Rae Hoffman (aka Sugarrae) spoke this morning on the Link Strategies panel at Search Engine Strategies Toronto. I have a personal hunch about links and how powerful they are for search engine rankings. What really surprised me was how Rae Hoffman suggested that the days of reciprocated links are all but dead to the "smarter" search engines (she seemed to take issue with MSN Search).
I'm not sure that Rae Hoffman is correct about reciprocated links. That being said, I was fascinated by her knowledge and insights into linking. Yes, linking is all about good quality linking (who's linking to your website and what kind of traffic that link is delivering), but the notion that reciprocated links do not work can't be accurate.
How do I know?
Well, Rae Hoffman, how come if you Google your name - Rae Hoffman - in quote marks (to ensure it does an exact search) this post comes up very close to the top of the search engine rankings?
This Blog is based solely on reciprocated links and (by my guess) would be considered a very new site. Sure, there is a lot of fresh and frequently updated content here, but the reason the "smart" search engines are picking up this Blog posting: Rae Hoffman On Links At Search Engine Strategies is mostly because of the reciprocated links that have been created on this Blog without it being "grandfathered" into the search engines, This Blog is neither old enough or respected enough for that (that's my humility talking).
So, Rae Hoffman, please help me understand how reciprocated links are dead if people who Google your name, Rae Hoffman, found this post?
I asked this question during the Q&A session directly to Rae Hoffman. The answer I got back was that my Blog has great relevancy and the notion of reciprocated links no longer working applies to commercial websites.
Confused? Me too.
I guess the battle rages on.
Another common heard response to the hows and whys of search engine ranking from the speakers at Search Engines Strategies Toronto goes something like this: "there could be many reasons why this is happening. The reality is that Google uses over one hundred variables to decide how to rank a website."
Way to help marketers not to be afraid of technology.
Until someone unlocks the Google Da Vinci Code, I guess we'll never know why "Rae Hoffman" appears at the top of a Search Engine query for this Blog posting. I think it's mostly the reciprocated links. Rae Hoffman will argue that it's relevancy.
We're probably both right and that does little to help marketers better understand the world of search engine optimization and the world of search engine marketing.
It's also why we need more events like Search Engine Strategies Toronto. We all have to better understand how to optimize our content for search engines. As marketers, we need search engine marketing as a line in every marketing and advertising plan.