Bill Shakespeare would be asking the same question had he been born a little later and taken up internet marketing instead of playwriting. (He would, no doubt, have been a GREAT copywriter!)
There seems to be some confusion (for me at least) on the whole issue of links pointing to and from your webpage. I keep hearing murmurings of how Google and the other search engine police do not like "reciprocal" links where you basically "trade" links with another webmaster. They also don’t like links from what they consider to be "bad neighborhoods," such as link farms or pages with no ranking with nothing but outbound links on them.
Most of us realize the importance of "inbound" links or "backlinks" pointing to our webpage, especially from sites with a high "PR" or page ranking. These essentially count as a "vote" for our site and increase it’s popularity and ranking as a result.
But getting these highly-desirable backlinks from pages with a high PR rating is not as easy as some may think. You can purchase links from high ranking pages, but this can get expensive and, if you’re paying by the month, your own ranking could fall as quickly as it started if you decide to cancel your subscription.
There has to be a bettter way. One approach that I was happily surprised with is a program by Michelle MacPhearson that shows you how to get one-way backlinks from websites with a PR ranking of 5, 6, 7 or above. She outlines a 30-minute step-by-step process through her video tutorials that shows you how to create and submit software to online software directories that generate some impressive backlinking results.
While it sounds complicated, it’s actually relatively simple and easy to do. Michelle’s video tutorials are amazingly easy to follow and the results from her methods are powerful.
There are, of course, many different ways to go about creating backlinks. I’ve visited a number of forums and webpages with some great advice and tactics for how to create more inbound links to your site.
One of the more popular and effective methods I’ve found is through the use of social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Stumble Upon, Twitter and a host of others. By "inter-linking" these with your main sales page, your blog, your Squidoo lens, etc., you can quickly create a network of backlinks that the search engine spiders love to feed on.
Another strategy which is working for a lot of people is creating a group, either through Yahoo Groups or some similar type of format, where members post their sites and all agree to add it to their own social bookmarking pages, such as Digg, Stumble Upon, etc. I’m currently working with my "team" doing this and it’s working great. We all "digg" through each other’s posts and help each other to increase our ranking with the search engine. If you’re curious about joining us, send me an email or comment on this post and I’ll let you into our secret lair.
So the question of whether to link or not is not really a question. You absolutely MUST get incoming links or backlinks coming into your site.
Be careful, however, where you get these links from. Be very conservative on "trading" links. According to everything I’ve been reading, "reciprocal" linking does very little to help you and could potentially work against you.
Also be careful with how many "outgoing" links you have on your site. Depending on how many links you have and where they are pointing, you could be shooting yourself in the foot in terms of your standings in the search engines.
All this is, of course, much more complicated and detailed than I am qualified to discuss. There are some fantastic sites that go into the ins and outs of what to do and what not to do to get quality links coming into your site. It’s an important topic to consider and to research.
The bottom line is that you will definitely need quality backlinks pointing to your site if you ever want to increase your ranking with the search engines. It’s worth looking into and doing it right from the start.
(P.S. – do me a favor and "Digg" this site … what can I say? … I need a another incoming backlink!)