They’re a pretty big part of the way the internet works.
I mean, it IS a bunch of computers all LINKED together (this is the technical definition).
And it IS how Google came about as Project BackRub – you link to me, I link to you and everything comes together nicely.
We’re still having mad debates in the SEO world about the importance of links.
And whether to call it link building or link acquisition.
It’s all a bit silly if you ask me.
I say this as someone who got his start in SEO pretty much off the back of link networks.
OF COURSE links matter.
But 9 times out of 10, they’re not the reason why you’re being outranked in Google.
In a recent Webmaster Central office hours chat, John Mueller said links can take effect “essentially immediately”. And that it can take weeks for rankings to be affected because it can take more than 1 link to make the difference.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, except those who think short term.
Right now I’m contacting a bunch of sites that have written listicles that don’t feature a brand I work with.
(Not a deliberate omission – this brand wasn’t on the radar until recently.)
And when these 5 sites link back to the brand’s website, who is going to expect a ranking jump?
Not me. Because I know it takes a lot more than 5 links to help a site improve in ranking.
There’ll definitely be a traffic spike, which in the case of this e-comm client, would be a welcome boost.
This in turn could become sales.
And that’s really what it comes down to: monnnnaayyy.
Build all the links you want but if it doesn’t translate into dollars, dirhams or fat stacks of cash, then, in the words of Shania Twain: that don’t impress me much.
So the long and short is this:
get links where it makes sense to do so but don’t let it take over your strategy or your life (or both).