Back Linking Strategy… Is there one?

For those of you who have read about back linking in regards to the “this is what you need to do” to grow your website traffic and have wondered what is the best way to do this, welcome to the biggest challenge facing newbies, novices, and even experts in the SEO/SEM arena: Acquiring good strong quality back links. The reason it is such a daunting task is that, if we are to look at Google for example, and their algorithm, it frowns on quantity or lack of quality of back links.

Why would that matter? Because of the advent a few years ago of link farming services, programs and software which allowed websites to jump in Page Rank quickly without really “growing naturally”. the farms could grow the number of inbound links they had on their sites fast. In short, Inbound links are back links. What the link farms did and do is allow website owners to add links to their sites as quickly and as impersonal as possible. So site owners added quantity fast. Google realized this and decided to take steps to stress quality inbound links and penalize sites that used automated programs to “farm” inbound links. These programs, would and do send out automated emails that ask if you, the site owner would like to exchange reciprocal links.

 I use Google as the primary example here but it can and does stretch across to Yahoo and MSN search engines as well.  But Google also is the example because of another primary reason. Page Rank. Google has a toolbar that website owners can load onto their computers that allows a user to see what the Page Rank is of a site.  Page Rank, according to Google, is the relevance or the importance of a website in the wild wild web. The higher the Page Rank, the more important the site. Take a look at Amazon of Ebay for an example of a site with a high Page Rank.It has become so important and such a focus for SEO experts that it drives the premise of website marketing: Increase your page rank= increase your natural or organic ranking= increase your sales or traffic. In other words, High page rank=relevance. 

Since web marketers are so obsessed with what Google does and what a high natural ranking in Google can do for a website, it has created a cottage industry in and of itself.

Now the rub. There is an old saying that applied to recent college graduates that goes like this: In order to get a job you need experience but how do you get a job if you don’t have experience….? Ok so now let’s apply that statement to Back linking.  I need a good page rank but how do I acquire good back links if I don’t have a good page rank? Why as a site owner would I want to exchange reciprocal links with you if you do not even have a page rank? There is the challenge. 

You can’t use an automated program to acquire your links because quantity is not the goal and thus you have thousands of website owners out there swimming around looking for sites with page rank to latch onto.I’ll give you an idea that harkens back to the earliest days of business ownership. If you want sales or customers. Go get them. Go to work, call them, email them personally, and show them why exchanging links with you would be beneficial for both. Be honest and show them that your site is actually worthy of their link and vice versa. It’s amazing what can be accomplished the old fashion way.  Sure it goes against the grain of how impersonal the web has become, but it also speaks to one of the key components to any successful website. Personalization.

You are humanizing your website by showing other website owners who you are and what you’re about, and what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of hiding behind an automated email try and go after quality links by approaching website owners whose reciprocal links actually make sense for both of you. It’s amazing what common sense can achieve. Why then, is it called common, if everyone doesn’t possess it?