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Article by Steve Mapúa
Dec 2, 2001

In The Begining

It was customary to have the "obligatory" links page. This was part of the illusory "web" concept that there was no "end" to the internet. People simply provided links to sites they felt offered valuable information. This heuristic provides the foundation that link popularity is based on. If a site offers valuable information, then people will link to it.

Related Sites, How it all Started

Savvy webmasters figured that if their site was a vacation destination, other websites for the same destination would drive traffic to their site. These were the beginings of relevant linking. Someone traveling to Hawaii, would be searching for hotels, activities, shopping, services, etc. Providing this information was a value plus for visitors. Cooperative marketing was a win-win situation. Cross-linking as it was called then was a great way to boost traffic. This was long before Google or any of the modern day SEs decided consider relevant linking.

What Happened Here?

Link popularity created a monster, a whole industry of linking. Is it going away, I doubt it. I believe it is here to stay. I belive it is to the SE's advantage that ranking requires popularity. They are after all advertising platforms. However, lets not forget the basic tenets outlined above. Link trades with related sites offer value to your clients. They are a way of generating traffic. PageRank boosts benefit both sides and is a win-win situation for all.

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