what is the best linking strategy?

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The answer is simple: natural linking gives best results. So all your linking strategy must be as close as natural linking. There are various link farm pages, link directories, special pages in projects created just for links. Do they give some tangible benefit?
YES they DO, but as the time goes by, the smaller benefit you get from it.
Why?
The answer again is simple: this is not natural linking. Link farms emerged just because people wanted to get higher results in serps. These pages don’t give additional value to the site and only few users will navigate through these link pages. In common words it’s a section in page created for the search engine robot, not for the visitor.
how to link?
The best link is the context link. If there is article somewhere related to your theme its good idea to think how to get a link from there.
You can write your articles, add links to other websites and ask a link backs from other articles which are related to content.
Link pages are still OK if they are not overloaded with thousands of links. With the contextual linking you increase value of your link page, because you don’t need to add everybody to your links page.
People will say – its nonsense. Why to drive the customer away from my site through the links? The answer is simple again – you get customers the same way from other websites as well, ask link partners to do the same as you do, and everything will be OK.

Its a lot of work, but please understand that internet market grows bigger and becomes wiser. Search engines are way more intelligent than 5 years ago. These dark ages when you could get high rankings just by adding lots of keywords to your page are gone forever.

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