A WebmasterWorld thread has discussion on the topic of link building. This link building topic is different then the average thread. In this thread, the member asks if there was link building before Google became popular.
The link building market, which is a niche within the niche of SEO, is almost completely driven by the popularity of the Google algorithm - at least these days. Typically, the more, high quality, relevant links you have to your web pages, the higher those web pages rank in Google. It is not that simple anymore, but the premise is still mostly true. Thus, to 'manipulate' or improve your visibility in the Google search results, you had to get many, high quality links from external pages. Thus, the link building industry has been born.
But was there such a thing as "link building" prior to Google becoming popular? The answer is yes. There were a few people in the business of acquiring links on popular web pages, for the sole purpose of online marketing. These link builders purchased or asked for links on sites that had traffic, so that people would click from those popular sites to their sites.
Eric Ward (ericward.com) was one of the first, if not the first, person in the link building business pre-Google. Eric has told his story at many SEM conferences. The most remember part of his history is that he did link building as a way to promote Amazon, in the early days. He said that Amazon offered him shares in the company, but he turned it down - that is his legacy. ;-) Seriously, he was using links to market companies online before Google and he still uses links in the same fashion. He believes that those types of links are the links that mean the most to Google because they worked pre-Google for pre-Google reasons.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.
This article was written earlier this week and scheduled to go live April 9th.