Link building is a major aspect of Search Engine Optimization work.  Having other creditible websites pointing to your web site makes you look better in the glowing eyes of Google.  But does that mean you shouldn’t have links outward?  Are you giving up your Google juice by recognizing other sites for their strengths?

Here is how I explain the basic linking strategies to my clients:

We’re at a party with 20 people total.  For some reason, we all decided to play “let’s point at the most interesting guy in the room!”  On the count of 3, everyone points to who they think is the most interesting person at the party.  Everyone has two hands, and therefore can point at two people, or the same person twice.  Or…point at no one.  Your point is your vote; it’s that simple

1…2……………………3!

Great.  All we have to do is look around and we get a pretty good idea of who is probably the most interesting people in the room.  More importanly, we’ll start to group who is pointing to who:  ”that guy has 3 people pointing at him, but he’s pointing to that girl…who is pointing to that tall guy in the corner…”

But what about that guy standing by the punch bowl pointing to himself?  Would you listen to a thing he has to say?  He’s an Internal linker only. Clearly he think’s he’s better then anyone else and probalby isn’t interested in other’s view.  Let’s stay away from him.

How about the two guys pointing at each other? These one-to-one linkers probably have a nice conversation supporting the other’s ideas, so if you get to know one of them…you don’t need to waste time talking to the other.

Same thing goes with the 3 way Linkers.  Yes, they bring a little more to the conversation, but they yet to have a network of thought.  Remove one part of the chain, and we suddenly have one person that no one finds interesting pointing to someone else just standing there with a dumb look on their face.

After 3, as long as we’re not just making a chain, we start to build a true network.  Naturally the pointing should criss cross the room, but a few dominate figures will clearly emerage as the most pointed to.  Those are the people you want to hang out with; they’ll probably has the good stories about getting lost in Mexico in High School.

So should YOU point to others, or just point to yourself?  Sites that don’t externally link, in my opinion, appear to Google like the guy by the punch bowl pointing at himself.  Clearly these people are not engaged in the party (internet) and are not gathering new perspectives and staying current with what is happening around them.  Do I have a ratio of internal and external links to tell you to go by?  No. No I do not. (But I’m working on it)

…And,  I would appreciate it if you pointed to me.

Here is who I’m gonna point to, SEOMoz.org is a great source of current information, amazing writing, and generally interesting guys.

Post filed under SEO.