Using Reciprocal Links To Market Your Website
Web site promotion is a complex process, and one of the oldest ways to promote a web site is by the exchange of Links. Link exchange is the original web site traffic generation system. In the “old days” before the rise of search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN ( and all the others that have followed since ) the only way to find a web site that you hadn’t already been to was to follow a link from another web site. Therefor if your site didn’t have many links pointing to it, it didn’t get much traffic.
Search engines still use links to find new sites and to help with the calculation of a web sites importance or value. So the exchanging of links is still a very usefull way to promote your site and increase its importance to the search engines.
There are three main types of link exchange. The first type is the reciprocal link, where you literally exchange a link with another web site. They put a link to you on their web site, you place one to them on yours.
The second type of link exchange is not really an exchange at all. A visitor to your site simply decides that they will put a link to your site on their site. Maybe they like the information that is presented on your site or they like your product etc. These one way links are considered to be more important by the search engines than reciprocal links are.
This leads us to the third type of link exchange. This method of link exchanging is an “artificial” type two link exchange. How can that be? Aren’t type two links voluntary links placed by a visitor? Yes they are, but that effect can be simulated by doing the following. Basically the idea is to create a “triangle” of links – and it requires at least three web sites for it to work. Picture( or draw ) a triangle with a web site at each of the three points of the triangle. The web sites are any three sites, and they each only link to one of the other sites. So if the sites were to exchange links in a clockwise direction around the triangle they form an “artificial” set of one way, voluntary links.
So thats the three main link exchange types, now how do you go about the actual process of link exchanging? Well its really quite simple. The best way to exchange links is to ask the other web site if they are interested in do so. Usually the request is sent via email or a form on the site you wish to exchange links with. Regardless of how you contact the webmaster of the other site, remember to be polite and to give them all the information they may need to complete the exchange. For example, briefly introduce yourself and your site, with a link back to your site so they can have a look at it. It is good practise to have their link on your site before you contact them for an exchange. Once you start exchanging links you will soon work out what to say and how to say it. Unfortunately many sites are very slow to respond to link exchange requests, so it can take a long time to create a link directory – but it is still well worth doing.
There are “rules” for creating a link directory that should be followed if you want to get the most benefit from it. The rules are very simple and they go something like this.
1. Only exchange links with sites that are relevant to your site. Why? Isn’t any link a good one? Yes, to an extent all links are good – but some are better than others. If you concentrate your link exchange efforts to sites that are relevant to yours, then your site will be seen by the search engines as more important to your topic than if your links went all over the place. It is also better for your visitors to have a link directory relevant to the topic of the site they are currently on.
2. Don’t make your directory pages too long. In other words, if your directory pages scroll for more than 2 or 3 screens they are too long. Why? Because very few people will scroll further than 2 or 3 screens. So if your link is at the bottom it will rarely be found and that doesn’t encourage a webmaster to exchange links with your site. A common limit is 25 links per page of the directory. If you have more links than 25 for any particular catagory a numbered “sub” page is the best way take the extra links. For exanple if you have a directory page called “Software.html”, then once you fill that page with 25 links, the new page could be called “Software-2.html” etc. Remember to include easy navigation within the link directory – its not there just for the search engine spiders..
Thats about all there is to it, other than using link exchange sites and finding some link exchange software to make the job a bit easier. Happy Linking!
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