Finding relevant reciprocal links can increase your site traffic and popularity with the search engines.
Links help your popularity with the search engines. They
should also bring you more visitors, if the sites that link
to you are relevant, and have high traffic themselves.
The key word here is "relevant". Link farms and fr'ee-for-
all link sites will probably reduce your ranking and
visitor popularity if anything. After all, if you visit a
fishing site, you probably won't be interested in links to
baby food recipes, car maintenance, or knitting. That's the
view the search engines take too - it's not the quantity,
it's the quality that counts.
Visitors from those links won't be buying much either.
People prefer to buy from specialists or experts, rather
than a jack-of-all-trades.
So what's a good link?
Take a good look round the site. Is the navigation easy? Is
the content useful, and relevant to your visitors? Are you
happy to recommend it to them?
If the answer to those questions is "Yes", then delve
further. If you're selling a product or service, will they
be in direct competition? If so, you won't want to link to
them. Check the site with the IE Google toolbar (a fr'ee
download from http://toolbar.google.com ) and see how high
it ranks with Google. If it's the same as, or higher than,
your own site, then it's worth considering for a link.
Is the link page easy to find? It's no good having a link on
a high-ranked site, if their visitors never see it.
Ideally, they should link to it from every page of their
site, and the link should be part of the main navigation -
not down at the bottom of the page in the "small print".
So how to find those links?
Some you'll come across yourself, while surfing, if your
website is related to an interest that you have. I've even
found good links when helping my children with their
homework! Keep a "jotter" program available while you
surf, so that you can make a record of these sites. Or use
a real jotter if you prefer!
But the tool I use most, and which has made finding and
maintaining my link pages much easier, is Arelis - Axandra's
Reciprocal Links Solution,
You can search for links by keyword, by using a website
that has a similar topic, or by checking for sites that
aready link back to you.
Once you've deleted any sites that you aren't interested in,
you can then use the built-in browser to visit the sites and
decide if they should be included in your links directory.
Arelis stores these in a database. You can email the
webmaster (Arelis will search out the email addresses while
it finds possible link sites.) You can categorise the sites
however it suits you. You also have a host of options on how
far your reciprocal link with each site has got, from "Not
contacted yet" to "Links back", with a range of other
options to cover all eventualities.
Once you've agreed a reciprocal link, enter the URL of both
your link page and theirs into the database, and then Arelis
will check your links whenever you tell it to. It will check
incoming and outgoing links, so you'll quickly see if one of
the links on your site is broken, or if the link-back to
your site no longer works.
The paid versions allow you to email and to create link
pages direct from the program, as well as creating databases
for more than one site.
You can try Arelis at no charge - the help file will soon
have you finding links for your site, though you'll need to
use your email program to contact webmasters.
Here's the link:
If you want to exchange links, it's courtesy to add their
link to your site first. That way they know you're serious.
Make sure your link page can be accessed from all the
pages of your site, and that the link isn't hidden in tiny
print at the bottom of the page. Include it in your main
navigation if possible.
You may offer special status to sites that link back - a
logo or icon by their name, or being listed at the top of
your link page.
Don't overload your link pages with graphics. If you use
an individual button for every link, your page will load
much more slowly.
Be polite when you email webmasters - it's easy to forget
that they're people just like you! Don't be offended if they
don't want to link back. If the link is useful (and it
should be - or why ask for an exchange?) then I leave it on
my site anyway.
When you send out a reciprocal link request, include the
exact URL where their link can be found - don't expect
them to search your link pages until they find their link.
When emailing webmasters, give details of your site title,
URL, and a brief description - no more than two lines. Make
it meaningful. Avoid descriptions like "The World's Greatest
Web Site". This doesn't tell anything about your site
content - just that the webmaster has a big head!
Dianne Reuby is co-author of the e-book "First Website
Builder". Dianne created and runs the First Web Builder
site, dedicated to providing ebooks and tips for new
Visit FWB at http://firstwebbuilder.co.uk/
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