Links are important to Google, Yahoo and MSN in determining where your site is placed within the search results. As you probably know, the more links, the better you will place.

The engines place a weighting factor on each link. That is, a link from an important site like CNN.com would count for a lot more than Jimmy Bob's personal homepage.

Google calls its importance-scoring system "PageRank," and it's been a fundamental building block of Google's ranking algorithm since day one. Tactically improving the PageRank—or, more generically, your "link gain" across all the major engines—of your homepage and of key internal pages of your site is critical to being well-ranked and thus getting traffic.

Links are the currency of the Web, so it is important to have a plan in place to improve the number and quality of the links to your site from the outside. That is the idea behind link building.

Link building can be approached a number of ways.

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