Understanding Inbound Links --- The Good, Bad And The UglyAll links are not created equal. There are worthless, good and great links. So, what is the difference between each one? I can sum it up in one word, "clicks".
The most worthless links are those that appear on pages that will never be read by a set of human eyes.
Some pages may be "seen" by human eyes, but they will not "read" by anyone. Bad formatting, no formatting, hard-to-read text, unorganized content, unorganized links, scraped search engine results, and pages with more keywords than content, are a few of the factors that prevent a webpage from being read by real people. You know the kinds of webpages I am talking about... You don't read them either. And, you can bet no one else will want to read at those pages either.
Google is getting pretty good at identifying these trash websites and removing them from its database, so your link on this kind of website will not provide any real value to you at all. They will not give you human visitors, and they will not give you search engine placement value.
There are two criteria necessary to define a good link. A good link is on a page that has content that people might want to read, and it is on a page that real human beings will be reading.
A great link is the same as a good link, but it could have hundreds or thousands of people looking at it in a single month.
THE EVOLUTION OF ARTICLE MARKETING AS A LINKING STRATEGY
Article marketing has evolved dramatically since the early days of 2005.
Prior to March of 2005, the only people who really participated in article marketing were those who understood the value of providing good quality content in order to get their articles published.
With the combined introduction of article submission software, dirt cheap services and the Adsense revenue generation system, the quality of article content collapsed.
Suddenly, people who were engaged in hiring $5 an hour ghost writers to write keyword-dense articles for their website, decided that those same keyword-dense articles that they had constructed for their websites, could also be used as a tool in article marketing.
Within just about three months, the publishers and webmasters who utilized third-party reprint articles in their publications went from having to pick through 200-300 good quality articles per month, to having to sort through 2,000 questionable articles per month to find the 200-300 articles that they would actually want to consider for use.
For someone like me who was entrenched in the article marketing industry, this would have seemed to be a good thing. But, with the introduction of the "Adsense article marketing mentality", the quality of content just about disappeared.
I still believe that a good article marketing campaign is predicated by good quality content. I might be stupid, but I still make good money selling several products and services through the use of quality content in my own article marketing endeavors.
One of my friends operates an article directory. He told me that for every seven articles sent to his site, he must delete six of them to maintain his website's quality standards! He is feeling the pinch of poor quality articles, because 86% of the articles he is moderating must be deleted, creating an environment where he wastes more time than should be necessary to maintain his commitment to a good quality website.
ARTICLE MARKETING ONLY WORKS WHEN IT IS A DEMOCRACY
The Adsense article marketers want to believe that they can send any piece of carp, keyword-optimized article through the distribution systems, and hundreds of websites will reprint their article.
But, it does not quite work that way.
Websites that will post absolutely anything sent to them do not survive. Some of you may think I am full of it when I say that. You might think that I just have an axe to grind. You are entitled to your own opinion. But, I could actually give you supporting examples, if I wanted to fill this article with links to websites that are no longer operational.
Here is how it comes down. Websites that have no standards, cannot keep their readers happy. If they cannot keep their visitors happy, then they will not make any money. If they cannot make any money, they will not renew their website for the second year. Sometimes they will do a second year, but they will seldom if ever do a third year.
The websites that have standards will survive, because they do have "content standards".
Think about the highest quality websites you visit regularly. Then think about the kind of content that they use on their sites. Great websites do not print articles that are glorified keyword-optimized articles.
Think about sites like:
What do each of these websites have in common?
Quality content delivers quality results.
No one wants to put your keyword-directed articles on their site, unless they have no standards of their own. And, if they have no standards, why would you want your link on their website?
Personally, I am thrilled not to get those worthless links to my websites, because the website giving me that worthless link is considered by Google as a "bad neighborhood" or "spammy neighborhood".
If you have never heard of Matt Cutts, he is a Google employee who shares some of the Google inner-workings with interested webmasters. Take a look at this post and pay close attention to his comments about "spammy neighborhoods" under the section subtitled "Bigdaddy: Done by March" at: www.mattcutts.com/blog/indexing-timeline/
If you want to get a good feel for Matt's take on "bad neighborhoods", do a search at Google for: neighborhoods site:http://www.mattcutts.com .
All links are not created equal.
Personally, I strive hard to generate good and great links to my websites.
That sometimes means that I spend several hours writing an article like this one. When I hire writers to work for me, I don't pay them $5 an hour. Good writers don't work for $5 an hour or article. It just doesn't happen.
Remember, my goal is to educate my reader and to provide good quality information to my readers.
The very nature of putting your reader first, will enable you to begin finding your articles placed on better quality websites. The better the website your article appears on, the better the quality link you will find from that website.
If your purpose in using article marketing to build links to your website is being done in the "great PageRank chase", then you really should know that Google only cares about the placement of your link on sites that have good PageRank --- sites that reside in "good neighborhoods".
If your purpose in using article marketing to build links to your website is so that human beings will use them to find your website, then getting your article placed on good websites will best serve your purpose.
When all is said and done, if your links appear on good pages, on good websites, in good neighborhoods, then you have done well. You will see traffic from those links, and you will see better link popularity and search engine placement as a result of your good links. And finally, worthless links are just that... worthless.