The Missing Link
While many aspects of search engine placement are a mystery to most site owners and even webmasters - that a site needs incoming links seems to be one of the only commonly accepted truths of the industry. Entire industries and software packages have been developed to promote just this area of SEO.
The concept of exchanging links (otherwise known as reciprocal linking) is commonly understood and practiced. I won't get into reciprocal linking too much here as Scott Van Achte has covered that above, but it is important to note it's importance.
That said I am going to mention something now that might shock you. It might even scare you a bit. If you want quick and easy links, with high relevancy and good PageRanks you will want to take a peek at (hold onto your hats) paid links (commonly referred to as advertising). There are many sites out there that will be happy to post a link to your website, often right on the home page, for a monthly fee. Sometimes you can even find a site that will post your link on every page of their site, often in the nav bar.
How much you should pay depends on a number of factors. How many pages will your link be on? What is the PageRank of the site linking to you? Is the site directly related to your industry? What industry is your site focused on? And a number of other factors.
I can't stress enough that you are going to have to look around for the best values in paid link advertising. If a site has a PageRank of 5 and wants to charge you $300/month for a single link off their home page you can probably find a better deal. If you find someone willing to post a link on every page of his or her PageRank 7 site for $200 you're onto something good. Keep looking; there are some great deals out there. We have found a number of great paid-links out there for a number of our clients. It just takes time. Something to keep in mind is this; you will be paying for this link monthly (perhaps annually but this is rare). Spending some extra time today to find the best value you can, will save you money for months/years to come.
There are a couple things you will want to look for very specifically in your hunt for links. You will want to make sure that the link is a direct link to your website and not through some tracking URL. A link through a tracking URL will not count as a link to your site. Also, you will want to know where the link will go on the page and what text is used to specify that these are paid links.
The higher up and further left on the page your link appears the better. This will make it one of the first things the search engine sees and thus the weight it is given will be higher. Additionally, if the link is placed in a table with a heading Sponsored Links or Advertising this tells the search engines that these are paid links and they will be give far less weight if any. That said; if this heading is in the form of an image (that isn't named sponsors.gif or advertising.jpg or the such) then it's perfectly fine.
If you would like further information on purchasing links or would like assistance in finding quality places to buy them from please don't hesitate to contact us.
By: Dave Davies, Marketing Manager, StepForth Search Engine Placement, Inc. www.stepforth.com