Not too long ago, one of the important factors in the Google algorithm that determined if your web site was SEO ready was the number of backlinks you had. Generally speaking, the more backlinks you had, the better … provided they were from reputable web sites with good traffic. Many SEO experts now believe that Google has changed its tune in regards to backlinks and is giving them less importance in their scoring. The thinking is that backlinks can easily be had for free from legitimate directories like Hotfrog or can be bought from any number of shady operators that build sites that do not provide real value. Will a Hotfrog link hurt your site? Probably not. Is it worth the time it takes to set up the account and then add into your own web site? Maybe. No matter deep you dig, there’s no definitive answer.

It’s said that a decade ago Google had 11 criteria it based a web site’s ranking on, with backlinks being one. That number is now closer to 200, and backlinks are still in the mix, but not nearly as important as they once were.  So if you have the time to work in Hotfrog and the likes, then go for it. It’s not likely going to hurt anything.

But you probably are better off spending your time trying to build backlinks with companies you already do business with and/or bloggers that are writing about your industry. If they have good traffic, the links mean more to Google because they are relevant and coming from a trusted source.

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Definition of a backlink

According to Wikipedia, a backlink for a given web resource is a link from some other website (the referrer) to that web resource (the referent). A web resource may be (for example) a website, web page, or web directory.

A backlink is a reference comparable to a citation. The quantity, quality, and relevance of backlinks for a web page are among the factors that search engines like Google evaluate in order to estimate how important the page is.