Will linking always be important, even if search engines don’t warrant good links for rankings? Is it worth all the time and effort to get good links if it doesn’t significantly help with search engine optimization? These are both great questions, but in my opinion, the answer is YES to both! Linking is a form of partnership — good linking that is — and it is important to obtain links to your site and even give reciprocal links back. Did I just say reciprocal linking is a good thing? Yes! If done right, it can be a good thing; it’s that partnership thing again!
Let’s stop for a minute and think about your business having a physical location. Let’s just say you own an auto parts store. Being the great businessperson that you are, when starting your business, you started to build relationships with people and companies before you even opened your doors. Now, your business is not on the busiest street in town, but you provide such great service and stock great quality auto products that people prefer your business over your competitors. People who visit leave very satisfied, notice you have great knowledge of the auto industry, recognize the quality in the automotive products you have, and in turn recommend your store to others.
Now let’s bring that back to the online world. You have an auto parts website and before that website even launched, you have created relationships, primarily offline with people and businesses. Now, for your site to be successful you need to give your visitors the best experience by providing them with useful content, similar to the useful knowledge they would receive when physically walking into your store. Again, you may not currently be at the top of the ranking list today, but that busy street is not far away. You want to provide your site visitors with useful information on the products you carry, as they are not physically in your store, so you have to provide this information to them. This may even call for providing a link to your partners, the auto parts manufacturers. Hey, they may even provide a link back to you and then yes, this is reciprocal linking, but it is good reciprocal linking. On the other hand, you would not want to do reciprocal linking with the hair salon next door just because they are your next-door neighbor or to your cousin’s online shoe store. Those companies are not relevant to your business and wouldn’t provide quality reciprocal links. You would want companies such as do-it-yourself garages to link to your site, which you may already know the owner of and have started a business relationship with offline.
Just like leaving your business card on the cork board for people to see, you want site visitors to see your site’s link on other sites, creating visibility and credibility for your site and business. So, is linking a waste of time? No. It is a form of creating those business relationships that have been going on for years, but now it’s just in the digital form. It’s that tow company telling you that there is a great auto parts store in town that will be able to help you get your vehicle back on the road!