Julia: Welcome Bob. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions about link building. I’m going to jump right in ask you why Websites need links?
Bob: There are a number of reasons to have absolute links vs relative links pointing to your site. But let’s start with the reason they were created in the first place. The original purpose of the Internet was to enable the sharing of information. For example, if a scholarly paper existed on a server at the University of California, and a professor at Oxford wanted to read it, the Internet made that instantly possible. Now, if the Oxford professor had a paper that referenced information from the UC paper, they could link directly to that other document rather than just quoting from it. So a hyperlink was intended as a way of connecting data, ideas, and references together. It’s like saying, “if you’d like further information on this topic, here’s a place to find it.”
When the Google search engine was created, its developers took this into account. And drew the conclusion that a link was an indication that the page being linked to was relevant to some particular subject-matter.
So that’s a rather long introduction to a short answer to your question. Web sites need links because they send traffic that’s already targeted to their subject matter to other sites, and because they help the search engines determine both their theme and what the web as a community deems their importance to be. Basically (although not absolutely), the more links that point to a page, the more relevant that page is determined to be. In addition, links are now considered the most reliable way (apart from paying) to get a site into the search engines in the first place.
While both Google and Yahoo allow you to submit a site to their index, it’s clear that the best way to get the search engines to pay attention to your site is to get a page that their spiders already know about to link to yours. The spiders then follow that link to your site, and add it to their index.
Julia: Thanks, Bob. But there are different types of links aren’t there? Can you explain differences?
Bob: As we discussed in the previous question, there are text links from other sites. Some of these are reciprocal (that is, they link to you and you link back to them) and others are one-way (the owner of the other site decides, for whatever reason, to link to your site and doesn’t expect you to link back).There are also image links: banners, buttons, etc. These have the advantage of standing out visually from the rest of the page, but many people have become immune to the standard banner ad and just ignore them, because it’s assumed they’re just advertisements, and as such, not necessarily relevant to the page on which they appear.
Then there are directory listings, where a link to your site appears on a page containing links to numerous other sites in what the directory editor has determined to be your particular niche.