A Beginner's Guide To Exchanging Links
Copyright © 2004 Suzanne Morrison
Reciprocal linking is an effective, free way to get more visitors to
Exchanging links with other webmasters can help you in two ways.
Firstly, by getting your link displayed on other websites you are
increasing the number of paths leading back to your your own site.
This in turn will increase the number of visitors.
Secondly, exchanging links will increase the chances of getting
your web page ranked more highly in the results returned by
The reason for this is that for most search engines, the number
of links pointing to a site plays a huge part in determining
where that site ranks. Why? Well, wouldn't you be more likely to
visit a place that had been recommended to you by a friend?
The same reasoning applies to search engine positioning.
A link from site A to site B is like a vote for site B. The more
votes that site B gets, the higher it is regarded by search
However, quantity is not everything! A link carries more weight
if it is from a high quality site - in the same way that a
recommendation from a trusted friend would be taken more
seriously than a recommendation from a casual acquaintance.
If you have been reading up on the subject of search engine
positioning, you may be familiar with the term "PR", or "Page
Rank". Page Rank is Google's way of measuring the "importance"
of a web page. In simple terms PR is a number between 1 and 10
and can be viewed by downloading the Google toolbar.
It is easy to become hung up on or obsessed by page rank, but
my advice is to try to take your focus away from that PageRank
icon on the Google toolbar and focus your efforts instead on
building up a good set of reciprocal links. If you do this well,
the PR and search engine rankings will come.
So, how do you start reciprocal linking?
The first step is to find other sites that you want to link to.
Use search engines and links from other websites to find sites
that complement your own and try to request links from sites that
you think would interest your visitors.
You can find some linking directory resources to help you with
your searching on my
Link Exchange Directories and Resources page.
You may have been recommended to avoid linking with your direct
competitors. Whether you do this or not is entirely up to you -
the main disadvantage of doing this is the chance of losing
business, whereas the advantage is the extra traffic that you
will gain by doing so.
Personally I feel that the additional traffic gained from linking
to competitors outweighs the potential chance of losing business
Before you start your linking campaign here are a few tips to
- Ensure that there is a visible link to the "Links" directory
on the index page of the site you are requesting the link from
and that the links directory is organised. It's unlikely that your
link will be found by visitors if it is one of the 100 links on
an unorganised links page.
- Follow the above rules for your own website - it's only fair.
- Once you have found a page it is good manners to add a link
to your own site before requesting a link from another. This way
the webmaster of that site will know that you are serious and
will be more likely to link back to your site.
- Being highly organised whilst requesting links is also
important. Using link management software to keep track of all
your link requests and automatically add them to your web page
literally halves the time taken to request and manage links.
- Keep track of all the links you have requested, either
through link management software or in a spreadsheet. Add the
URL, date requested and contact information for all the links
you have requested and update this everytime a link is approved
or declined. This will help you to keep track of your reciprocal
linking campaign and prevent you from looking stupid by
requesting a link from the same site multiple times.
- Use tools to help you decide which sites to link to and to
help monitor your own progress. Tools that I use include:
Finally, set yourself a goal to request a specific number of
links per week or per month. Keep going until you meet this
target. It may be boring, but once you get into the way of doing
this, it will seem like second nature and you will start to reap
the benefits in the form of increased traffic to your website!
Suzanne Morrison is the owner of
How to Start an Internet Business. Visit her Beginner's Guide to Internet Marketing, Promotion and Advertising to learn more about
promoting your website
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