Here it comes.
Faster than a speeding bullet and heading straight for the wee bit of real estate right between our eyes.
The end of another year. One many of us will be more than a little glad to see slink away into history’s dumpster. But before it goes, we here at LinksManager would like to say “thank you” again for allowing us to serve you in this, our 11th year.
If there’s one thing the economy has reaffirmed in the past year, it’s the crucial role small businesses — all those so-called “mom and pop” enterprises that populate the “main streets” of our towns and internet hosts — play in the economic health of the United States.
Look at it this way. The Fortune 500 is very important, but the list is only 500 companies long. And probably half of them, or even more than half, aren’t American companies. And a fair number of the ones that are American companies were among the welfare recipients who had to be “bailed out” by trillions of taxpayer dollars in 2008 and 2009.
So it could be argued that big business and small business were equally important to the state of the economy in recent years … big business in a negative way and small business in a positive way.
There’s another difference between small business and big business that should be noted. While the government will sometimes help small businesses raise capital from private lending institutions via the Small Business Administration guaranteed loan program, there’s no true corporate welfare programs for mom-and-pop companies. No handouts, bailouts, cash for clunkers, stimulus funds or transfer-pricing tax loopholes.
No denying it, small business owners are largely on their own when it comes to riding out recessions, depressions, hard times and reduced consumer spending.
Which reminds us of something President Bush, the first President Bush, George H. W. Bush, once said: We are a nation of communities… a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.
Wow. What a fabulous sentence, a beautiful image. A shining vision of the way things are … or at least should be.
(Note: Giving credit where immense credit is due, we must point out that George H. W. only recited the words, they were written by Peggy Noonan, perhaps the best presidential speechwriter since Abraham Lincoln penned the Gettysburg Address all by his lonesome.)
President Bush was, of course, talking about the United States as the “nation of communities (with) a brilliant diversity spread like stars,” but he could just as easily — and even more appropriately — have been talking about the Internet.
Tens of millions of websites spread like stars, each page on each site a point of light in a cyberspace that, while hardly perfect, is far more “broad and peaceful” than the warlike, troubled planet below.
Each of the points of light crossed and re-crossed and crisscrossed and connected, every one to the other, by billions of hyperlinks created by millions of webmasters just like you.
There are, to give them the label they deserve, morons — some of them masters of the Big Lie — who go around preaching the gospel of an unlinked web. A 1984-like nightmare version of a web where it is considered evil for webmasters to exchange page links and article links and product links to better enable their end users to educate and inform themselves.
These morons — the Antichrist, if you will, in keeping with the Christmas season — are wrong. Look up at the sky any clear night this month (or any other month) and gaze at the stars. There they are, all those beautiful points of light … and absolutely no way, at least for us, to travel between them.
Links, all kinds of links — one-way, two-way, fourteen way, links from small businesses to other relevant businesses, links from search returns, and links to Google maps, etc. etc. etc. — are what connect the internet’s points of light. Links, every different kind of link there is, each doing its part, are what make the web a “nation of communities” we can live, work, and play in. Links are what empower us to use the web. Without them, the web would be just like the stars. A thing of beauty we could contemplate but not touch.
That’s the esoteric part of the story. The practical part concerns link building via relevant link exchange and its enormous ability to enable owner/operators of small and medium-sized online businesses to help each other survive and grow without government handouts, without a booming economy (though having a reasonably good one certainly helps), without a mega-dollar advertising and marketing budget, without a devastating monthly AdWords bill.
How does relevant link exchanging accomplish this seeming miracle? Ah, well, if you nose around this blog and read some of the “textbooks” at the Linking School you’ll find all kinds of detailed, technical answers. But since it’s almost Christmas, we’re going to steal a page from Hollywood to explain it.
Remember that other “miracle?” The Miracle on 34th Street? A pretty popular movie back in black-and-white days. Popular enough to win three or four Oscars in its original release and to be remade four times as a movie and once as a Broadway musical in the decades since.
For our purposes, the main story is irrelevant. What we’re interested in is the scene in which Kris Kringle finagles (a nice, old-fashioned word for a nice old-fashioned holiday flick) competing department store moguls R. H. Macy and Bernard Gimbel to refer customers to each other’s store when their own store doesn’t have exactly what the shopper is looking for.
That’s it. Reciprocal linking in a single plotline. A reciprocal link gives customers access to information and products that they can’t get from you. It is, in theory and in fact, doing end users a favor. A favor that they’ll thank you for — more times than not — by clicking back to your site and buying things you do have.
That’s what happens in the movie, you know. Business at both Macy’s and Gimbles soars and, though it’s not portrayed on the screen, the other New York department stores — the ones which aren’t taking advantage of this brick-and-mortar “linking” initiative — presumably get flushed.
Though the phrase hadn’t been invented when Miracle On 34th Street first came out, what was depicted in that scene was a very powerful manifestation of what we now call CRM — Customer Relationship Management.
Relevant reciprocal linking, especially when enabled with LinksManager’s patented, search-engine-compliant technology, is an equally powerful CRM tool for today’s online “nation of communities.”
A tool for extending your business’s reach to all those wonderous points of light hovering far beyond the fixed boundaries of your first, fourth, or 230th page search engine return position.