Building a quality link network for your web site is one of the most important aspects to web site promotion. Surprisingly, some people are still involved in methods that have been proven useless and even harmful for several years. One method that seems to stand the test of time is a link exchange.
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Eight Link Popularity Methods Ranked for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

The name of the game in the new year is White Hat SEO. Search engines are too smart for quick-fix, questionable methods any longer. Building a quality link network for your web site is one of the most important aspects to web site promotion, whether it's for search engine optimization, affiliate programs, lead generation, or otherwise.

Surprisingly, some people are still involved in methods that have been proven useless and even harmful for several years. One method that seems to stand the test of time is a link exchange: a simple, yet effective, way to increase your web site's link popularity. This is by far the most common method of acquiring incoming links.

The effectiveness of link exchanges has been discussed ad nauseam by the SEO community over the past few years. The major Google update dubbed "Florida" showed clearly that many link exchanges were starting to carry less weight than they had previously carried. Doing hundreds of link exchanges with casino, pharmaceutical, and loan consolidation sites, no longer produced top rankings on Google. Yahoo! has followed suit to some degree; however, MSN is still where Google and Yahoo! were several years ago.

Search engine comparisons aside, many people wonder if link exchanges are worth doing anymore. Are there more effective methods of obtaining quality incoming links? The truth is that it totally depends on your competition.

If the norm for obtaining backlinks in one market is to participate in forum discussion with linked signatures, and to swap links with unrelated sites, then simply doing a higher quantity of such basic tasks would put your site at the top of the rankings. If your site is in the field of search engine optimization, then more advanced methods of link development should be done. Such methods might include writing articles; getting paid directory listings at Yahoo!, bCentral, and Business.com; or investing in professional press release distribution.

It all depends on what your competitors are doing. Ignoring the quantity of SEO methods and focusing on the quality, a good ranking system for backlink acquisition methods is as follows, with number 8 being the poorest and number 1 being the best:

8. "Sign-up And Get 1000+ Links in 5 Minutes!"

Link opportunities of this nature are pure sp@m. In most cases, you will see a small form at the bottom of a links page, with a text field for your web site URL and one for your email address. Giving your email out to legit businesses is risky enough, but can you imagine how much junk mail you will receive if you start signing up to these kinds "opportunities"? This method is a complete waste of time.

7. Three-Way Linking:

If "Site A" refers to your web site, you may get link emails out of the blue offering a partnership whereby your site (Site A) links to the emailer's site "B", while his other site "C" links back to your Site A. This is one of the most abused linking schemes around today simply because Site C, the second of the mysterious stranger's sites, is usually nothing more than a farm of outbound links. Sure, some link popularity work has been done to obtain a decent PageRank value, but the value this site carries as an outbound link to yours is minimal at best.

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