Rethinking Linking - Link Exchange Back to BasicsWritten by Kai Virihaur
In old days of internet, links were primary communication path between web sites. Search engines were not as sophisticated as today, and search results rather crude. Actually, even today links are reported to be more used than search engine results; but latter are increasing their share.
In a way, this began to change when Google entered scene. In an effort to make search results more relevant, Google implemented an algoritm that judged quality of a web site by number of other sites linking to it. It seemed rather obvious that a popular, much linked-to, site should be of higher relevance than a site with few links pointing to it.
Unfortunately, as webmasters realized this a frantic stampede began. Everybody did whatever they could to secure as many incoming links as possible. One example: In my own field, web hosting reviews, there is a site that has (according to Yahoo) 4,000,000 incoming links pointing to it! Yes, FOUR MILLION links! By comparison, Microsoft.com has only about 3,000,000 incoming links!
I won't speculate on just how those 4,000,000 links were collected, but surely it can't have been by manually asking those 4,000,000 webmasters for a link exchange! And I also doubt that 4,000,000 webmasters just spontaneously thought "Wow, I will put up a link to this cool web hosting review site"! Yes, even cooler than Microsoft.com, evidently.
Reciprocal Link versus Value ExchangeWritten by Tim Ong
Most webmasters are familiar with concept of reciprocal linking. Reciprocal linking is exchange of links between webmasters with hope of improving their site ranking with search engine. However, as more and more webmasters use reciprocal links to increase their site ranking, search engines are also getting smarter and more demanding.
Search engines are increasingly becoming more selective with in-bound links to your website. They are looking not just for number of in-bound links your site may have, but also for quality and relevance of those links to your site. In other words, webmasters can no longer arbitrarily exchange links with others if they wish to improve their site ranking with search engines.
Thus was born concept of value exchange.
I first heard this concept from Ken Evoy, author of "Make Your Site Sell" and creator of amazing All-in-1 "SiteBuildIt!" webhosting. Ken has always been in favor of building websites that are search-engine friendly. This means your website should aim for same kind of criteria search engines look for in ranking sites. Instead of wasting time figuring shortcut ways to beat search engines, design your website with quality content in mind. That, according to Ken, is only consistent way to rank high with search engines.