Free Thought: Joel Lesser, LinksManager.com
The following is part of an exchange between Pete Prestipino (Editor In Chief of Website Magazine) and Joel Lesser of LinksManager on the concept of building links for the sole purpose of search engine optimization (SEO). Here are Joel's unedited thoughts on the concept:
There are two classes of link building mentality ... one class is the SEO crowd which, quite often, complicate link building and link exchange by throwing in theory, criteria and convoluted methods that are sure to cost their clients significant amounts of money to implement.
The other class is normal folks who diligently brand their sites one link at a time by linking with relevant sites within their own realm of interest while paying little or no attention to the "SEO experts" and their complicated link exchange strategies.
We tell our users to forget about pagerank and related metrics - and to simply get as many relevant links from quality sites as they can. We also tell our users to get links from low pagerank or no pagerank sites. All sites start somewhere and we think its silly and short sighted to tell a user to pass up a quality link just because the site being considered for link exchange has low rankings or no pagerank.
Sites have been swapping links for over a decade and will continue to do so because links are the currency of the Web. We think statements such as "reciprocal linking is dead" by SEO experts are ridiculous and misinforming ... not because our LinksManager software manages relevant link exchange but because link exchange has always existed. Site owners will never stop linking with quality sites and you won't ever see a search engine penalize a site for relevant link exchange.
We see link exchange as a traffic and branding function first and foremost.
We view link exchange secondarily as an SEO function. In other words, if generating quality links helps search engine rankings, great but we don't encourage our users to link in high volume to irrelevant sites in order to game the engines.
In my opinion, SEO's muddy the waters by combining SEO and improper link strategy. The two are, for the most part, separate and when SEOs attempt to complicate link building with all sorts of silly rules and criteria that don't ultimately benefit the end user, most often, it hurts the client instead of helping them.
That's probably more information than you wanted but that's my take on it.
SEO can be a dangerous and costly game these days. It pains me every time someone calls us to say they paid well into four-figures for "SEO" and got little in return. That money would have been better spent both on building thoughtful, relevant links and developing useful content!