I think at least in the beginning, people need to stop worrying so much about backlinks, backlinks, backlinks.
Instead, put your focus on traffic.
Because if you don't have traffic, you can't succeed, end of discussion. No matter what it is, you just won't succeed without some type of traffic (when it comes to making money anyways).
Let's say you own a pizza shop, you open up the pizza shop in the middle of nowhere and get all of your "pizza" pals to send a letter to the government (google), saying how amazing your pizza is (backlinks). Doing so probably won't get you anywhere. Even if it does, it might not have a longterm effect either.
But let's say you own a pizza shop, open it up in the middle of nowhere, but begin to market that pizza shop and get the word out that it exists. At first, you probably won't have much success, but let's just say a customer comes to your pizza shop and then tells their friend about it. So you have 2 customers. Then you market more and more everyday, simply by building traffic.
Suddenly people start to notice you exist, maybe not a ton of people, but enough to make your living worth while. You never talk to the "big guys" (google) or even worry about them, but then, because you have so much attention, the "big guys" begin to notice you exist as well.
This example might be a little weird, but it's pretty simple. Focus on traffic first, worry about backlinks later. Yes you can receive traffic from ranking in the search engines, but if you aren't building traffic, who's to say that you won't be slapped by the Google Dance?
So to keep yourself save, focus on multiple streams of traffic.
Here are a few good methods.
- Join forums and communicate with others.
- Answers questions on Yahoo Answers
- Depending on your niche, use classifieds like Craigslist
- Write short articles, leading people to your website/business
- Create a Facebook fanpage and stay active
- Work on creating a list by giving away things for free
There are MANY more options out there. In fact there are probably hundreds.
So get out there and build traffic to whatever it is you have to offer, whether thats a niche website, business, product, service, or whatever.
Take Nike into consideration and "Just Do It."
P.S. Backlinks can be helpful in ranking websites, I just don't think they should be your primary focus. So for those that actually read this entire post, share your thoughts on how to build traffic other than search engines