Big push on Google ranking now a days to the point where a lot of people are forgetting why we link in the first place, which is to provide enjoyable content for our viewers with our out-links and or a means for our viewers to find us when we list the site elsewhere. While a great many of my articles deal with linking popularity and how to get it, this article is a cravat of not to take that idea too far.
Rank as a limiter:
Refusing to link to a site that has no google rank, is like the old argument of you can't get a job without experience and you can't get experience without a job ! A great many people are letting the rank of a site, overshadow the value the site contains.
I recently had a link with a company who limited it this way, and when I recategorized my links and moved some around to new pages, they dropped the link, because the new page I moved their link to, didn't have a high enough google rank, it had rank mind you, just not high enough to suit them.
I told them what they could do with their link, as apparently the only reason they wanted it, was to share my PR ( page rank ) the content of my site didn't matter to them.
Linking just for Google rank:
Rank is important make no mistake, but it's not everything. I just got a letter today for a link request and they went on and on about how they wanted to link to/from page with X rank or higher etc. etc. completely forgetting they are asking a person for a link to a site, not a page rank !
I told them thanks but no thanks. Look at a site you want to link to as an asset to your site, if it happens to have good rank too, great, but if it does not, it will eventually, if its good, so why not help it along ?
Google is not the be all and end all of search engines:
Granted Google is a fine engine which I use a great deal, but it's hardly the only one. My business site has only 128 links on Google at present that show up, most of them my own site pages with a rank of 5, however my total listing for all engines is over 50 thousand, many of which list several hundred links.
So while Google is fine and dandy, it has not even listed all of my own site yet and its been up for years now ! Yet all these other engines seem to manage to list everybody and everything. This is because Google will only show you listings of a high enough rank and ignores the rest and they freely admit this. Yet high rank or low all those other links DO count even if they don't generally give them to you when you ask for them.
Listing for traffic:
The whole point of search engine listing is for traffic, not ratings. If you get the traffic what difference does rank make ? I happen to hold top ranking for most of my keywords, but it's because it's spread out so far and wide they can not help but list well, even using a linking popularity standard.
No matter where you go in my targeted area, there I am, and that is what gives me the ranking, but my reason for doing it was for the targeted traffic the site gets and if I get good rank out of it while doing it, great, if not, as long as I get the traffic should I really care what the rank is ?
Link Popularity will grow on its own:
Now I mentioned earlier than my business site has over 50 thousand back-links, while I am a busy person when it comes to listing my site with new places, I am not THAT busy doing it, so where did they come from ? Where such links always come from and always have, voluntary links to the site, from people who found it and want to share it with others, because they like it !
Which is what the whole term popular is supposed to mean that , it IS popular, meaning people will link to it, because you provide something they want to share with the world. Which is what Google intended, making the assumption if people link to it, its good and therefore is the best example of its type, so goes to the top of the list as being the most relevant. A perfectly reasonable assumption.
Rank can be meaningless:
By putting a number on it however, Google has done something of a disservice although I am sure they did not intend this, because now the rank of a site means more than just how high up on the engine listing it is.
But like all such things once the idea of how the rank is obtained is known, it's subject to false positives. Which is what is happening with all the link requests that are based on a sites rank, not its value. It's an attempt to gain an unreal popularity ranking, by manipulating the score.
There are, sad to say, many ways to do this, until the engines wise up and realize that guest book signing and forum posts and a million other ways that falsely inflate these scores, should not really count for link popularity, it will continue. Recent updates to the engines show they are starting to consider this.
For myself, I link only with those who will provide a good content to my viewers or some other value, and place the site with engines and directories that I hope will bring in traffic, but I refuse to place it where it has no meaning just for the sake of another link, nor will I link to sites I don't like or approve of, just because they have a good page rank.
So while getting to the top of the engines in order to be found, is still the order of the day, lets not forget, while we are at it, the whole point behind linking. Because if the out going link provides no value you do your viewer a disservice and if the in bounds are just to inflate the numbers, you have defeated the whole purpose for having a link out there, which is for someone to find your site.