Like Me? Follow Me.
"Your site's ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating."
So, if you want your website to rank highly, its perceived link popularity must be comparable to or higher than the competition. What's more, the words (or "anchor text") that are used for these links can also have a significant effect on your site's rankings.
Google is effectively defining a link as a vote from a friend. Most popular search engines work in a similar way. But these are not democratic systems, and all votes are not equal. Just like in the real world, you'll get further making friends with a few high flyers than with hundreds a Johnny Nobodies.
There are two dominant schools of thought when it comes to developing your link popularity.
The first says that, in line with the search engines' original intentions, you should simply build the best site you can, developing excellent content that is highly valued by visitors to the site. If your content is good enough, some visitors will link to it from their own websites to recommend to friends, colleagues or anyone else that shares an interest. The best content will get linked to from the highest quality sites and will be ranked accordingly.
The other says to beg, borrow, trade, buy, steal and do whatever it takes to increase the number of links pointing to your website.
The reality, however, is somewhere in the middle, so most SEO consultants will find a space that they feel comfortable within the huge grey area between these two extremes, and defend that position with an almost moralistic fervour. Google gives 44,500 results for the exact phrase "ethical link building", even though Google have never mentioned such a thing as an "ethical link" themselves.
With all these conflicting opinions, going ahead with any link building exercise can feel like a bit of a minefield. You know you need more links to keep up with the competition, but you want to avoid making things worse in the process.
That's why it's important, when considering who you want working on link building for your site, to choose people you can trust. People who'll involve you in their link building plans, who are transparent about what they're doing and will keep you updated every step of the way. People like the online marketing team at I-COM.