Automated Link Building: Good or Bad?

A very necessary and vital part of promoting any web site is link building. This not only improves search engine ranking, but also the popularity of the link, and the amount of traffic to the web site. A webmaster has three choices when it comes to link building. These are to use an automated system, do it manually, or pay someone else to do it. Some times automated link building will not really help your search engine optimization.
automated linking
automated linking

Good Points and Bad Points?

Obviously, there are good points and bad points to all of these solutions. Doing this manually takes a LOT of time that you probably do not have to spare. Paying someone else to do it takes money out of your pocket. Automated link building may then seem the best way to go. However, there are some disadvantages to this as well.

One of the most popular and well known automated link builders is Zeus. You most likely have come across a link directory in your time spent on the Internet that was put together by Zeus. You can obtain either the Pro version, which costs money, or the free version, but it seems that the free version is rather obvious in the way the banners appear.

Zeus will also send out automated emails asking if you want to exchange links. These may be helpful but they are also misleading. A large percentage of the time, the webmaster that is employing the Zeus link builder to send out these emails has not even looked at your web site, yet that is the impression these emails give. If you have received a lot of these emails, chances are, you have sent them straight to the Trash bin. Even though these programs can be edited to seem more personalized, most people do not bother with doing it. Therefore, the emails may all sound a lot alike.

There are many good reasons for using an automated process to build links. A huge one of these is that it saves time. The Internet is growing larger every day and adding more and more web sites. It is just not possible to view, let alone find every possible link partner web site available. However, if you set up Zeus, it will go looking for sites FOR you. Zeus helps you move through the clutter so that you find only those sites that will work for you.

Zeus can put together a well organized and fast loading directory. Webmasters choose the categories they want in their directories. The program then adds in the site information and urls. This gets things all nicely put together in a fraction of the time you would spend doing it manually.

Another useful thing that Zeus and programs like it can do is generate automatic emails. When a web site is found and chosen for the directory, an email is sent to that particular webmaster. This is another very tiring and time consuming job when it is done manually. Not only do you need to send out emails, but you must also keep track of all the web sites contacted. Zeus can do this for you.

The list of links and contacts that is gathered from using Zeus or one of its counterparts is amazing. It would take an incredible amount of time to locate so many contacts. It only makes sense that the more people you get to know and can contact, the more chances and options there will be for the growth of your web site.

Now, while there are, granted, so many positive factors when it comes to using a program such as Zeus, the negative factors seem to outweigh them. A very big negative is the lack of the "personal touch." It seems that even in this largely computerized world, that people still appreciate and prefer dealing with others on a more personal level. Therefore, a large number of those automated emails sent out to swap links will end up in the Trash bin. People can tell if someone has actually BEEN to their web site or not just from the wording of these emails. This is especially true if the email is coming from a site that has nothing in common with yours. These emails have a template that can be edited, but most users do not bother with doing it. So, many of the emails received sound just alike.

Another problem occurs with the links pages themselves. Zeus offers only a couple of templates to work with. The free version also has banner ads you have to deal with. A lot of Zeus users say they had to spend too much time "tweaking" the directory pages so they would look like the rest of their web site. Most of the other programs like this offer nothing better in the way of links pages. The majority of webmasters have not spent any time editing the directory pages, which makes no sense. A really good web site needs pages that are similar in appearance and navigation.

The number of categories can also be a problem. Web sites utilizing Zeus tend to go for the highest possible number. It needs to be noted that quality is more important than quantity. Try narrowing down the amount of categories. If you have a large section of links that have lots of categories unrelated to your web site, you are doing nothing more than manipulating the search engine rankings by using artificial means to inflate link popularity. This is an excellent way to get your web site banned.

It has been rumored that Google has zeroed out the Page Rank on all directories created by Zeus. While it has not been officially announced by Google, it does make sense that they would do this when web sites are careless about using automated link building products. This makes the value of any link from a Zeus directory drop to just being a link.

Most webmasters like web sites that use Zeus to put them in a directory. They do not have to ask for it, and even when they respond to the automated emails saying they will not link back, their links are still there right up there in the listing. Basically, the webmasters get a free link and traffic for free.

For the most part, Zeus and other programs like it are not fully to blame. It is the fault of the webmasters for these sites. While Zeus and the other programs are not perfect by any means and are rather limited in their functions, it is the webmaster that refuses to take the time to edit the templates that causes the problem. These webmasters end up sending out emails to web sites they have not personally viewed or they have every possible category under the sun in their links directories. This is what causes the issues of possible spam and other messes.

For anyone who is considering the use of Zeus or any other automated link building program, do your research before committing. If you are going to go this route, spend the money to get the Pro or ad-free version. Take time to learn how to use it and customize it to your advantage. These can be wonderful when they are used correctly.

The best thing to remember when using automated link building products is to not be like so many webmasters who are just trying to increase their linkage in the fastest way possible. If you are tempted, think of the fable about the tortoise and the hare.