No, it’s not a general question for all and sundry. Obviously, there are many who would want to link to a Home Business or Affiliate program related website and for good reason. They would be helping their Page Rank, if that’s important any more however, more to the point, they would be improving their chances of a better ranking in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). But yes, you guessed it, THERE IS A PROVISO. A very important one, that so many people engaged in reciprocal linking programs just don’t seem to be able to get their heads around…
I must confess, I have written about this same subject, just on twelve months ago, I think it was. My experience during the time since would suggest that I may as well have been writing fairy stories, for all the good it did.
I get, and this is no exaggeration, at least a dozen requests EVERY day from people wishing to link with my (currently seven) Home Business or Affiliate related sites, who have websites that have absolutely NOTHING in common in any way with either topic, or in the case of Affiliate content websites I have, nothing to do with the subject matter or product/s concerned. The majority of these requests, for some reason, seem to come from ‘poker/casino/gambling’ websites and those concerning ‘travel/holidays’.
Why is it that the people requesting these links don’t understand that they are, in fact, irreparably damaging their websites and possibly harming their chances of a decent showing in the SERPs? (Not that all those with these types of websites practice this type of ‘free for all’ linking). Why can’t they understand that Google, the devisors of the PR and the Search Engine with whom most are concentrating on scoring a good ranking, quite clearly explain that “…links from RELEVANT websites are the only kind of link that is likely to improve your SE rankings”. They also go on to say that “using any kind of mass linking program or ‘free for all’ method of linking is more likely to damage your rankings".
While it’s true that your PR will probably increase with the amount of ‘raw’ links to your website, those links that are from websites of non-relevant topics will NOT serve to improve your ranking in the SERPs. Where the PR is calculated simply from the number of links, the algorithm used to come up with the SERPs definitely includes more complex data including an analysis of the content of the websites from which incoming links come, not just the text of the link.
The only advantage I know of, that PR alone will give you is a better chance of obtaining reciprocal links from other websites. Certainly, a far better way to obtain links is to publish good quality articles about the topic of your website, which of course will be picked up, by and large, by websites looking for good content of the same subject matter. This will also serve to give you ‘one way’ incoming links, which although Google don’t appear to mention in their pages, are widely understood to be of more value than ‘reciprocal links’.
Apart from the reasons I’ve mentioned above, there is also the amount of work involved in trying to do the right thing by answering these pointless requests for links. I must say, it’s very annoying given the time involved, which could be better spent by all parties doing more constructive things.
I have often lamented the irreparable damage that mass linking programs have done to many websites. After all, there is virtually no chance of getting the links that are in place from non-relevant websites removed. It would be a mammoth task. The types of link building program that collect links from anyone willing to complete the form on your website and place your link on theirs, have turned a number of websites into mini directories, which certainly won’t help their rankings in the SERPs.
My advice to anyone, either new or an old hand is to join one of the reciprocal linking co-operatives like Linkmarket.net, in which you are able to approve links from sites of YOUR choosing and request links from sites with the same content and subject matter. After all, links of the same content as your website are the most likely to interest your visitors and THAT is the primary basis of linking, to offer worthwhile information and assistance to your patrons. Incidentally, that’s what Google and the other SEs are primarily concerned with, sites that are of value to THEIR patrons and they will only offer you as a choice if they feel you have the same goal in mind.
I’ve been told that when I do anything designed to improve my rankings, to ask myself a simple question, “would I do this if there were no Search Engines?” If the answer is no, then it probably won’t benefit my visitors and will be a waste of time as far as my SE rankings are concerned.
The 2005 Edition of Steve Brennan's popular ebook title ‘The Affiliate Guide Book’ is now available. He also operates a number of Affiliate wesbites which include The Home Based Business & Affiliate Center and The Diet & Weight Loss Place .