Is Link Exchange or Directory Submission Dead?
By Morris Zhang
Nowadays, there are a lot of so called Social Network Service (SNS) providers out there. Among
them the most famous ones are Facebook and Twitter and other social media websites. All of
them are characterized by being highly interactive and user-friendly.
This is good news for webmasters who are eagerly to get unique visitors to their websites.
Previously, besides on-page optimization, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they
accomplish this goal mainly by traditional link building methods including search engine
submission, link exchange and directory submission. Now they have realized the effectiveness of
those SNS websites in getting their websites exposed to a large group of potential visitors within
a relatively short timeframe. Therefore, a lot of their promotion efforts are diverted to those SNS
I don't want to say they are wrong. On the contrary, I'm always so amazed by webmasters' rapid
and correct adaptation to any emerging technique in the field of internet marketing. Take
Facebook as an example. Facebook takes the 2nd position in Alexa's Top 500 sites list,
immediately after Google but before Yahoo. Some analysts even predict that in 2011 the traffic of
Facebook will surpass Google. I'll be the stupidest webmaster in the world if I don't follow the
trend to target adequate promotion efforts to Facebook like SNS sites.
However, spending adequate promotion efforts to SNS sites does not necessarily follow that we
webmasters should neglect entirely the importance and effectiveness of link exchange and
directory submission.(Here I didn't mention search engine submission, because with tons of free
submission tool available here and there, search engine submission work is just a matter of mouse
click and thus webmasters are still willing to do so.)
Google is still the number one. Generally speaking, you can expect that the major traffic of your
website still comes from Google. Therefore, link exchange and directory submission still
contribute to your promotion targeted at Google buzz, such as Page Rank (PR). Some people
claim that Google has updated its PR algorithm so that the back links got from link exchange or
directory submission are given less votes to your PR than before. I don't see that. Even if what
they said is true, it's most likely because that Google has taken more factors into consideration
when calculating each website's PR, so that the average vote resulted from each factor, such as
back link, turns out to be less. Anyway, based on the current mainstream search engine technique
represented by Google, it's unlikely that they can achieve a relatively fair search engine ranking
result without giving serious consideration to back links. This fact won't change until a truly
intelligent next generation search engine comes out.
On the other hand, although without question those SNS websites represented by Facebook are
more effective in promotion than traditional web links or directories, they still have a long way to
dominate the whole internet. Don't be over-enthusiastic in front of those fancy things in the
internet. Do you still remember how people's over-enthusiasm resulted in the internet crisis
around the year 2000? Do you still remember how video sharing websites burned venture
capitalists' money like paper in the past few years? Stay calm my friends! We need to figure out
what actual benefits the SNS websites will bring to us and take advantage of them in a thoughtful
way. Apart from that, we should continue to invest out energy into traditional promotion efforts
like link exchange and directory submission without being misled by exaggerated SNS buzzes.
In addition, SNS websites usually need your extra efforts before you start your actual promotion
work. Put it in other words, you need to build your social network. The problem is, it takes you a
huge amount of efforts to build such kind of social network. Clearly, you can't import your email
or other contacts in real life into your social network directly, either because you don't want your
real life friends or colleagues to know what you do in the internet or because seldom there are
some people in your close life that have the same interest with you. Hence, you have to build this
social network from scratch. The time it takes is at least comparable to, if not more than, that it
takes you to exchanges links with other webmasters or submit your links to directories.
Arriving here, you probably got my point.SNS-targeted promotion is indeed more effective if you
can manage to do it. However, however effective is SNS-targeted promotion, you can't afford to
overlook the importance of link exchange or directory submission in any regard, since Google is
still the internet king and since SNS is still at its fledging stage.
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