What the heck is a Link?
Have you heard people talking about needing to get links or back links to a website and not understood what they are talking about?
Lets say your business is a Bank and you want to get deposits. If you are a privately owned bank and nobody knows you it might be tough to get people to trust that you will keep their money safe. But if the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) says they will stand behind deposits made in your bank, potential depositors may be more inclined to trust your bank. Why? Because the FDIC is known and trusted and they in turn are passing on some of that trust to you.
This is the same theory behind links on the internet. The major Search Engines look at your site and make an evaluation of what it is relevant to. Then when the Search Spider is out searching through other sites it records that some of those sites point to yours through a “link”. If those links pointing to your site are coming from places (websites) that the Search Engine trusts, some of that trust will be transferred to your site. Thus that link has value.
All Links are not created equal. In the Bank and FDIC example, the FDIC would be the Trusted Link pointing to a lessor known (your bank) If instead the recommendation for someone to trust your bank was a not in pencil on a public restroom wall... That would carry little trust and could even hurt your reputation. The same is true on the internet. Some websites the Search Engines have determined to be of less reputation for passing on trust and in fact can hurt your Search Engine Ranking.
Think of the internet like a village. Everybody walks around the neighborhood, interacting. Over time some of the people in the village are looked to as wise or trust worthy. Other people you may know as really good friends. Still more would be acquaintances, you know them but not well enough to trust them implicitly. Over time some of the Acquaintances may become more trusted. Some friends may be trusted less. Others may move to the village and you would begin to interact with them.
On the Internet the Old Wise ones would be “Authority Sites” places the Search Engines put a high degree in trust on. A link from them would be very beneficial to establishing your credibility. The Friends would be other business sites or websites that are related to yours somehow. They would add to your over all reputation but each link from a site like this would only count as a single vote of confidence where a link from the Authority Site may count for ten votes.
Similar to the village example, a new person moving to town might have a tough time being trusted like others that have lived there a while. It doesn’t mean the new person is bad or can’t be trusted, they just have not established any history yet. On the internet a Search Engine wants to establish some history of a website before they just present it in a search to a searcher. In a way, when the Search Engine Promotes a website to the top of the results, the Search Engine is giving its stamp of approval. It is saying to the searcher, I know this site and you can trust it.
Believe me when I say Search Engines take this very seriously. That is why you need an Search Engine Optimizer , a SEO pro to help promote your website.