Links and Prom Dates – What do they have in common?

This is not likely the last (maybe not the first) off the wall post. Afterall, without a sense of humor life can kind of suck sometimes.

There is a lot of talk about links (aka “inbound links”) and link building in the world of search marketing and when talking SEO. I’ll skip the commentary and common reasons/need for inbound links to your website and just leave it at – you need them.

But not all links are created equal. And if you can remember back to high school – neither are prom dates.

So let’s take a quick look at some common types of links.

Bad directory links – There are a lot of lousy directories out – A LOT! Google knows it and you should know it. This is the girl that doesn’t really want to go to prom but her Mom is making here and since your Mom is making you go this is who you go with.

Good directory links – Okay, so you have to go to prom. This is the slightly cuter girl who doesn’t really want to go but knows she may regret it someday if she doesn’t so like you, she has to go.

Paid Links – Do I really need to explain what paying for a date means? Hey, prostitution is a huge industry in the world and although many wish it would go away – it’s not. Why? Where there is demand there is supply. And if nobody gets caught and nobody gets hurt – where’s the harm?

Reciprocal link exchanges – This one might be the worst of them all. This is taking your sister to the prom. Okay – maybe some are like taking your cousin at least and a few get upgraded to your hot cousin from out of town and if you’re really lucky nobody knows and nobody ever finds out you brought a relative to prom. But still – you’ll always know.

One-way links with just your URL – Beggars can’t be choosers. This is your kind of cute friend. If you take her you’ll probably have a good time but you know there’s no love connection – she’s your friend and that’s all – in the back of your mind you think you could have done better.

One-way links with good anchor text – Your really cute friend that you’d like to more than friends with – does she feel the same way?

Home page links – She’s hot, she actually said yes and seems to be having fun! This comparison alone (like many others) could have several variations based on the content of the page, the popularity of the page and the type of link but this isn’t a white paper, it’s a silly blog post about chicks and SEO.

Home page link on CNN – Head cheerleader, and you’re losing your virginity after the party!

There are of course many other types of inbound links but the attempt at humor with the analogy to a prom date only goes so far.

I’ve excluded some real bottom of the barrel type of links (auto generated link spam, link farms, etc…) because nobody wants the image of those girls. We know who they were (or are) and they might be fine for a quick bit of joy but afterwards you feel dirty and don’t ever want to go there again.

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