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Four Kinds of Links

4 Kinds of Links
By Sharon Housley

Links are an important component in an online marketing campaign. Websites usually need a significant number of quality links to perform well in organic search rankings. Once upon a time, high-quality links were plentiful. But with the growth of the web, and an ever-increasing number of competing websites, garnering link love and attention is a time-consuming and tedious process.

There are 4 different types of links that webmasters can work to obtain...

1. One-Way Links

A one-way link is a hyperlink from one website to another. For example, Website A links to Website B.

Undeniably, these are the best kind of links for a website to have, albeit the most difficult type of link to obtain. A website will usually need to contain unique and compelling content in order for another website to link to it without any payment or reciprocal returning link.

2. Reciprocal Links

Reciprocal links are when two websites exchange links. For example, Website A links to Website B; and Website B links to Website A.

The value of reciprocal links is questionable, as you are essentially 'trading' links. Some search engines track the link patterns, and consider reciprocal links as "exchanges". Many webmasters believe that search engines place a lower value on reciprocal links than for one-way links, which is why their value is questionable.

3. Paid Links

Paid links are just that: links that are purchased. For example, Website A gives $ to Website B; then Website B links to Website A.

Compensatory links range from purchased text links to pay-per-click links, where a webmaster pays for clicks that are generated from the link. The upside to paid links is that they are not difficult to obtain if you are willing to pay. You can also control the rate in which the links increase, and how long the paid links last. The downside is that major search engines discourage webmasters from purchasing text links outright (most search engines accept pay-per-click links). In fact, if a search engine suspects that a website is trying to "buy" their way to the top of their organic rankings by manipulating the number of websites linking to a webpage, they may ban the website from the search engine.

4. Network Links (3-Way)

Network links are links that are triangulated. For example, Website A links to Website B; Website B links to Website C; and Website C links to Website A.

Network links are an expansion of link exchanges, and generally make it more difficult for a search engine to discern the link patterns. As a result, search engines may assess the value of network links as one-way links rather than the reciprocal links that they really are. Excessive use of network links can be more easily identified by search engines.

Most webmasters incorporate all the link types into their linking strategy.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.


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