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A link campaign strategy
paynt




msg:428524
 3:54 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Continuing from [webmasterworld.com...] because we went off topic which I appologize to moomelman.

I feel it's an interesting enough diversion that it's worth exploring further for those of you that are interested.

Did I understand fathom's idea, and what is the "psychology" of doing it this way? Don't mean to be a bother, but it's quite an interesting idea! - jdMorgan

Well Jim I canít speak for fathom, only myself and how I might structure this idea for a campaign.

I would start from a plan obviously. It would all depend on what the industry and themes are, what the purpose of the site is from selling product to providing company information each would have several options for developing a linking strategy. Building that around offering one link out to a linking partner, for a single page is really quite attractive.

If a page is built based on certain criteria that both supports the theme of the site while offering an opportunity for a quality link exchange, then that would seem to benefit both sites. I would think either site could provide the content. This has worked well for me in affiliate situations, especially with books. I would provide a review and a link and Iíd draw traffic with this that converted to sales.

The same can be said to be true for linking for the sake of linking. I would build the content of a page around a site that I want to link to and a link back from. I would create the page and then contact the site showing them the link. I would offer them what I have and then suggest what I would like in return. Sometimes itís just the idea for a page and then contacting a site to ask them for content in exchange for a link. Thatís if I need more information to round off a site.

This could be a really fine directory even. An art site could feature galleries and artists along with products and books. A business site could offer pages about complimentary business products or companies. A scientific site can go in hundreds of directions given itís specific niche. Really whatever theme you are working with would lend itself to creating a directory of interesting and informative product, company or topic information on a page-by-page basis all supporting and supported by the core site.

A campaign like this isnít for the beginner. This isnít spam or even a tricky practice but I believe could be a quality linking strategy. The purpose should not be to manipulate PageRank. That may be a side benefit but as with any linking PR is never my main focus. I think people waste too much time thinking about that.

 

jdMorgan




msg:428525
 4:50 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

paynt,

Actually, I guess my concerns are more basic: If someone sends me a proposal for link exchange, and I go to the page they suggest, and it's a PR0, then it's doubtful that I'll be very interested in linking to it - At first glance, it'll look like a bad neighborhood. I guess it might not be PR0, but just grey-bar... Still, I'd wonder, "what good is this site?" if I didn't click through to the real content. (I myself would fully check it out, but I'm wondering about both webmaster's actions and perspectives here - would the other webmaster do it, too?

So, I just want to make sure I understood the basic idea - Is the page put up for the other site's webmaster going to to look like an orphaned doorway page leading to two sites - his/hers and mine?

If that is what was described, it's a wonder that it works, because of the hurried webmaster's response to a PR0 or PR-less orphan page. That's what I mean by the "psychology" of this method.

I didn't mean to throw the thread off-topic, I really just meant to ask if I understood the technique being described correctly.

Thanks for taking the time with me - basically a code-ape, but getting interested in more diverse subjects like marketing and promotion.

Jim

fathom




msg:428526
 5:14 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well Jim I canít speak for fathom, only myself and how I might structure this idea for a campaign.

My god... brain interconnectivity! paynt nailed it!

WebmasterWorld forum structure was the inspiration for all of this (and a client), and when posts are posted in the wrong forum, the moderators move it to the appropriate forum.

This is a works in the making, to accommodate 4 goals in a reciprocal link campaign (and it did take alot of planning and well beyond my posts).

common themes, theme diversification (content filling) on broad topics, competition integration and site protection.

Common themes - linking to sites that have same/similar content but explaining things differently, a different style (no two people think the same).

Theme diversification (content filling) on broad topics - it's almost impossible to cover every topic yourself quickly. Others have developed a specific topic which you do not have. The exchange gives creditability and likely they have a hole or two to fill as well.

Competition integration - "don't link to your competitor" is said often. The simple fact is, these sites are more likely "directly on-topic particularly in an online sales environment. In an extremely competitive on-line market -- you and them (a growing network) can grow together, and I would much rather compete with someone at the top that has an exchange with me than someone who doesn't. In addition, it is unlikely that you will ever have 100% conversion of visitors to sales on your own. Allowing visitors to go to other similar products directly rather than backing out, is "branding". This has been debated and clearly thought out -- you shouldn't attempt this unless you have considered all variables.

Site protection - In review of many sites, "the links page" tends to be part of the web site's highest link hierarchy. You can't damage control this effectively in the case of a PR0 penalty.

This fact and a certain client's link paranoia start this all... He would much rather link to noone than get slapped with a penalty, of course though the results of this is orphanation!

[edited by: fathom at 5:54 am (utc) on Oct. 28, 2002]

fathom




msg:428527
 5:25 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Actually, I guess my concerns are more basic: If someone sends me a proposal for link exchange, and I go to the page they suggest, and it's a PR0,

No. If they went to it shortly after creation, and clicked to your site, the toolbar would show a guessament.

Even if no inbound links are to it (internal or external).

Having done significant amount of experimentation here - the apparent PR "guessament" appears as the normal PR associated with the directory depth away from your root or PR5 which ever is less.

If they wait until Google crawls that page, likely very low though (I never considered this in my investigation).

[edited by: fathom at 5:55 am (utc) on Oct. 28, 2002]

fathom




msg:428528
 5:42 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

So, I just want to make sure I understood the basic idea - Is the page put up for the other site's webmaster going to to look like an orphaned doorway page leading to two sites - his/hers and mine?

This is a campaign, with predetermined goals, the page design itself:

1. Faciliates a response, from someone you have thorough researched their site. I don't believe you can do this with a glance.

2. Whatever you are asking from them (1 link, 2 links etc.) on the page you send should be of equal value.

3. Webmasters should not be the receiver. CEO, or a marketing decision-marker.

A webmaster would likely conclude this as spam, without looking at it, or passing it on to a decision-maker.

In addition, a phone call should preceed the email. Your work will most likely be in vain particularly if using a wrong email address.

4. This isn't a mass emailing strategy, but a link strategy, and due considerations should be given to web site individualism.

In addition, I will very much welcome any negative feedback. Much time has been spent on this, and I'm sure there are still a few holes to patch.

jdMorgan




msg:428529
 6:11 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

fathom,

Ahh... Number 3 Clarifies things for me. I was concerned that the other webmaster would not thoroughly investigate, and might conclude the proposal was just another junk mail.

Number 4 is not an issue - I intend to find only valuable partners, and offer good value (content) in return.

Thanks!
Jim

fathom




msg:428530
 6:23 am on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

We concluded this as well.

In the case of a small business, the CEO is the webmaster, and works the same.

One other thing... paynt had a valid point that I did not clarify.

Relevant content on the pages (both) is the bridge between themed sites.

We have developed 12 templates (graphicals) that target different themes, that appeal to many surveyed and content "text" can be added relatively easily.

paynt




msg:428531
 1:36 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

First my response to things you raised over in the other discussion fathom. When I find the time Iíll be looking at the rest of this discussion. Looks like Iíll need another pot of coffee and to neglect my clients if I want to take this all in.
A directory with many blank pages (no links) is almost as bad as the old "under construction" signs. - fathom

Agreed, I would never suggest that. I think one way to eliminate that potential is to only build pages and introduce them to the site when the page is actually ready to go live. There is a lot that goes into building a directory.
So for this to have "visitor" value you would need to start with many links already. - fathom

Thatís assuming I would want to create any sort of visitor value. Thatís not to say I wouldnít have the visitor in mind because generally I believe if you approach the structuring and development from a visitors perspective it will ultimately please at the very least our friends at Google.
Given that itís not hard to come up with a nice directory in a relatively short period of time. There are a lot of links to be found out there as well as opportunity.
1. The link does have power -- power to build as well as power to destroy. - fathom

Sounds cryptic fathom but I know where you are coming from. I see that as giving too much power to a link first of all because with the basic monthly maintenance you can reduce most of the risk. Take a look around. There is a lot of junky stuff out there and if you donít take the time to weed through that, youíre only adding to your risk factor.
You can find quality linking opportunities in every industry you just have to know how to look for them. That can be a true art form, finding the right balance. Eventually there will be enough of us out there educating our clients and putting together our own quality sites and networks and those efforts then can influence the industry. When we begin to think outside this linking box it opens the strategies and campaign opportunities.
When you link to someone there are no guarantees that they know what "not to link to", and your association (by your link to them) put this burden on you to protect yourself. - fathom

Itís back to what Iíve said many times before, think before you link donít link for the sake of linking. If the strategy is to provide as in this case one link per page, I imagine youíre going to want to pre-qualify that link within some preset, preordained standard and then youíre going to keep an eye on it.
People throw out so much junk and overall have really icky linking systems set up. Even the smallest site with the most focused theme could benefit from a well developed directory set up to facilitate there linking and in most cases would greatly benefit.
My suggested page "link" limits the damage that could be caused to your web site to only "1 page, or maybe two" receiving a potential PR0 penalty, as well limits the chance of you passing that PR0 penalty on to others in your reciprocal link program. - fathom

I know you worry about these penalties fathom and I respect that. My suggestion again is to think before you link and then donít just forget about that link but consider it now both the link with the other site and content on your site.
Some controversy here - I have noindex, follow Meta Tag on these pages, not because I wish to stop PR transfer (although some would say this is exactly my motivation) but because I do not want these pages to be the introduction page for a new visitor coming from a search engine. fathom

Then you need to be right up front with your linking partners because all too many will not realize that you are doing this and I believe thatís not playing fairÖ my opinion. I might suggest then that you consider this idea of one page one link for the additional benefit that now this page can work for you in the search engines because it is a great opportunity now to bring visitors in. Remember, the main thing you want your visitor to find from your page is a direct route to your homepage, right?

paynt




msg:428532
 1:53 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

Is the page put up for the other site's webmaster going to look like an orphaned doorway page leading to two sites - his/hers and mine? jdMorgan

Thatís up to you jdMorgan. Whether a page is an orphan doorway or a relevant content page is in the hands of the developer. Itís as simple as that. The difference I believe is perspective. What is the plan and the purpose? All too many people are looking at linking as something extra done to a site when itís obvious now we need to be building our linking into the plan of our sites. If we are not weaving the links through the actual content of the site then I believe a directory, no matter how large or small is a better method of organizing links then a long line of unrelated links thrown haphazardly up, ugh.

Again with the PR0 concern and bad neighborhoods all we can do is make sure our own house is clean and then make a focused attempt to link only to other clean houses. Thatís easier to manage if you know what your purpose is and you have a plan rather then putting up reciprocal links without any thought as it appears most webmasters do.

john316




msg:428533
 2:41 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

getting outside the box a bit

reciprocal linking can be seen as a zero-sum game (logically)..your link zeroes out my link.

A better strategy is to build sites with the intention of linking out and sites with the intention of receiving inbound.

"you give me a link to site "A" and I'll link to you from site "B"".

You really won't have to get dodgy with PR mumbo jumbo or "no-follow" strategies.

fathom




msg:428534
 4:01 pm on Oct 28, 2002 (gmt 0)

reciprocal linking can be seen as a zero-sum game (logically)..your link zeroes out my link.

A better strategy is to build sites with the intention of linking out and sites with the intention of receiving inbound.

"you give me a link to site "A" and I'll link to you from site "B"".

Actually I would believe having a link that vistors click on is a better strategy. Isn't that why you placed the link in the first?

You really won't have to get dodgy with PR mumbo jumbo or "no-follow" strategies.

Not follow this... These are not recip's.

According to a search engine every page indexed is an entrance page and a "links" page is an exit page.

Marcia




msg:428535
 11:29 am on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

john makes a good point here:

"you give me a link to site "A" and I'll link to you from site "B""

There can be sites built with a heavy emphasis on being a resource for a particular niche with a lot of links to niche-related sites. It's a matter of balance and diversity, staying away from patterned structures that are easily detected by appearing as though they're devised to be manipulative. If you look at links and they're all reciprocal it does cancel out in a way, and if examined one by one (if that's even possible in some cases) it can be looked at as more of a link exchange than a resource.

In the normal course of things there wouldn't be a one-on-one equality with inbound and outbound links. One of the fatal flaws with those cookie-cutter automated linking_software sites we were hearing so much about a while back is that not only were there so many in number that were repetitious across "themed" niches, but there was the commonality of a myriad of links pointing back to the homepage of the site that were all linked to from the directories. On some niche type sites there were even the same banner exchanges from the same sources. No matter how customized, it's all zero-sum for originality of value. imho Google was very generous to those.

There's nothing wrong with getting a link to Site_A from Site_C and giving back a link to Site_C from Site_B. As long as they're all of value and relevant to each other, it's just exercising moderation.

And that triad arrangement can be incorporated into the one-page one-link concept. I've done one-page, one-link, for a different reason, just because I happened to like those products, and it's very workable. With a custom design & graphic, product photo and unique text, what it amounts to is a perfectly legitimate doorway page, if it's integrated into the site it's on as part of the site theme, structure and navigation. Those can actually rank higher than the actual site they're linked to and send them traffic on lower-competition keyphrases.

Thinking in terms of having a few eggs outside of just one basket, I've got a Site_A that's got a lot of links exchanged within a certain niche. Teoma LOVES that, and that site just hit #1 for some good phrases at Teoma, and quite a surprise, on a couple of related terms at Google.

For 2 years I haven't been able to decide what direction to go with my Site_A, and the search engines just made the decision - their algorithms defined it. Even Fast and Alta Vista agree - it's too late to change.

Right now there's a Site_C that's closely related that was just launched. *Gorgeous* stuff that's unique, I just got a sample as a gift for giving some advice before it went live. This discussion reminded me of those one-pagers. I'll just do one for that site on my Site_A because it's of value. I've got a Site_B of my own that'll be lauching before long that couldn't be closer in theme to that Site_C - I'll ask for a prominent link to that one when the time comes, and will probably reciprocate from that one, too. A number of other people over time have asked about doing something similar when discussions came up.

paynt:

This could be a really fine directory even...

...topic information on a page-by-page basis all supporting and supported by the core site...

I would build the content of a page around a site that I want to link to and a link back from.

The concepts in this discussion right here have given a couple of ideas on how to do it that are different from the run of the mill, that give a little more value than the average and can be enjoyable to do, too. Those little "one-pagers" are great fun to do; you can be creative and have an excuse to do all kinds of different things all on the same site without the usual having to maintain the look throughout.

Thanks for the brainstorming and the great ideas!

paynt




msg:428536
 3:15 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hey again, Iím taking the time to read all of this and I must say Iím enjoying this discussion.

Fathom I really enjoyed your point about ďCompetition integrationĒ. So timely because I am working with someone right now who is actually following this strategy and itís been very interesting to observe how other folks in the same industry look at actually networking with their competition. Those that take that opportunity though can create an incredible alliance. If I havenít just recently seen this put so effectively into practice I may have been hesitant to explore it myself.

Right there is one of the beauties of taking a linking idea and moving it out of the box.

What I would like people to understand, no matter their campaign strategy or plan for it, is that they are usually high maintenance with potential risks. This would seem to mean to me that running and maintaining a linking campaign should be handled by someone with knowledge and experience in that area. If you are not weighing risks then youíre not practicing safe linking and you very well could get into trouble.

No matter how customized, it's all zero-sum for originality of value. imho Google was very generous to those. - Marcia

You are so right Marcia, consider the Ďoriginality valueí I love that.

Looking as I frequently do into the world of peopleís linking I am perhaps jaded by the utter lack of care people are putting into what should really work as a tool for their site. Again itís perspective and how we value our opportunities. My own site is doing quite well with very little linking, of course for me Iím not trying to draw traffic just inform. Thatís realizing a plan developed from a purpose.

Linking can be very important to commerce sites simply because of the competition. When you are looking at $4.00 a keyword through Overture it often becomes obvious to these businesses that linking can help them. How to do this though? From what I see less rather than more folks are utilizing their linking potential. This one link on one page idea is just that, an idea for a campaign. How that campaign would then become actualized would depend entirely on the plan the site has developed based on whatever strategy they are following for their promotion.

Marcia has offered some great ideas. Itís brainstorming. I would look first at what is available in the industry. I shared some of my tips on industry research [webmasterworld.com] and some researching the competition tips [webmasterworld.com] which I find useful when exploring how I can get the most bang from my buck with a linking campaign. Really, isnít that what we all want.

stever




msg:428537
 4:12 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great topic - looking outside the box and thinking of reasons to build up connections. What is your site or subject special for? What other sites share your qualities and interests? What other sites in different regional areas might like to share those connections? Gives you whole new themes to explore.

Top 10 other <insert sport> resorts around the world
Different <insert industry> methods in Europe
How 5 other <insert hobby> enthusiasts spend their time

But, and it's a big but, I have to say that so many owners and web designers aren't ready for this idea. It's a frightening idea to many people to build another page - and for someone you've never heard of and an idea that they say will work. Nah, they say, rather be safe and just let my precious website alone as it is.

So the next question is: If it's hard enough getting links (especially as the knowledge of the value dribbles outwards) and even harder getting relevant text links, then how do you approach getting someone to build a page around your site?

paynt




msg:428538
 5:12 pm on Oct 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

If it's hard enough getting links (especially as the knowledge of the value dribbles outwards) and even harder getting relevant text links, then how do you approach getting someone to build a page around your site? - stever

Good question stever.

Personally I think getting links is easy, and even relevant text links only take time but I agree that this whole linking outside the box concept takes not only time but a bit of thinking too.

Baby steps, I recommend baby steps. What that means to you will be different than the dozen other people who might be thinking and asking the same questions. When I suggest looking around your industry thatís a serious tip. I just read the post I offered up on both industry and competitors research and ideas and I stand by those.

Sure, offering up a page to a competitor may not even be necessary or warranted. Imagine though there is a professor somewhere interested in even a peripheral way with your subject, can you write up a review of his theory or recommend his reading list. When you call him up about it or drop him a line with why this is a good idea for both of you and then ask what he thinks about it, what does he see as lacking in your content or recommendation, does he have a specific quote heíd like to add.

Bingo, that effort alone could get you a link from an edu site, not bad and probably traffic to boot. Add your optimization skills to the page set up, tie it in to your site with relevant anchor text and then let folks know about it from your newsletter. And thatís just one idea.

Read a book that is controversial yet relates to your topic, hook up an affiliate situation and write a review. Let the author know and ask for a comment. Find others who are writing and commenting on the book and ask for their comment. Start at the top and use your hook to get just the right link back and offer the one with the best connection for your site the page.

There are as many ideas as there are topics. Make your linking fun and work it into your sites content or at the very least build a good link directory but be creative and make it interesting. Get others to seek you out for networking and make it easy for them to understand your policy, even if that policy is that you are open to discussing all possibilities. Ugh, I canít stand it when it isnít easily clear how a site expects to handle their online networking.

<added>If you already have a linking program in place it wouldnít hurt to start with those connections. Write a personal note to each and open the door for discussion. Sort of a, ďI have this idea to give you a page on my site in exchange for a great link from your site, do you have any ideas on how we can both benefit from that?Ē I wonder the variety of interesting discussion that would open. Anyone care to try it and report back?

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