Let's share our productive how-to's...
We all know that exchanging links is very important to the success of our optimization and marketing efforts. I'm willing to share some of my ideas in developing productive link partnerships. This won't be the place to ask for specific exchanges but folks can look to your profile or sticky mail you directly if they want, so come on with the ideas.
1. I create a page and add theme specific links with a title and description. I then write to the site and send them the url of where their link could be found with a note about what I like about their site. I also include a pre-coded link of what I'd like them to place on their site for an exchange. I also let them know that I would be happy to remove their link if they don't want it on my page. I've never had anyone refuse my link and I've had everyone add my link to their page.
Don't forget subject specific directories. Check first to make sure they will not be considered 'link farm'.
One major way to help your link pop: put really good linking info on your site, with a variety of text links, banners, other graphics, etc.
I've been amazed by sites posting multiple banners to a site of mine on their pages for no compensation (although I'll usually link back). I guess they figure they look cool. Also, if you provide easy-to-copy text link, you are more likely to get the keyword-specific links that you want.
In my experience, it takes a bit of time to create a good "Link to Us" page complete with text boxes, graphics, etc., but it is time well spent.
I've also seen much about how SEs can penalise pages with the words link, links, BBS, forum etc especially the title/URL.
Has anyone come up with a neat way to describe such a page without triggering the "poison words" filters?
(We cheated by having the word "links" on our page as an image. Still, what do you do about ALT text for the image?)
I guess its less useful having a nice reciprocal link program, if the fact of its existence hurts your rankings
You could try <a href="page.htm>Li</a><a href="page.htm>nks</a> as one possibility.
You could also try words like 'web guide', 'further ideas', 'partners', 'editor's picks', etc.
>>>Has anyone come up with a neat way to describe such a page without triggering the "poison words" filters?
I use "web resources".
Some good ideas there. I also recall seeing a thread where someone was asking about use of comment tags to break up the word "links" so it looked like l<!-- -->i<!-- -->n<!-- -->k<!-- -->s in the HTML.
As was pointed out to me, this would enable a browser to render the word correctly, but a spider would only see a series of letters, separated by delimiters, and hence wouldnt detect your use of the word
does anyone have evidence that what TallTroll just said works?
If you have alot of links on a page, but you break them up with decriptive text about each link, this will take some of the risk away....correct?
I just had an idea.......use "directions" instead of "links"
1) Links to the Best SEO Forums
2) Directions to the Best SEO Forums
>>does anyone have evidence that what TallTroll just said works?
That info came from an answer from Mr Tabke, so I'm inclined to believe it ;). Also, I think it makes sense from a coding point of view.
A browser is designed to exclude the comment tags as if they didnt exist, so you clearly would end up with "links" being rendered.
A spider will see the letters, and the comment tags. It will ignore the comment tags, BUT when it compares the content of the page to the poison words list, it wont find a discrete string "links". It will find 5 strings, "l" "i" "n" "k" "s", all right next to each other. Fortunately, computers are stupid, and cant read properly, and are therefore incapable of of connecting the two (unless they are told to; its not inconceivable that the SE d/base s/ware could be configured to check for this sort of thing, but unless it becomes very widespread, I can't see that it would be worth the processor time)
Of course, if you just avoid using the word in any form, that avoids any potential problem
This is slightly different than reciprocal linkage, but I've been considering adding to my site periodically updated mirrors of related dmoz categories.
This has the upside of having relevant outgoing links that would correspond well to google's themes. I might also be able to shoot for a second DMOZ listing in the "sites that use dmoz results" category.
Finally all these related sites which are interested in SEO and link pop will see these links to their site from mine and perhaps visit...seeing a request for link exchanges on my directory pages.
Any thoughts on this?
High Dollar - High Reward, Strategic linking:
a) Find a much higher ranking site than you in the google directory under your category. Picking the site is important. Ignore the corporate sites - they don't play ball. Look for the mom & pop/single proprietor sites that rank higher than you. Even if you don't find one, this is a quality education about your topic.
b) Visit their site. Make it an in depth (20+ pages) viewing and get a decent feel for their site.
c) What is it that makes their site tick?
d) Find something about their site you have in common and send an email to them to see if anyone is at home. Praise and pump emails are out - way out. Go for questions about their core topic, find a broken link, or something that is wrong. (don't point out spelling errors).
If no reply is forth coming,
e) just resend an email "hey, you want to link?" and move on. Some will respond, most wont.
Else, If yes they are home and you get a reply to the first email:
e) Create a page on your site just for their site. Yes a stand alone page promoting their site.
f) Click a few times on the link leading to their site so they can see some referrals. (I take this to greater steps and do it every day for two weeks). We are after a link that will pump the site without fail. It's not about numbers anymore, it's about quality.
g) Finally, send them an email that you have linked to their site, and if they could find it in their scheme of things, a recip link would be appreciated.
h) Move on to the next one.
Nice Brett, very nice :)
Brett's right; if you can send them actual traffic then they'll see that you're sending them traffic if they look at their traffic logs.
I would take it one step further: don't just click on the link yourself, add the link to your site so that the site really gets traffic. Then they're more likely to link back to you.
If all of a sudden you notice an extra 1000 hits a day from 'some site', you would be more likely to link back to them to return the favor, right? It's even better if it's quality traffic, for you and them.
>Click a few times on the link leading to their site so they can see some referrals.
If you are on a static IP that could backfire if they see what you are up to or recognize that the traffic isn't unique. Probably most webmasters won't notice but....
To avoid the poison words, I just use "other sites" or "other [topic keyword here] sites".
You can include links on every page of your site. That way you can leverage webmasters for placement. Many webmasters realize that a simple link page does not bring any real traffic (most of the time) and won't bother with the link exchange. But, if you can tell them you will put them on page x that gets x amount of views a day/week or whatever, you have more leverage. You can also deal for a better position on their site. You really don't want to tip them on the benefits of link pop if you don't have to. Those that do understand about link pop, won't mind being on a links page.
Be nice though and don't poison your own links page for them :)
I like working with sites with high quality, authority in their niche, and low traffic. Professional photographers, authors, magazine, and even book publishers are often really struggling to gain web traffic. They may be dominant, or even a "brand" in print and almost unknown on the web... a situation that they find more than disconcerting.
I also raised the bar quite a bit, requiring content pages that lead into the link. As an example, yesterday, I agreed to carry a few pages of a guide for handicapped travelers to a resort region in return for links to their order page for the booklet.
Also, be on the lookout for sites serving peripheral markets that have essentially the same demographic. For instance, "birding" sites are a good place to find retirees and travelers, yet we view our reciprocals as complimentary rather than competitive.
"In my experience, it takes a bit of time to create a good "Link to Us" page complete with text boxes, graphics, etc., but it is time well spent." Rogerd
Do people actually bother linking to a (commercial) site after coming across graphics/text links a "Link to Us" page? I've seen hundreds of these pages on my years on the net and have never linked to any of the sites. Why would anybody link to a commercial site for no compensation?
Litmania, I do these pages for two types of linkees. First, if I request a reciprocal link, it is very convenient to be able to refer people to a page where they can find whatever they need. Plus, by making it super-easy to create a link for non-HTML types, I get more control over link text, image alt text, etc. And the links are more likely to work. (Amazing how difficult it is for some people to establish a simple hyperlink.)
Second, as implausible as it sounds, some people who think your site is cool will add your link to their page. They may request a reciprocal, or they may not. Sometimes they just want to dress up their own site, and if your graphic is attractive and relevant to their special interest, they may put it up. This second group of sites tends to be of the hobby/collector/special interest, or the VERY small business.
I do it mostly for the first group, but usually pick up some of the second simply because the raw materials are there. Of course, some sites don't lend themselves to this. A site belonging to an industrial bearing grease manufacturer probably shouldn't bother. ;)
>This second group of sites tends to be of the hobby/collector/special interest, or the VERY small business.
I have one site that really benefits from this. (Except it's not 'attractive' -it's really very, very ugly.) I was getting email requests to link from very small businesses, so I spent the time to do the "How to link" page, including several cut & paste codings. I even gave blanket permission to frame the page. Works!
Something I'm trying on a new site is offering "linking in depth" opportunities - i.e., instead of just home page links, we have created a few "major topic" text links that go to different parts of the site. Check back in six months and I'll let you know if anyone picked up on this.
>offering "linking in depth"
On my site, the deep link is all they're really interested in (each page is a specific guide site). It's a large site, but I had used a logical naming syntax in the urls so I just cite a few examples.
The whole links thing has been a thorn in my side for months now. I've tried many methods of approach from using different types of bait emails to experimenting with colored texts in my emails to see if different colors are more appealing than others. None of this stuff really seems to make a difference. 95% of offers to trade links will go ignored - and of those emails that actually get replied to, half say no.
My current strategy: I've reworked my inquiry email for the umpteenth time. The title is something to the effect of "we wanna trade links with you"...and the body text mentions that "we are updating our site's resource guide and are interested in adding your site". Next I BRIEFLY describe what we do (I obviously have different emails for different clients), and how much traffic we are getting a week, adding that we can potentially drive traffic to their site. At the bottom I ask them to email me back if they are interested, then put a link to the URL of the clients site. I will try this method for a couple weeks and then move on to a different strategy. Still trying to find something that works.
In the past I've gone so far as to say something in my inquiry emails to the effect of "if you are interested please copy and paste the code below into your links page"....etc...and provided an HTML link code with a title and description. I believe this is too pushy, not to mention stuff a would-be reciprocal linker doesn't want to see in an email right away.
Another approach I've used is mentioning that "we would like to trade links with you but we will add your site regardless as we are working on expanding our resource guide" (something to that effect). I'm assuming that most companies who received this email from me thought "great - somebody linked to us", then deleted my email without responding.
So far the only things I know are good ideas are: be polite and cordial, quick and to the point, and subtley aggressive. Then again, I havn't found the working formula so I could be wrong. :)
I believe that keeping the message brief and to the point is a must. I don't like getting emails from complete strangers that take more than 10-15 seconds to read.
That's all for now...:)
Thanks Michael for your post. It’s good to see this one bumped up. I’d like to know how folks are fairing with their linking campaigns so if any one has something to report or suggestions, even failures > please let us hear from you.