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Link Development Forum

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In Search of a Link Exchange Checklist

 12:20 am on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

In another thread I posted some thoughts about identifying link exchange requests one might be safe staying away from. Not all exchange requests are bad, and whether they are bad or not isn't the topic of this thread.

What I would like to hear is, what do you consider the tell tale sign of a link exchange transaction that may go bad?

Obviously some of this is subjective and some people may not agree- we all have different thresholds of risk as well as objectives. I don't think there can be a one size fits all list.

  • Evaluate the content
    I look for original content that wasn't sourced from an affiliate program or is repeated over hundreds of other websites. I look for content that someone seemingly put time into putting together.

    If the requester is an ecommerce site, then I check to see if the website has been around awhile. I hesitate to consider a site that has recently been registered, and has been put together in a heavily seo'd manner.

  • What is the link page like?
    I give a thumbs down to directory style link pages, and especially link pages that are several pages long.

  • If the website is written in poor English

  • If the link request is in poor English

I'm certain there are many more additions to this list. Anybody else want to add some thought?



 12:48 am on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Here are a couple questions that I use to help me evaluate requests.

  • What is the requesting site's topic? Does the site that requested the link exchange fit with my site. If my site is about Widgets, I look for sites that somehow relate to Widgets, Widgeting, or even things that Widget-fans would find cool.

  • Is it a form letter? When a request feels like it's a form letter created by a bot, I tend to say no unless it's an exceptional request.

  • Does the requesting site use "nofollow" tags or redirects for external links? If so, a link from that site really isn't reciprocal, but it might still be a worthwhile link.

  • Site Quality I look for glaring typos, broken images, or the dreaded "Under Construction" animated gif.
  • jo1ene

     12:52 am on Mar 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I wouldn't worry so much about the age of the web site. That's like not bing able to get a job because you don't have any work experience. How were you going to get the experience?

    If the content looks good and the SEO looks above board, go for it. Link exchange requests aren't ONLY about gaming SEs. Folks need to get some beginning traffic too.

    I love the off-topic requests the most. Well, no...not really. What the heck does bursitis have to do with eating disorders. Health? Get real, pal!


     1:42 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Martinibuster, great thread you started..

    Honestly, I have stopped reading e-mail request... Only thing I look at is the "website" the link is offered from. (If you send 3 or more sites, then I will actually read the e-mail)

    Couple of things I look for...

    - Does it say the word "links" in the title, URL, header tags or text link pointing to page?
    I click “X” if it does. Bye-bye

    - Are the links static?

    - How many external links on page? Over 20? I click the "X" Bye-bye

    There are two items that ensure a long-term trading relationship…

    - Are they willing to have my hyperlink embedded in the middle of a sentence or paragraph?

    - Will they place my link on a “real” sub-page of site (not a “links page”)? I want to be on real pages. (I take especially good care of these trade partners!)

    Another type of trade I value highly are Pre-Sale Pages. You give me an entire page devoted to my client site and I give you a page devoted to your site (from a 3rd site on another C-Class). Win-Win for everyone! Interested PM me *smirk* I take extra good care of these people!

    My thoughts are anyone can get a 100 crappy links quickly. I am looking for links that will benefit my clients now and "in the future". Basically, I want and expect results. At the end of the day, all a client cares about is results and ROI.

    Execution = Results


     2:04 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I avoid sites that look like this:

    <h1>Widgets Keyword</h1>
    -------------- (adsense) --------------
    Widgets State A ¦ serp scrape position 1
    Widgets State B ¦ serp scrape position 2
    Widgets State C ¦ serp scrape position 3
    Widgets State D ¦ serp scrape position 4
    Widgets State E ¦ serp scrape position 5
    ... etc

    I get recip link requests from people making these kinds of sites all the time.

    I don't even do recip links, so its just a low quality inbound for my site.


     2:05 am on Mar 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

    1) They must give me their phone number, I like to know that I am not talking to a spam bot or at least lower the chance of it being one.

    2) They must link to my web site first, you asked me, I didn't ask you.

    3) The email must get to the point and be short, I don't need them telling me what a link can do for my web site's ranking (And don't say anything about Page Rank.) and I don't have all day to read emails.


     12:11 am on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

    "They must give me their phone number"

    Never thought of that. Could be a reason why I get decent responses from potential link partners, Name phone number in all emails.


     2:38 pm on Mar 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Maybe its just me, but most anything resembling a link request
    goes right into the trash.

    In my peculiar niche, I know the major players.
    I already link to many/most of the best ones.

    As soon as I see the words "We have already included a link to your site .."
    the message goes 'dans la poubelle'. - Larry


     8:29 pm on Mar 7, 2005 (gmt 0)


    I am just about to start my first recip linking campaign. I intend on spending only a certain amount of time each day to this, as I don't think it is the end all be all. Yes I put link partners on a links page, and expect no more from them. Here are few things I will be making sure of though, when I email potential partners:

    - There site must be related to mine.

    - They don't have to be a certain PR. I don't want links from all high PR sites anyways. Just as long as they are not shady or banned.

    - Content that is useful. Doesn't have to be super quality articles, as a lot of the info on the net in any given subject is on many different sites.

    - I have heard that some people will only partner with high ranking sites... I don't believe in this.

    My question is, what are your guys biggest objections when someone asks for a link? How would you like the email subject to be? I plan on making each email unique in that it will be a template, but it will have something specific that I like about their site.

    Some of you have found that including a phone number improves responses dramatically?

    Lastly, their link will be on my page when I email them, and I will point them there so that they can see this.

    All the Best,


    P.S. My links page features the link and then a description about the site. I think this will go a long way towards it not becoming a link farm. I also plan on 20 links per page max.


     6:05 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

    The links in my directory that tend to go bad are sites that either don't have their own domain name or their domain name just forwards to a sub-domain on someone else's domain(a free web host or shopping mall, for example).


     6:36 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

    what do you consider the tell tale sign of a link exchange transaction that may go bad?

    I take each link request on an individual basis. I am fair, but very picky and I hate being conned. I'm in sales and marketing. I can spot a con from a million miles away.

    80% of link requests never get opened for various reasons:

  • Their subject title is generic and obviously cranked out by the hundreds
  • Their subject title says "attn: webmaster"
  • Their subject title uses my e:mail address in place of my name or company name
  • Their subject title makes ludicrous claims

    Of the remaining 20% I open 18% are trashed after reading the first line

  • The opening line is "Dear Company Name" (you want a link from me - find out my name! Its right there on the site!
  • The opening line is "Dear Webmaster". (See above)

    Of the remaining 2% I open, 1.5% are trashed if:

  • They state they have already placed a link to my site. (Thanks ... no need to respond then!)
  • Their site has little or nothing to do with my business.
  • They open by telling me how a link exchange will benefit both our sites. Please ... don't kid a kidder or presume to teach me what you think you know!
  • Their site is nothing but ads!
  • Their site has no content which would benefit my clients or potential clients.

    Of the remaining .5 percent I read:

  • Very few make it past the cut unless they are located within my home turf and have to do with travel in my part of the world.
  • They have an outstanding site which my clients or potential clients really ought to see ... then I will link to them without any need to reciprocate.

    So to answer your question

    what do you consider the tell tale sign of a link exchange transaction that may go bad?

  • Sending me a link exchange request!

    Write me an e:mail, using my name and asking for a link to your site. If its worthy, I will give it freely with no strings attached ... the way the internet was meant to be! :)

  • martinibuster

     8:01 pm on Mar 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Great post Liane! I laughed and I cried! :)


     10:16 am on Mar 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

    > I give a thumbs down to directory style link pages, and especially link pages that are several pages long.

    The primary source of recip link deals is the topic-related directory I manage. It recently got a DMOZ-listing and now G started to list my site under "thetopic-directory". A lot of webmasters (still/already) believe in authority so on-topic link requests are coming in on a daily basis.

    > If the website is written in poor English

    agreed. if you don't speak english or can't afford a translator, publish in your own language.

    > If the link request is in poor English

    disagreed. You would find it hard to believe how many webmasters are out there who publish quality content, know enough about design and seo but speak and write poor english. I can speak for some countries in europe where a big chunk of the 50+ generation has severe problems with english.

    On the other hand I am getting these unpersonal mass link-requests from companies in India, obviously written in impeccable english. I really don't think the quality of the language is a delimiter.


     9:53 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Almost all of the link exchange requests I get are hilarious. Got a great one yesterday, though. Seemed very personal, and a site that might even be on target. I actually went as far as going to take a look at the site. The only problem was that they obviously had just bought the domain name, and there wasn't even a site there! Just a placeholder from their hosting company. Why go to the trouble of sending out link requests (with the claim that you've already posted a link back to my site), when you don't even have a site up? <rolleyes>


     10:00 am on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

    They state they have already placed a link to my site. (Thanks ... no need to respond then!)
    Hmmmm... I want to believe that I always offer quality link exchanges when I email potential link partners. However I often do place a link to their site before emailing them. I thought it might make things easier. Do you people think it is rather rude as Liane suggests?

     4:42 pm on Mar 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

    Do you people think it is rather rude as Liane suggests?

    Actually, I wasn't suggesting it was rude to place a link on your site before contacting someone and requesting a reciprocal link. I thinks its a waste of time.

    To be honest, I don't believe in reciprocal links at all. That was the point of my post ... but perhaps I was too subtle. ;) Some webmasters may respond to such a message by actually going to see your site and taking a look around.

    Note: I might take a peek too ... but its not very likely if your URL is "mega-savings.com" and has nothing to do with what my site is all about.

    Many webmasters who use this tactic, often do so with the underlying "threat" that if the other webmaster doesn't reciprocate within a specified time, they will remove your link. Well I didn't ask for it in the first place and I believe it is more than a little presumptuous to threaten (however mildly) someone you are asking a favour of. To add insult to injury, you are putting time constraints on me too! Believe it or not, your link request may not make it to my top ten list anytime soon!

    What I was getting at in my original post was ... since you've already linked to my site, I will just ignore you and see how long my link stays put. Chances are you may forget about it for a while and in the meantime, help my rankings. Heck, you may forget about it all together and just leave it there indefinitely! ... So thanks for the link! :)


     5:27 pm on Mar 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I have begun demanding that prospective links partners put up a link for me first before I consider their site, after I discovered that more than 50% of my former links partners either had never put up a link for me at all or had not put up the information I asked for.

    Also, I am very interested in seeing what experienced webmasters consider needs to be checked when accepting a links partner.

    Any other suggestions folks?


     5:36 pm on Mar 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

    I email back to every single one and ask this simple question;

    'What was it that attracted you to my site and how can this link exchange benefit each of us?"

    I've never had a proper response.

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