Contact Us

Welcome to ineedhits Blog

Welcome to the ineedhits Search Engine Marketing blog, where we share the latest search engine and online marketing news, releases, industry trends and great DIY tips and advice.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Link Building Demystified

Posted by @ 6:14 pm

Ever since Google’s latest Jagger update was associated with possible changes of how Google views incoming links to a website, link building has been in the spotlight. Let’s go back to the basics and see what link building is all about, and how it can help (or hurt) your website’s ranking.

What is link building?

Link building is the process of obtaining incoming links to your website. There are several ways to get incoming links for your site. You can

  • Submit your site to directories and search engines
  • Exchange links with other sites, which means you link to them in exchange for them linking to you
  • Buy links outright – there are companies that offer to sell links on various sites on a monthly basis
  • Obtain links through public relations activities, for example by including your website address in press releases or in interviews of company staff that are published online.

Why should you have incoming links?

Incoming links are an important search engine optimization technique because they are seen as a measure of your site’s popularity. The theory is that the more sites link to your site, the more authoritative, relevant and important your site must be for the topic in question. This theory worked fine before search engine spammers came along. Spammers quickly realized that there way ways to increase the number of incoming links really quickly, and tried to get high rankings that way. Therefore, the number of links alone isn’t enough – you also have to make sure that your incoming links are of good quality.

What is a good quality link versus a poor quality link?

In the context of link building, a good quality link is one that is highly relevant to your topic. In addition, the “reputation” of the site linking to you can also influence how your site’s quality is perceived. Most importantly, the inbound links should send qualified traffic to your site. Here’s an example:

Imagine your company sells plastic piping mainly to the mining industry. You could get a high quality link if a trade publication has published your company profile online and links to you stating that you are one of the leading suppliers, or if the local Chamber of Commerce lists you in an online mining supply directory.

Poor quality links are those that have no relevance whatsoever to the topic of your website. This includes things link adding your link to a random online guestbook or blog.

What should you avoid at any cost?

  • Link Farms. Link farms are sites that just contain long lists of unrelated links for the only purpose of increasing link popularity. This might have worked in the past, but certainly doesn’t help your ranking anymore nowadays.
  • There are some sites that call themselves “directories”, but all they really do is scrape search results or paid ads from search engines like Google and Yahoo! in an effort to profit from click fraud. This scraping creates a bad neighbourhood for any legitimate links. Such sites may offer you premium placement within their “directory structure”, which you should stay away from!
  • The “too good to be true” offers. If someone offers to create thousands of links for you overnight, they are probably using spamming techniques, such as spamming blogs or spamming email lists with link requests. Stay away – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

How do you get started building high quality links?

  • It’s not easy, but if you want relevant, high quality links, you should compile a list of relevant sites and email them individually requesting links to your site. To make this deal more attractive for them, you could offer a reciprocal link in return. In addition, other sites will be much more likely to link to you if your site contains good content. So make sure you can present relevant, well-written articles or facts that are valuable to anyone interested in the specific topic of your site.
  • Submit your site to (legitimate) directories. Directory listings are a great way to get quality inbound links. Some directories might list you for free, others, like the Yahoo! directory, can cost you several hundred dollars a year. Especially if we are talking about such a big and heavily trafficked directory like Yahoo!, this is probably a very useful investment.
  • Buying links outright from commercial providers can be helpful. However, don’t just buy a link on the strength of a page’s PageRank rating. Google’s PageRank has become less important in assessing the quality of inbound links, and you should really buy links on the basis that they will provide you with qualified traffic. A page with great PageRank, but where no one clicks on your link, is not enough.
  • There are a number of inexpensive online press release distribution services. If you have a newsworthy event, consider releasing an online press release. If this press release contains your website address and gets picked up by online news sites, you can create a number of new incoming links at once. But remember – press releases only get picked up if they are newsworthy; the launch of your redesigned website probably won’t qualify.
  • You can also try to passively obtain more inbound links by improving the quality of your website content and making it so interesting that people will want to link to your site, without you having to ask them. This again depends on interesting, original and relevant content. Including a blog on your site is an easy way to add new content regularly, and you could also consider offering free tools that others might find useful.

Discussion (10 - comments)

During the Google Burbon changes, someone mentioned that Fraternal linking was dealt with. Fraternal linking is interlinking your web sites with one another or linking all your web sites to one in order to give it a boost.

Does anyone know whether Google just considered Fraternal links as neutral, or do they penalize your web sites. I have tourism web sites, and I want to return to interlinking them. Does anyone have an evidence that this is Koshur with Google? What if the web sites have different values. I’ve got some old ones and some new ones in the sand box. Can the sand-boxed new sites bring the older sites down?

Jim Love
Mile By Mile Media

By Anonymous - November 15, 2005

First of all thank you Nancy Hackett for pleacing nice article on link building. But I thought that as well as inbound link Google’s latest Jagger update was associated with outbound link of a website. Like link anchore text, link relevance, total of word in link anchore text, how many time it will be come.


By Jim - November 15, 2005

I am still of the opinion that inbound links are only a very minor measure of the true relevance of a site in relation to the search term. This is especially true for a commercial retail site. I could understand that view in regards to an informational site.

For an online e-business site selling items at retail, my feeling for ranking relevance is the quality of the site (no html errors, alt descriptions for images, etc) and the number of related pages of merchandise. What I would really like to see as a measure of quality and relevance is a measure of how many people have placed a link to that site in their Favorites list. Listing in directories is not a very good measure of the popularity or the quality of the site and may not have any relationship to the relevance of the search term in question.

In my humble opinion, Google’s success is mostly the result of having a “cute” name and receiving wide publicity on TV shows, etc. When I do a search on Google for a specific and narrow search term, I find that many domains are duplicated throughout, and many sites are high in their rankings that have little or no relevance to the search term.

It appears to me that the “search engine watch” community is not aware of the fact that the “emperor” is not wearing any cloths!!! I realize that they are a huge force to reckoned with, but it would seem that a high quality search engine for e-business sites would also be of great value…

By Jim Henson - November 16, 2005

Hi, I got caught once with promises of thousand of inbound links and am now very cautious. I do find that submitting requests for link swapping to relevant websites, even competitors is helpful. But the best results for me have been from my own press release efforts, sending them out on behalf of my clients and of course, my own news. Yes ineedhits is right on target when it states, that a news release has to be newsworthy to be picked up, which is why I recommend hiring a pro to write your news, use effective keywords and keep it simple. Cordially,
Anne Howard at rushprnews, press release services and distriubution at

By rushprnews - November 16, 2005

well i guess the press release efforts are the major thing that’s why link building is at most these days.

By professional web design specialist - November 24, 2005

Since the Jagger update most of my reciprocal links are discounted, althought they are relevant to the industry of my web site. There are competetors of mine that have dozens more links that haven’t been discounted, even the same links! I don’t understand the logic of what has happened. Currently, their are web site ranking for “my city, my state” search terms, that only have the word mentioned once on page, not in url, not in meta, not in description. I don’t consider that relevant search results. I hope the dust isn’t settle, yet.

By Bonita Springs Real Estate - November 25, 2005

I agree it seems the big corporation sites are the only ones benefiting from this Jager update. Links are just harder and harder to know if they really do any good or not. It will get harder and harder for the smaller business online to rank even if we do ligit link exchanges with each other they will not really amount to anything but a wasted effort. If you think about it the internet started with links and so link exchanges from quality sites should be a good thing but this update proves otherwise. Remember it was the Yahoo “link” directory that started all this in the first place.

By Web-a-holic - December 8, 2005

any other method to increase traffic other than link exchange

By Hanu Software - November 12, 2007

is any other method to increase our traffic other than link exchange

By software development outsourcing - November 12, 2007

Nice post…today there is lot of competition for creating links for competitive terms…its time consuming but have no other option..

By Offshore Software Development - July 20, 2008

Add Your Comments


Keep up to date with the latest from our blogs.

Subscribe to all blog posts

The Newsletter

  • New Posts
  • Popular
  • Comments


More in Search News (1699 of 1797 articles)

It is no secret that suppliers and competitors have good reason to be wary of Wal-Mart - but there appears ...