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Linking akin to social networks

Read an article this morning called Filthy Linking Rich by Mike Grehan in which he explores search engines’ reliance on link popularity for determining search results. Comparisons are draw with social networks and others to explain why things are the way they are. It’s slightly pessimistic suggesting that things are the way they are - popular pages get more links while less popular pages get none, and the gap between the top listings and the page xx listings is growing.
In my experience, unlike social networking where it takes a certain degree of luck to bridge the divide between outrageously famous and backstreet unknown, online link popularity can be influenced by hard work and determination. If you start with a great product that makes it easier to attain links to, then all the better, but it can be done, and it’s the job of your search engine specialist to point you in the right direction and give you all the best advice on how to bridge that divide.
SEO’s have been telling clients for years to get links from sites with content in some way related to yours. It still holds true. If you sell outdoors equipment, it only takes a few links from outdoors enthusiasts sites before more outdoorsy people notice your site and link to it. Once you build that network of close links, then more people will notice you and the influence of your site will grow and links from sites with content more removed from yours will grow. Meanwhile if you ignored the enthusiasts sites and spent all your time trying to get links on popular entertainment sites, you would expend a huge amount of time and energy and not really get anywhere.
The link divide is there, but with the right approach it is not so difficult to bridge it.

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