link back to your site. Sometimes they NEVER did reciprocate the link.
Another problem with reciprocal link building is that it is very labor intensive … it requires a lot of work doing searching on the various search engines, sending link requests to other Webmasters, placing a link on your site back to the heads and at the end of the day most of these Webmasters never returned the favor. Also, at some point the search engine engineers referred to all this reciprocal linking to artificial inflate a page's link value and they responded by devaluing reciprocal links.
Today, all of the major search engines place a lot of emphasis on one way links. In the Google algorithm, a link from another page on the Internet is counted as one vote for your site. Think of it as a popularity contest. While it is estimated that the Google ranking algorithm has well over 100 ranking parameters to it, the fact is that link popularity is still the single most important ranking factor. This is why getting * quality * one way links has become so important in obtaining high search rankings on Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
There are several ways to get one way links pointing back to your Web pages. The easiest of course is just to rent them by the month. There are a couple of potential drawbacks to that method however. First, renting backlinks to your site can get really expensive, so counter productive in terms of your ROI. Second, the search engines, especially Google frown upon this practice and that is putting it mildly! While all Webmasters have the right to advertise on other Web pages to get traffic … it is when they do so to artificially inflate their link popularity that the people at Google have a problem with it. Now, this gets into a gray area, how can the Google algorithm programmers get inside someone's head to read their mind? Well, they can not of course; but there are several signs that certain links have been purchased to get higher rankings.
Purchasing a large number of backlinks too quickly can and often does raise a red flag, which can lead to getting a lower ranking in the short term at least and can even get your own Web site placed into the now infamous Google 'Sandbox'. Which, trust me, is the last place you want your Web site to end up. Some better ways of getting those coveted one way links are by doing directory submissions, both paid & free, writing articles and then submitting those articles to article directories which allow you to have links in the article footer area usually back to your home page or any page of your site.
There are several other ways to get one way links pointing to your site, such as signing up at several social networking sites and placing a link there back to your site. Also, you can publish your own blog and place one way links in the blog back to your Web site. All of the above can be very labor intensive. Most Webmasters and company owners do not have the time to do their own search engine optimization. They would rather concentrate on actually running their company and leave the heavy lifting that is involved with doing SEO to someone else.
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