Along with search engines, links are one of the main ways to help increase your site’s traffic. And links themselves actually help with good search engine optimization, as links to and from your site are taken into account by search engine crawlers. There are numerous different types of links, and plenty of ways to get these links. The three most basic and common types of links are one way, multi way, and reciprocal. From the basics of how links work through an explanation of these three key types of links, here is what you need to know about linking.
1. Link Basics – Links are usually hosted on similar websites. A comedy fan’s website has a link to a comedian’s website, which in turn has a link leading to their favorite comedy clubs, who links to a comedy blog, which links….you get the picture. In essence, links are what drives the internet. Even a search engine results page is nothing but a series of links, right?
2. Links and SEO – Links used to be the driving force behind search engines. The site with the most links to it came out higher in the rankings at search sites. Google changed this, and now the actual quality of the link and the site itself matter more than the quantity of links driving people to it. Still, a large number of links to your site will certainly drive up your place in the rankings, so links are important to getting more traffic to your site through search engines.
3. Low Quality Reciprocal Links – Reciprocal links are fairly common online components. These aren’t highly regarded amongst online SEO experts (or the search engines themselves), but they can hold benefits. There are two key kinds of reciprocal links – low or high quality. Low quality ones are basically link exchanges or farms that do nothing except for house a lot of unrelated links. You’ll generally have to put a link on your page to this list, and they in turn will place your link on their page. It may be tempting to get your links out to as many places as possible, but you’re doing yourself a disservice by listing your site on these pages. It doesn’t look very professional, and even search engines are likely to rank your page lower because of your association with them.
4. High Quality Reciprocal Links – High quality reciprocal links aren’t traded or bought like their lower quality cousins. These are often links that occur between two sites who share common themes or focuses and who have found useful information on each other’s site. These reciprocal links are often made independent of each other and aren’t made based upon an agreement – just the simple fact that each site likes the other’s content.
5. Multi-Way Links – Multi way links, also known as ‘link wheels’, are a cleverer version of reciprocal link schemes. Three, four, or more sites link to one another, creating a circle of links that lack no direct links. As these have evolved over the years, they’ve become multi-leveled, complex networks. A network of sites grouped together link to a second network of sites, throwing links back to yours. You can end up with hundreds of links directing to you. While currently popular, the odds are that these will eventually become as useless as the first link schemes.
6. One-Way Links – These links count for the most as far as search engines are concerned. Someone spots your site, likes the content and thinks that visitors to their site will as well, and posts a link to your webpage on theirs. These are natural links, and the site linking to you doesn’t ask for a return link from you (or anything else, for that matter). Just a good, old fashioned link. While it may seem hard to earn one of these, simply filling your site with useful, quality content will bring them about more often than you may think.
7. Purchasing Links – Yes, it’s possible to purchase links. You’ll get plenty of links to your site for your money, but they truly aren’t worth what you may think. The odds of actual visitors finding your site through these links are rare, and finding potential clients through them is even rarer. Add to that the fact that search engines don’t even rank these links in their results, and you’re basically wasting your money.
8. Not All Links are Created Equal – Search engines value links differently, with some (like purchased links) being pretty much worthless and others (one-way links) holding a higher value. Getting links is a great way to improve your rankings on the results pages of search engines, but you shouldn’t be spending all of your time trying to wheel and deal for them. Create good, informative content, and the links are likely to find you themselves.