Same way as I always have, I guess :)
If you're building links just for google, then I think you are in the wrong direction.
the web is the web because it is links based... i.e. relevancy based.
|If you couldn't get traffic from Google, what would you do build traffic? |
Directory listings and a links program.
|How might your link exchange methodology change if Google didn't matter? |
At the moment we don't have one, but in this scenario I guess it would be:-
1. Spend 2 or 3 months trying to obtain inbound links from quality resources (quality as in content and relevance, *not* PR).
2. If any replies state that they will link if we will reciprocate, then put those on hold.
3. After 2-3 months review inbound links and traffic. If we felt that more traffic would be possible and that the reason we're not getting it is because we need more inbound links, then consider reciprocating.
I'm thinking that the appearance of a links section that is designed for the user, not the search engine, would have a different characteristics:
Search Engine Centric Links Characteristics
1. Links are not organized
2. They are displayed on a "Links Page"
3. Reciprocal Links are required
4. The links page is "buried" so nobody can find it.
5. The links are not very well chosen because it's all about page rank.
6. The link text is designed to target keywords.
7. They have an "add your link" page with a "url of reciprocal link" box.
User Centric Links Characteristics
1. The links are organized into an easily navigated directory OR
2. The links are placed throughout the site so that they are relevant to the content on the page.
3. The links have been carefully chosen for their content and relevancy.
4. The link text is the title of the site or page.
5. The description is not "canned text" and some thought was used in the writing.
Actually, what you have described is how a "links page" (or contextual linking) should be anyway, whether you have google in the equation or not.
So I'm not quite sure of your original point about how it would be "different" if google were not there. Unless you were re-making the old nutshell point "build for users not for search engines"?
I find the question pretty hypothetical. What if Google were not there? huh - in real world, we need to live with Google but who's complaining?
More possible situation would be - what if Google drastically changed its PageRank algo for weight given to incoming links - making it extremely difficult to get value out of 'non-human-centric' links?
Then of course, we are back to addressing our site code to what it should have been all along - make them for human visitors!
While to a certain extent we certainly do some linking for the sake of search engines, especially Google, we do keep our links relevant to our activity or our location. We have a links page, but it is easy to find. We don't link to sites that look terrible. We avoid reciprocal linking to sites with hundreds of disorganised links on their links page, except in one or two cases where the rest of the site is actually useful to our customers (especially hotel sites - links pages full of cr*p, but providing a useful booking service that we don't do ourselves).
Basically, if there was no Google, no PR, no "link pop", we would continue to link as we do now.
I had a real eye opener in regards to linking. I was searching for general links and I found a site that was definetley on topic actually a directory for the business I am in. They demanded (very strongly) a reciprocating link so I was a bit hesitant in giving them a link. I checked there site after they said they had it on their site. They had my site listed on the third page for that catogory with 75 links on each page. I figured that any page rank increase would certainly be very little but I figured I would let it go for a while. Anyway I was talking to one of my customers that bought an item over $1000.00 I asked the customer how he found my site and he told me about the directory that he found it in. Just recently I checked my referal logs for this month. I got about 300 referals from google. I got about 500 referals from the directory site. I think I will gladly let them continue to have a link on my site.
That illustrates my point exactly, shep_man!
I've received some major $$$$$ myself as a result of people finding my site on links pages. Therefore, a certain amount of my business is not dependant on Google.
Furthermore, this is evidence that reciprocal link programs have benefits beyond Google. I think sometimes get so caught up with linking for the sake of PageRank that they fail to think of the other benefits.
What a refreshing discussion. It's encouraging to see folks coming around to linking outside of PR, good job!