As a dedicated Twitterer (join me here – http://twitter.com/andycal), I have been following with interest the ways that people use the medium to interact and market their services, websites and products.

Sticking with SEO for now, one subject that came to light was how to build links to your own site. If you have read the free DIY SEO book, you’ll already know a little bit about link building and how it can affect your site positively. Essentially, any site that has a link to your site will generate a little bit of ‘rank’ for your page. Some SEO people call this ‘link juice’ and you’re looking to get as much ‘link juice’ as possible.

But how do you get these links?

Many years ago it used to be easy, you’d just go and comment on some-one’s blog and leave behind a link to your website. You would get a link to your site from theirs – instant link juice. However bloggers got fed up with this as their blogs were becoming no more than a spammers paradise for grabbing as many links as possible. This was especially bad for popular sites, very soon the amount of comments would become overwhelming, ruining it for the genuine commenter and owners alike.

So, they started to implement the ‘nofollow’ rule, essentially a tag on the HTML that would tell search engines to ‘not follow’ any particular link, rendering it pointless to spammers looking for good juice.

Recently on Twitter, Jim Connolly (http://twitter.com/Jimconnolly) a marketing expert in Yorkshire (http://jimsmarketingblog.com/) tried an experiment. He essentially opened up his blog so that all links are now ‘dofollow’. If you post over there, you will gain a little from Jim’s site ranking.

If you go look at it, you’ll notice something straight away – Jim gets a lot of comments. His post on his experiment itself got 172 comments! Time will tell whether the spammers will grab hold of this site and fill it full of link sapping nonsense, but with today’s anti-spam tools getting better every day, we believe it can be kept under control.

If it works, then Jim has happened upon something that could be a real boost for the Internet marketeer. You see, it’s easy to get lots of links to your site from worthless directories or link farms – pay $50 a month that they’ll send thousands your way, but do they help? Although they might not directly harm, they don’t help you to build the reputation you want for your site.

Google (and the other search engines for that matter) like sites that have a good reputation. If your site is well visited and well linked from sites with authority then you will be loved by Google. You begin to build reputation and your reputation spreads. Self promotion eventually turns into automatic promotion as other people begin to link automatically to you.

If you have a site that people look at and immediately thing “blimey, that’s good”, they are more likely to link to you, comment on it or tell others. This will build your links, your reputation and your ranking naturally. You can do this by commenting on other people’s blogs and adding value. By adding value you are not only helping your own site to flourish, you’re helping the Internet grow and become the solid information portal that Tim Berners-Lee wanted it to be.

Oh, and just for the crack, we’re doing it too. If you comment here, you’ll get a link from our site. Let’s see if it’s the start of a new revolution!