If ever there was a subject that caused confusion it's SEO and one part of SEO that causes much confusion is linking.
So, what's a link and what's it for. In simple terms THIS is a link, it links to our homepage. If you click it you will leave this page and visit our homepage. OK OK, you knew that - although actually some people don't!
According to the gurus there are four types of links.
- Links for traffic
- Links for link juice (PageRank)
- Links for both of the above
- Links for none of the above
If we consider type 1 (Links for traffic) these could be paid for i.e advertising links such as Google AdWords or TextLinkAds. They will drive traffic to your site but they won't pass any 'credibility' or improve your PageRank. But they are not bad links, they will (should) send traffic and this could equal business.
Looking now at type 2 (links for PageRank) these are links to your site from authority and trusted sites. These links may not send a lot of traffic to your site but the search engines will recognise these links as a vote for your site and your site's ranking or stature may well benefit.
Type 3 links encompass both types 1 and 2 and represent the very best type of link. These links will pass valuable link juice and traffic. Not surprisingly these links are not easy to secure.
Type 4 links are links that neither send traffic nor improve your sites ranking by giving it a valuable vote.
Before you embark on a link building odyssey figure out what you are trying to achieve. Are you looking for click traffic? Are you looking to build your site's credibility (PageRank), are you trying to create an online buzz?
Link building is not a one size fits all exercise, understand what you want to achieve and set your goals out as clearly as possible. Also, be realistic, if you are 'yet another' online shop offering nothing unique you will have to accept your site is not going to attract quality in bound links unless you do something different that will be useful to people.
One of the best ways of getting great inbound links is creating a site that attracts them.......I know, this is obvious, but it really does work!