If someone was to ask you to define a text link, how would you visualize it? How would you explain it to someone that might not understand it? How do you think it might have changed from when the first text link was created up to a text link created today? These are great questions to dissect and understand the true roots of text links and the effectiveness of them.
One of the biggest conversations within the Seach Engine Optimization / Search Engine world is the concept of text link advertising and if it’s something looked down upon by the search giants. Let us take the biggest of all search portals, Google, and look at their view. I recently read a blog from an actual Google employee who gave his thoughts, which he claimed was also the Google view on the topic and he openly said the buying and selling of text links is against their policies. Of course, if you read their guidelines, nowhere does it say anything about the buying and selling of text links. Now let us backup just a bit and think about how Google is where it is today. What has made them the powerhouse they are today in the search world? The answer is very easy. . .the selling of text link ads. That product alone accounts for an overwhelming majority of their quarterly earnings.
Before we get too much further into this subject, lets get back to our questions above. I asked how you would visualize a text link and how you would explain it. Since I can’t ask all of you your answers and post them as I’m typing, it only makes sense to give my answers. So the way I visualize a text link is:
When I think of a text link, I think of a pathway; a direct step into another space. Sometimes I get very futuristic and think of the old TV show Star Trek. Remember the ole saying beam me up Scottie? A text link is very similar because it beams the user to another space, on another server, in a complete different geographic location.
Now when I think of how to describe it to someone that might not understand it, it would be:
A text link is a word, or group of words, which can be clicked and direct a web surfer to another location which will provide information related to that word or group of words. It is a computer reference to another bit of information a web surfer has the option to click and read.
The last question deals with the evolution of a text link. I ask that anyone illustrate the difference between today’s text links and the text links used when the internet was first born. There is no difference. Text links are the foundation of which the internet was built on. Without text links, there would be no internet. Without text links, there would be no internet users. They are what makes the internet “user friendly” and allows surfers the ease of navigating between one location and another to read information they choose to read without someone forcing them to do so. It is also what online advertising was built on. Show me one online advertising model that doesn’t involve a text link and I’ll show you a very ineffective online advertising model.
This brings us to the early discussion of how these search giants deem the buying and selling of text links “against their guidelines”. First of all, these text links are not their property to say how and when they are to be used. When the selling of text links is what has made them who they are today, how could they be so hypocritical in saying that another entity cannot do what they do? This blog that was read made comments about “filters being applied” to look for these sellers and not count their outgoing links. It was also mentioned about applying penalties to those selling. My response to this is, if they can live with themselves and drive their value and technology into the ground by hitting the wrong sites, then I welcome this new move. The selling of links being found automatically means their technology has to identify “intent”, which is an abstract identifier. Think of how many websites that are not selling text links will get hit with this crap because of a wrong guess.
What the search engine “gods” need to realize is, whatever product they distribute, the rest of the world will continually dissect and try to adapt. Right now, text links are the basic form of what search engine algorithms are calculated with. In my honest opinion, it’s the best calculation besides original content that any search algorithm can use to determine which site is worthy; at least the only “fair” way to do so. Sure there will be those who figure it out, but it leaves the true results out of human hands. If Google was to hire a department of several hundred thousand people to manually review and score a website, then you would fall into the hands of favoritism.
So the moral of this blog story is text links are here to stay. Search engines can say all they want to try and prevent the buying and selling of text links, but the bottom line is, it is ADVERTISING. The same advertising they sell themselves. If search engines decide to issue filters or penalties, not only will they drive their company into the ground by pissing off stockholders, but the buying and selling of text link ads will continue to grow and prosper. Online commerce is bigger than search engines, they just happen to have the bigger methods in which one could find what they’re looking for. Right now, somewhere out there, the next empire is being put together that will make the Google’s and Yahoo’s and MSN’s of the world obsolete.
Long live text link advertising!