links: link farms? automated links?

I've been checking into page rank and inbound links in general.  I see that "link farms" and "automated links" are less than desirable.  I see companies offering to "get good relevant links" for a fee.

Then I've seen companies that are competitors, and checked to see their inbound links, and in some cases they have *thousands*.  When I look at them, they are not exactly relevant.  Yet these competitors are at the top of the search results.

My question is, on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is page rank, and how important is the quality of the linking site.  If I were to divide my time appropriately for all the various things to do to promote a site, where would finding links fall in my efforts?

linqueAsked:
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duzCommented:
linque -

>My question is, on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is page rank, and how important is the quality of the linking site.

Page Rank - not so important (5), Quality - important (8-9).

>If I were to divide my time appropriately for all the various things to do to promote a site, where would finding links fall in my efforts?

Assuming you had done the basic on page optimization then obtaining quality inbound links with relevant anchor text becomes the NUMBER ONE priority. It can be hard and time consuming but the more you have the better it is.

The first link you should obtain is a listing in DMOZ because that directory is used by lots of other directories and will supply quit a few links by propagation. Read up on DMOZ submission here http://dmoz.org/add.html and note step four is vital.

Another tip is to take your primary targeted keywords and/or keyphrases and type them into Google and add +"directories" and then +"directory" after the primary word or phrase.  You may be surprised at how many sites are out there with a listing waiting for yours to be added!

But the main work will be emails to other relevant sites offering to exchange links.  Start by looking at where all the inbounds come from for all your competitors then move on from there.  

You can outsource link building, take a look on Elance http://www.elance.com/c/static/main/displayhtml.pl?file=eol.html&module=home and go to "Web Design & Development" and "Optimization" on the next page "View all projects in this category". You have to subscribe to view a complete description but you should see a few link building jobs going.

- duz
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linqueAuthor Commented:
Thanks so much.  I'm getting *quite* the education!!   Much appreciated!
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