|Creating a Link Strategy that Benefits the Visitor|
Discarding the Old Reciprocal Links Model for Something New
We are getting ready to launch a our redesigned website. In redesigning the website we thought alot about all of the link strategies out there. I really have been put off by the link strategies I have seen as far as being useful for the users to a website. I mean, who really is going to go into a links page and click on links, other than other SEO's that want to request links from the people you have on your website. We are moving to a strategy of having a "related links" section on each page. First I should say we are a travel/destination related website. What we are going to do is in each section/topic of the website we are going to have up to 4 related links. Sections/topics might be: vacation rentals, real estate, activities, restaurants, fishing, etc.
This seems to be the most useful strategy for the users to our website. I am sure we will also be linking to websites that do not link to us, simply because they have quality content valuable to our users. This seems to be an honest way of doing this.
My question is simple, will this work?
>>>will this work?
What you are looking for is not Link Partners, but simply Partners. A partnership implies a contract and in a contract both parties are giving to get, for mutual benefit. It's an interesting way of conceptualizing it.
However, arranging a similar reciprocation for your website would be ideal so you don't feel used when they stick your link in their links page with fifty others.
Is this a fresh way of approaching building links?
Yeah, martinibuster, too fresh for most out there (forgive me, I'm feeling a bit cynical about linking in general).
I agree with yvt360's concept and it was one aired with paynt a few years ago. In fact one of the original ideas was talking about creating a complete page for a partner that would help to encourage natural visitors to complementary websites.
However, having made various attempts both for personal and for client sites, I have to say that the whole experience has not been worth the candle.
1. Too many decent sites that have an inkling about SEM that they read on an amateur webmaster forum somewhere. "Linking out? Why would I want to do that? Webmasterfoo.com says it will harm my PR..."
2. Too many webmasters burned by reciprocal link pondscum - put up a link to our site and we'll return it (odd that that so rarely happens)/changing link pages to unreachable internals/rbots.txt malarkey/retro-scripting links
3. Too many people fed up with link spam (we're talking the real spam here - "I found your site about Gregorian plainsong most arousing and I think it would be a wonderful fit for my clients who also have an interest in arousing people")
So yes, I still go the way of linking out to value as you mention. And that helps my visitors.
But I wouldn't rate the time and energy involved in any upmarket link scheme any more. For the 1% of webmasters or SEMs that "get it", you have 99% who either aren't interested or who are out to do you.
Play it as a business transaction and treat it that way and you'll be less likely to get burned.
>>I mean, who really is going to go into a links page and click on links, other than other SEO's…
Well, I disagree with this. I do have a link page with relevant links and some that are not relevant at all. (I don’t care if (G) or anyone else doesn’t like it, it’s my site) I have had more than one-person bookmark the link page, but also have had several companies link to the page w/o link exchanging. It just happens to be a good resource page, so it gets traffic. Since I do not do any SEO’ing per say, i.e. I don’t do link exchanges, etc. sometimes one gets traffic to one's pages just because the pages are good.
BTW, our site is on the 1st or 2nd page for all of our major KW’s w/o link exchanging.
For an informational, non-profit (and perhaps sandboxed) site, I've just started attempting to offer custom written content to related sites in return for a few links back within the text provided to them.
In the last three weeks I sent out around 200 genuinely customized and friendly e-mail requests. Four people replied and two took us up on the offer and have since uploaded the HTML we sent.
I'll try again (after Christmas!), but use both snail mail + e-mail and some additional incentives (which I'm yet to come up with).
Perhaps strangely enough I'm somewhat pleased with even such a meagre take up.
What's disappointing is just how totally unwilling most site owners are to participate in some sort of community affair ... the web was probably better in the days when people linked more for fun than money.
Being new to SEM, I don't know if this will work but my idea is...
If, in general, outbound links are more of a detriment to one's PR, then will generating the links page dynamically (using a php/mysql script, for example) be the best compromise? The robots can't index what isn't available to them, correct?
I'm presuming there is no link exchanging going on ...just a visitor-oriented links page.
>>>If, in general, outbound links are more of a detriment to one's PR,
imo not true, a proper internal site structure will not leak much pr from outgoing links.
>>>then will generating the links page dynamically (using a php/mysql script, for example) be the best compromise? The robots can't index what isn't available to them, correct?
erm in what way would a dynamically created page be unavailable to robots? unless i completely misunderstand your point.
my understanding of how robots work is not complete...so, bear that in mind.
if the content for a particular web page is stored in a database, then only when someone requests that page (by clicking a link), will it be available for display. The script writes a query that retrieves the relevant data from the database and then prints it to the screen. This differs from static html where it's all hard-coded .html files
|The script writes a query that retrieves the relevant data from the database and then prints it to the screen. This differs from static html where it's all hard-coded .html files |
From a machine's point of view a page is a page, as long as they are being served a single piece of text/html content they can't easily distinguish between static HTML and HTML delivered from a good database-driven source - since ultimately both "look" the same when the page data has been returned.
All server-side scripts are dealt with before the content is handed off to the browser/robot so they only get the final page, not the original script source.
I use this approach often and the results have been excellent. A links section on every page increases the value of every page to it's visitors, so long as the links are high quality and on-topic. This has all sorts of benefits including building credibility, improved visitor retention, more bookmarking, better search placement, and increased attractiveness for other webmasters to link.
I also don't exchange links at least not on the basis of reciprocation alone-- I link to what I want to show our visitors, and request links from other Websites when I think their visitors (and the site) would benefit informationally. I never link to crap--it makes the page only if it helps visitors in some way.
This approach can also be used to enter a splintered, poorly accessible market, become its organizer, and establish an authority site covering it.