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Link Strategies Ė To Build Presence and Gain Exposure
Starting with Reciprocal Linking
paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 1:16 am on Mar 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

I thought I'd start with reciprocal linking because it's probably the most common to everyone. It's also very misunderstood, at least by my standards.

I assume if you are planning on utilizing reciprocal linking as a branch of your strategy that you've considered all the risks/benefits. If not, it might help in your planning if you ask yourself a few questions.

1.) Do you understand the terminology? If I were to talk about crosslinking, interlinking, internal linking, external linking, canonicals, subdomains, directories, hubs, reciprocal, static links, dynamic links, or authority to name a few, could you follow? In other words, have you done your homework? Key: use the site search feature and take notes. Keep following the discussions and write down questions that come up and keep searching until you get your answers. Almost everything is here in one form or another. If you still have questions after all the research then bring those to the board where we can pitch in a figure it out.

2.) Why are you thinking about a linking strategy? Common ideas I hear are most often to do with Google these days and include PR (Pagerank). Other reasons are to build authority, increase traffic, generate targeted traffic and to build a strong foundation, including establishing a presence.

3.) Have you researched your online industry, competition, and opportunities? Are your online competitors who you really think they are? What are they doing about linking? Is there an industry presence, forums, newsgroups, or associations to name a few? What's the buzz?

4.) Do you know who your audience is? Have you researched where your audience does their business, where they search for their information, or what else they buy or are interested in when they think about what you have to offer?

5.) Have you thought about what you want from a reciprocal linking campaign? What are you willing to accept for an exchange? Are you exchanging banners, text links, affiliate links and in what form from static to dynamic?

6.) If you determine to follow a strategy that includes an anchor text, have you worked out what the anchor text would be? Have you considered all the risks/benefits and potential opportunities? Hint: Run a site search again and narrow in on ideas about anchor text and titles/descriptions, writing titles, link text, we've talked about this although I think there are more levels we haven't reached on this yet.

7.) Have you considered what you are willing to give to a reciprocal campaign? Hint: Please, move beyond the random link page and begin to establish a focus for how you host your partner's link. Are you willing to create a link directory, weave links through your site, create content as bait, or create individual pages for each partner?

8.) Have you established a linking policy, published it on your site as well a clear method for communication? Pet peeve: I visit your site and it appears you are following some sort of reciprocal linking but I you don't tell me right out what it is nor how to contact you.

9.) How much time to you have to put in to implementing and maintaining a campaign? Do you have any idea how long it takes to get even 10 good sites to link to you?

10.) Have you thought out your communications for establishing contact with potential partners? How are you going to handle the gathering information, record keeping and reporting?

Each of these questions will lead to dozens more. Just about everyone knows, at least around here, that you shouldn't be making decisions regarding your site without considering the pro/con and working from a plan. A reciprocal linking strategy can take on many levels, there may be risks, and of course we wouldn't even talk about it if it weren't for the benefits. I think we're just starting to get the idea that what once worked with reciprocal linking isn't working as well today and that there might be reason to take another look at reciprocal linking.

We know that reciprocal linking is not for every site and that sites that practicing reciprocal linking are offering it up without consistency and in many different packages. I wonder if we've as yet explored all the create ways to work reciprocal linking. It's refreshing to be tripping through sites, one site to another through their linking and see someone with a clearly defined policy and easy to navigate communications. I feel like sending them the paynt linking seal of approval.

I wonder what else we should be thinking about with regards to reciprocal linking. I spend a lot of time in the linking bowels of the net and it's an ugly place. What do you think about reciprocal linking? What kind of benefits and risks should we look at, what ideas for implementation? If it wasn't so ugly out there I wouldn't waste anyone's time bringing this up. I think people really need help with this.

How easy is it for you to find legitimate, clean links in your industry or audience? Are you happy with your reciprocal linking possibilities and opportunities and if not what can you do to raise the standards?

 

ken_b

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 2:16 am on Apr 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello Paynt and all;

First, I've been reading this thread diligently and wish to thank all who have posted for their participation, especially Paynt. This is truely something I needed right now.

Linking is not something I have pursued at all. Enough other sites have found my site and linked to it to give mysite at least a modest exposure on the web.

I have just completely redesigned the site from the ground up, using what I've learned here at WW. Hopefully I've been paying attention and learn the correct lessons. :)

Now, in the new site design I have attempted to plan for establishing a linking program. Some will be in a links (directory style) section, some through-out the site on appropriate pages (some as stand alone links and some imbedded in the content text, as most appropriate), and some time limited links in a current events type section.

Now, the mix of reciprical links with one-way out-bound and one-way in-bound links is something I am pondering.

Well, I've probably wandered far off topic, so I'll again say thanks.

Craig_F

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 8:21 pm on Apr 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

I don't have time for a Paynt length post, but I just thought of something I'll be experimenting with on my next campaign. What do you think of this:

<snip>

Bet that will get the attention of some webmasters :)

[edited by: paynt at 9:46 pm (utc) on April 2, 2003]
[edit reason] sorry, snipping link - please ask me before you link, thanks [/edit]

Skylo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 2:34 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey everyone. Ha this thread rocks. Even though I have no input only questions:)
What is the stance of the forum on themes or categories. I mean when Finding sites to exchange links with where does the line end.
Eg. If I had a site selling hiking boots (hypothetically speaking) when does the association end. Linking to a laces company......ok. Linking to a hiking gear shop......ok. Linking to a resort in the mountains? You see the last one still has an association as you could go hiking on holiday but at the same time it just seems too distant.

Thanks

stever

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 3:23 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Skylo, I think that is where the value of this discussion comes in - and it's at a point where there's a convergence of benefit for both sites, the search engine and the user.

Let's take your hiking boot analogy (since I'm a hiker). Why wouldn't a customer be interested in (valid) information about mountain resorts? How do you fit it in a way that interests them and benefits you and the receiving site? How about, for example, "We tested the Merrill Timberline in the mountains of Switzerland - A Field Report from Zermatt"? Let one's creative content side come to the fore, rather than one's fearful and mercenary SEO personality, and one ends up creating copy that benefits all concerned.

And, along the way, goes a distance towards creating the theme/hub/authority status that is so desirable...

Anyway, everyone should be linking to mountain resorts ;)

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 5:28 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

Funny but Iíve been swamped, it looks like folks are cleaning up their linking, what a busy weekend ;) Honestly, I did notice quite a change in the last several days, good job!

Seriously, if I were to suggest anything right now before the next big after the Ďupdate Google crawlí it would be to clean house. Cleaning up the links going out of your site, the pages where your links are housed, thatís going to help more than you imagine. Test it if you donít believe me. My next suggestion would be cut down on the amount of links you have on a page and simplify your navigation and excess links. Make it simple and clean with nice text links and descriptions. You can carry that through and send out a notice to your link partners that you are cleaning up your partner link area and why, pass the word. If they clean house that can only help your position.

I think I would also check every link partner and evaluate your link. Is it offered in the format you want with the right link text and description? Is it presented as you would like to see it? How about a letter to your partner, checking in and suggesting and upgrade if you need it. Let them know you would be happy to update their link, tell them why you think itís important.

Those are maybe not so easy tasks but certainly easier than trying to hustle a few more links before the crawl.

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 9:01 pm on Apr 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

A few comments on posts I havenít yet commented on and want to.

Carfac #46, thank you for sharing and bringing up ďauthorityĒ. This is another discussion I think we can start separately and really get into; itís a major key to domination. I was talking to a colleague yesterday and my family laughed when they heard me say, ďIím all about dominationĒ. Linking is a viable tool and crucial to understand if domination is a goal.

Carfac is fortunate to be building out from an, Ďinformationalí core. Thereís a tip. For those coming from other than an informational core, do you think because your site is about selling a product or service that you canít make your core informational and then build the sales into that?

This discussion isnít for the set that just wants to pay for advertising or pay for position. In all these words thereís nothing here for you. Corporate types, I think youíll be surprised and you might want to stick around with an open mind. Crack heads, the smart ones eat this stuff up, hehe. Ma and País and hobby sites you have to love this.

You canít build true authority unless your goal is to produce the content to support that. Knowing how to maximize your linking to that content, thereís another aspect of development you might want to think about.

Carfacís points are important, whatever your sites core. You also brought us a questionÖ

how do you integrate a reciprocal link page so it does not just look "stuck on?"

Beautiful question. And you are right, I particularly do not like link pages that look "stuck on". Instead of giving what people would take as ďthe planĒ, Iíd much rather help you to create your own plan. There are as many ways to do this as there are sites that want to. Some of the things I think about when determining how I will house my reciprocal partner links includeÖ

1. Sorry to repeat myself with this but itís really dependent on what the overall web business plan is. First I reflect on my core. Am I there to inform, entertain, sell, teach, lead, what is it I want to accomplish? For me I want to dominate. If Iím working on a keyword, an industry, an audience, then I want to dominate. Thatís why Iím willing to put this amount of effort into building a presence. So, itís about the purpose, my motives and my core.

2. From the purpose, after the research and all of that I donít need to remind anyone about I really look at what others in my industry are doing with their linking. Remember, even one link exchanged between sites constitutes reciprocal linking so I look at how my competitors handle it. What do I like about what they are doing? What benefits do I see? What would I change? How could I make what I see them do and that I want to do even better? To be successful I donít have to create a Ďnew wheelí I just have to make Ďthe wheelí better.

3. Having taken care of those two points I have to think about what I can offer. Am I willing, do I have the time or skills to build content to attract an audience, perhaps seeding the content with a link out to a site that can stir up more linking back for me? How can I make what I am willing to offer give back the highest return? As many savvy online marketers will tell you, viral marketing especially in my book viral linking is the kind of bait worth creating.

4. Now, from a purely design perspective I ask the design team, and maybe thatís just me, what I am visually trying to create with the project. What image do I want to reflect? How do I visually handle my reciprocal links? Depending on how creative your team is combined with what you provide them with as to your plan should generate ideas.

5. I have to ask myself about the marketing potential a link campaign can bring me. Am I thinking outside the box and considering all my opportunities. It can be as basic as what can I do with this one page of 10 links? If I only have 10 links and only one page to work with what is the most I can get out of it? Who will be visiting this page? Who do I want to visit this page and why? Take that into developing an on site directory or out into building a hub made to pull in all of my network. Am I weaving my links in through the site, offering up links on pages with relevant content or am I creating relevant content for a potential partner, am I asking partners to provide the content in exchange for a bio with a link? Are those enough options to think about?

How creative can you be?

Thatís probably enough on my part for Carfacís question. Does anyone else want to jump in on that?

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 5:22 pm on Apr 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

keep this thread going - Skylo

haha, just getting through all the comments is insuring that, I am glad youíve found some help here Skylo.

How can you find out if someone that has linked to you has a dodgy site or content eg. if they have hidden text or links etc, if they are trying to hide the fact that they are dodgy. Skylo

One think I notice when I really get into the research are patterns. Even beyond what youíll find out with Whois. You want to check the source code for whatís going on page-by-page. Reverse engineering, standard SEO tactics to understand what a competitor is doing. You may need to utilize the same techniques for potential partnerships, if in doubt. Basically if I set my standards to a comfortable level, weeding out sites Iíve already mentioned throughout this discussion, that donít merit my time, I feel fairly comfortable at that point.

I find it helps to set aside link hunting to one chunk of time and then weed through sites until I have a good 100 or so to focus on. That experience will open your eyes to what is out there in terms of legitimate linking opportunities, who is linking to whom, and youíll see patterns. Itís in the research/filter phase that is your best chance of figuring out if your partner has problems or not.

Look at their backlinks and see what sites are linking to them, where they are linking to and then from where those sites are linked back. Some industries right now are totally interlinked so itís tough to follow whatís happening unless you really get into it.

People put a great deal of their analysis weight into what the sites PR is, do a search and youíll find reams of commentary on that.

I donít mind if someone offers up another few related sites in addition to the one we started with. Iíll link up as long as each link exchanged is on a different page than any other and if I can use a unique title/description for each. There is a key there in that I am not afraid to link with sites that are upfront of what other sites they have and how they link them to each other. Once Iíve weeded out the rubble, what becomes most important to me is, 1) who are the other sites included with my link, 2) how many links are there on the page including advertising and navigation, and 3) how my site is presented on a page.

ArcticMan

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 12:51 am on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great forum - first timer - a reciprocal link partner suggested your site and I've gleaned some good info.

I recently undertook the arduous task of cleaning up my links page. Now there is a descriptive theme for visitors, a micro category directory, alphabetized listings, and a link exchange policy. It's simple, banner free, easy to navigate, and everybody is treated equally. I have about 80 targeted links within my market niche.

I have a couple questions for anybody that can help:

I have decided to use category directories, as opposed to windy site descriptions. This takes less space, less time to upgrade, and is easier to navigate for my visitors.

1) Is it okay to do away with link site descriptions (in lieu of category directories), which tend to be similiar - i.e. "the best site on the web for...", or does a page full of links with a relatively low free flow text ratio hurt me in the eyes of search engines? Or does it make an iota of difference?

2) I've noticed that often my link does not show up in the SE's as being linked to another site - even though I know it's there. On the other hand whenever I've analyzed a competitor's site - my link has always shown up for them. Why does my link not show when I do a deep analysis "sites that link to your site" search (about 30% of them)?

Thanks for any insights.

Kurt

AnneG

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 6:46 pm on Apr 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

Please don't flay me alive if this specific question has been answered--but it's a long thread and I've done my best to read it through.

I have been cleaning up my links and have found a few with hidden text. Blatant, long paragraphs with keyword-rich hidden text. My question is, do I drop my link to them, ask them to take our link off of their site and inform them why I am doing so? The sites we link to are all widget-related, however no direct competition.

Or, if they do ever get caught, is it not really any threat to us? BTW, these sites are quality sites-not link farms, etc.

Thanks!

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 1:53 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi AnneGAnneG and welcome to Webmasterworld.

I donít blame you for not wanting to read every line here. I hope youíll print it out though, I hear my long winded posts are good reading for plane trips, perhaps on your way to the Boston conference, ha.

Iíll start at this end today and try to work back on the questions. Iím trying to not miss any as theyíve all been really good.

Hidden text and reciprocal linking, thatís what your question is about. You do have choices. First your question about risk, itís hard to determine how Google would respond to linking partners. There have been nasty reactions to problems in the past (hence all the PR0 discussions). When I find an issue like this I consider there may be more questions about what they may be up to.

There are so many good sites to link to, I just canít see linking to a site with an obvious problem. If the problem is with their linking area itself and itís a good site in other regards you could talk it over with them. I know most sites donít like to have it pointed out to them that they are spammy.

Before you decide take some time to research other linking opportunities. Put this one in your column to get to when youíve gone through the list of sites that donít have a problem. I still would like to hear from others and how they deal with situations like this. I want to remind people that mine is just one opinion. I have a certain amount of experience and a considerable amount of research time but like Iíve tried to say throughout this discussion, every site is unique. That goes for the people involved in structuring the plan.

Birdman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 2:46 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is one
super thread! Great job Paynt, I should have been following your forum more from the start but I've spent most of my year's time here in HTML, PHP and Google.

I was talking to a recent link partner and she asked me to give some tips to help her increase traffic. Rather than just shoot off an email, I decided I would write an article(or at least try) about increasing traffic to your website.

One sub-topic of the article(not nearly finished), of course dealt with reciprocal linking strategies and as I wrote it, it dawned on me that my linking strategy needs to be optimized, as well.

One thing that has always bothered about my method is that it was very hard keeping track of partners and possible partners.

So as I wrote, I started thinking I should build a database for link partners of all sites I deal with and this way I could keep detailed records of:

  • Web sites I link to
  • Web sites I have already asked
  • Web sites I want to link to
  • Which web site(s) I link to them from
  • PR of both pages
  • Number of links per page
  • Incoming and outgoing hits(if applicable)
  • Each web site's link info
  • I'm sure there's more, but you get the idea

I just thought I'd share it with you and I know it is not a new concept, just new to me.

If you implemented a system like this from the beginning, you could build a database before even asking anyone for a link and you should be able to manage your links much better with all that info at hand.

I hate it when I start looking for more links and I cannot remember if I asked before.

Well, that's it for now. Let me know what you guy/gals think.

Birdman

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 2:59 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi ArcticMan and another welcome to Webmasterworld.

Thatís cool that a linking partner sent you here. Once youíve moved beyond your linking question into the rest of forum, plan to set a month aside for reading.

Your question about site descriptions, I suppose itís more of what your partners want or are willing to exchange but I personally have no problem with just a title link, as long as I get the anchor text I want. Am I understanding you correctly, that you re planning on adding descriptive text content of your own, to describe the category and the sites that follow? The point is to get those terms (keywords) into the content of the page to help at least with those searching for a potential linking partner.

If you do opt for including descriptions inform folks that you retain the right to change them to fit your policy. Give them clues on what you would like to see. ODP is a great example for help in determining what is an acceptable title/description. People are clueless about how descriptions with, ďthe best site on the web forĒ comments simply waste their opportunity to effectively promote their site. Again, I miss the emphasis on meta tags, very helpful for learning to optimize for a good title/description.

Text helps a link page in many different ways, it just depends on what your ultimate goal for the page is. Are you using your text to draw in potential new partners? Are you using the text the emphasis your themes? Perhaps to boost the page so it acts as a entry to your site? Is the text there to please your partners? Those are a few items I would consider.

As far as links being counted, we only see them show up in Google as linked if the PR is 4, although lower PR pages are counted they just donít show up in the backlinks. Thatís ok, itís not all about PR. You can also go to FAST and run a link check to see the lower PR links that are connected but not showing up in Google.

Youíll want to use the site search to find out specific conversations where backlinks have been discussed in the Google forum. Thanks for jumping in ArcticMan and that weíve helped you. Please post again.

AnneG

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 3:03 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Birdman: I have done this and it works well. I actually just created a simple access database, created codes and am able to run queries on it. I like the feeling of knowing who I've already asked too. You feel pretty lame when they e-mail back and say, "You already asked me!" or "We are already linked!" Yes, it only took one time for that to happen and I created the database.

Paynt-
thanks for your feedback. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has come upon this situation. These links were in place when I started my job and I just recently started evaluating them and that's when I found a few that were using the hidden text. It's funny, one of the sites even says "here's for all you spiders--google" before the keywords start.

AnneG

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 3:10 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Great tips Birdman, thanks.

I have used simple spreadsheets until recently and have now implemented using my directory software to manage the different sites and the status of each linking program. We can then use the search feature to bring up possible partners when we are working on a new site.

Managing the backroom so to speak, not just what's out front. Good point Birdman, it's a huge hassle for many folks. I know it's been an ongoing process of learning for me, especially since I am technically deficient.

Something that has really helped me is on my spreadsheet or now with the directory software is to categorize by the page on my site where the links are contained. So at a glance I can see the details of establishing the link. Other data I like to include is what date I submit the site, when itís accepted, what page I submit to, an email address with contact name, and the title I used for my submission. I like to track that I am rotating between 8 or so and that they are coming in balanced.

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 3:27 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi stever, I am working back to your post. Sorry itís taken me so long. I really am wordy and should try out a few more of those yes/no answers, ha.

Great post #64, ďconvergence of benefit for both sites, the search engine and the userĒ, exactly stever, ultimately thatís the goal, a win-win situation.

Not so much now but over the years there have been comments from folks about how to trick link partners. They may use tricky linking that doesnít allow the partner to receive credit along with other karmic bad link ideas. Remember the discussion Search Engines' Stance Against SEO Is Shaky At Best [webmasterworld.com], where we talked about over optimization. I was reminded from your comment, ďone's fearful and mercenary SEO personalityĒ. Great line and another good read for folks who have the time.

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 4:21 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

What is the stance of the forum on themes or categories. I mean when finding sites to exchange links with where does the line end. Ė Skylo

Working back is interesting. I donít want these comments or questions to get lost.

Whatís great about this forum Skylo is the variety of folks hanging out here, Iím sure youíre beginning to see that. So, thereís no way I can answer as to the ďstance of the forumĒ but I can say themes are a very popular topic around here and the site search will bring up more than a few discussions on the topic. Besides the benefits Iíve personally seen with my own sites and in research, I see more benefits to developing a site with themes than not and for me itís easier because it makes sense.

Iím just not sure what exactly youíre asking with the question though. Sometimes I can be so dense. I can go off into a discussion around what I think you mean. If you are actually asking, ďWhen finding sites to exchange links with where does the line end?Ē Iím not sure you want it too, if reciprocal linking is the campaign youíre talking about. If I try to tie this in with the themes and categories I come up with this answer. Let me know if it works for you.

Opening up new Ďcategoriesí, think of it as a new audience. How do I determine if the category will work is to ask myself if it makes sense. I ask myself how difficult would it be to get a site from that new category to link. I seed each new category with five good links, keeping the ultimate number to 20 (liking the 10-15 range better), highly targeted and themed. If you can get 5 good sites the rest will follow and you can be even pickier then about your policy, once your directory is popular and moving traffic through.

Again, I talked earlier about the core of your mission, your purpose, now apply that specifically to a directory development. Who as in what Ďthemeí of sites is your core? Once you determine that you can work out from there. With a retail operation it may be the manufactures, with a medical department the physicians, with a consultants site perhaps associations. You have to find your core linking audience. Put you mind in a different place than where you are in developing the part of your site that sells to your visitor. Your site strategy for development of a themed link directory is often entirely different than your strategy for the sites overall development. The magic happens when you can integrate these very different strategies into a whole site.

I probably didnít answer your question but I have got to get back to work.

I did like our new friend, ArcticManís comment about coming in to this discussion from a reciprocal partners suggestion. What a good thing his partner did for him, inviting him here for whatever weíve been able to offer through this discussion. Please, thank your partner for us ArcticMan. I might do that with some of my campaigns. It would be interesting to see how many new folks do show up and how many would respond back that theyíd already read it. Iíd like to keep the discussion going if we could. I think it does help for us to talk about reciprocal linking. What do you think? Iím back to work now, wonít be writing again until tomorrow but please keep talking everyone.

businessezines

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 11:23 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

I like to track that I am rotating between 8 or so and that they are coming in balanced.

Paynt, what do you mean by balanced?

businessezines

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 11:27 pm on Apr 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

I seed each new category with five good links, keeping the ultimate number to 20 (liking the 10-15 range better), highly targeted and themed.

Are the seeded links reciprocal? Or are they just good authority sites within the industry?

Also, why do you like the 10 - 15 range? Why not 50 - 60 or 200 - 300?

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 1:49 am on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hey businessezines,

>what do you mean by balanced?

Well it depends on what my keyword is, what audiences I am attracting but I like to use a variety of title/descriptions to rotate for submissions. By balance I just like to keep it even, itís a personal thing, the balance.

>Are the seeded links reciprocal

I use reciprocal. With a reciprocal directory I want their competitors to look at their backward links and find me. With 50 to 100 thatís a great start for any directory. Set your standards to accepting sites that you like how your link is placed. You never know where a site will take you as a link partner.

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 3:39 am on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Australiangirl, you were right in the middle somewhere, sorry itís taken me so long to get to you and thanks for your patience.

#1 Sounds fine to me. What I think is important is to determine what responsibilities are required to implement the plan and who is responsible for what. Figure out how you plan to communicate and report on progress.
#2 > How many links is enough? Like I suggested earlier, if you build a great system in for handling your link partners, they will begin to eagerly seek you out. Seed your linking to start with, no matter what system and that will be determined by your needs, what your expectations are, your time limit and the costs involved.
#3 > When is it time for a directory? Itís either in the plan or not. A directory isnít something to grow into but a legitimate tool that some sites elect to use to present a group of links. How varied and complex you want to get with it is also predetermined in the plan. There are many levels to strategy development if you decide to build a directory into your site. Does Google have an opinion on directories? I couldnít tell you, maybe weíll find out at the Boston conference. What I can say is I see the individual pages of directories treated equally in Google to any other page, as far as the ability to change its rank and position with basic optimization. I think Google likes simple pages like Iíve described I like to use for linking so I donít see a problem there. I donít see yet that people have caught on to the benefit of running a quality directory. You sure know a good one when you see it.
#4 Youíll have to clarify the question, Iím not sure I understand.
#5 I will start a new discussion soon about one-way linking and maybe we can help you find new avenues for expanding on your linking strategies. As for how old your site is, I donít think that should motivate why you would want a directory or not. Iím going to start another discussion about building directories, with the focus just on that. I think we can handle a full discussion.
#6 Iím not sure what youíre planning here either, sorry. ďÖadding a link to usÖĒ
#7 It takes awhile for pages to get indexed and whether they show up in searches depends more on the on page optimization I think than anything else.
#8 Sorry about this one, I know you asked in a different discussion, I wanted to answer its just the one here has taken a bit of time. How long it takes will depend on too many items to give a pat answer. It really depends on all of the things weíve talked about here, what plan you have, how the responsibilities are divided, what kinds of tools you have, etc.

> what a savvy board>> Ha, Brett does run a nice house doesnít he? And heís very kind to let me run on like this.

Anyone have any new comments, ideas, suggestions or questions?

Skylo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 6:37 am on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Thank you paynt once again you hit the nail on the head. All I have learnt here I have put into a document and I was able to make an educated presentation to my boss on what we should be doing as far as strategy is concerned.
So now from today I will be implementing everything into a directory. The thing is my boss got so involved in the directory idea that he now wants me to start a full on "widget" portal for "widget" links something similar to a DMOZ directory but just for our industry. And the URL would be a sub-domain of ours.

You see my company is an authority in our industry and so this doesn't seem like a bad idea from where i stand. I am just worried about making such a big jump. Yesterday I wanted to clean house and just get a good layout going for our links and now this!

I guess I would just like a few opinions to lay my mind at rest here. I am also having problems convincing people in the office of the long term benefit of having a good link strategy. Some don't even think it is important. I have said all that could be said but they are not budging.

Anyway thanks to all in here. This thread has helped me make some important decisions and for that i am indebted.

Cheers everbody
Skye

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 7:14 am on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Skylo, cool feedback, thanks for checking in to let us know how you are doing. The whole Ďteamí experience is interesting isnít it? It often requires we open ourselves to new ideas, sometimes to stand up and speak when others arenít eager to listen. Watch out though. Iíve lost jobs in my youth because of my over enthusiasm for my work. I might have been right but not political. People wonít always get it. I know many professionals, experienced and respected who wouldnít consider the time it would take to read this discussion worth it.

Iím not trying to sell reciprocal linking but your comment, ďÖhaving problems convincing people in the office of the long term benefit of having a good link strategy...Ē is where I would put my energy. You have to have a plan. Linking in one form or another is a large part of what makes up a site and eventually promotes it so denial isnít a smart option to take. I canít believe it when people who think they are in business try to do so without a plan.

If you are going to be developing a directory for your business you might want to run a search and read up on hubs for a start. Weíll be talking directory development in more detail soon I hope, if people are interested.

AnneG

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 3:01 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

What is the stance of the forum on themes or categories. I mean when finding sites to exchange links with where does the line end. Ė Skylo

I'll give my stance on this. When I look for link partners I think of this:

Does the site benefit my customers/viewers? Is it a quality resource that they would be interested in?

That is my main objective--to compliment my site and what we as a company offer. The benefit after that is referrals, and I have found having such a tight-knit theme has improved the overall quality of my site. I use sales to judge how we are doing, not PR, but I can't help but get giddy when PR goes up. It's my own personal "yeehaw"

That was all I really used to look at, until this past week I decided to evaluate all of the sites that we were linked to prior to my employment and found some sketchy ones. In other words, hidden text & links. So now before I ask for a link or reciprocate to another site that's soliciting--I check that out too.

And you know what? After reading all sorts of posts over this forum, I have the attitude that I don't want to link to people who cheat the system, not just because it might jepordize my site's PR if I'm linked to them, etc. Just because. It's just the principle of being associated with sites like that.

And so now, not to beat a dead horse, but I am seriously perplexed on what to do about 3 sites that we've been linked with for ages that have the hidden text & links. I found one on an affiliate and emailed them right away b/c it had our branding on it. They removed the hidden links. Do you think these people just don't know it's no longer acceptable? (probably another topic for another forum).

HELP! What would you do?

Thanks,

Angie

aravindgp

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 5:34 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Angie,
>Just because. It's just the principle of being associated with sites like that.

Wow!I am with you.I am sure Paynt would love this stand by everyone.Wat say Paynt?

I was also discussing at "paying for PR" forum,same case standing by principle.We do business because of Principles and legitimacy as well.

>What would you do?

I would mail them intially give them sufficient time for correction and explain the same but if they insist on keeping I am ready to loose temporarily.

Paynt,My Questions:

1.On new site, what is the minimum number of Reciprocal links in directory structure you put.I read somewhere in the middle( in reply to australian girl I guess) it's 10-15.Is it same for Brand New still to be indexed site as well.What is the maximum number of reciprocal links for domain name:would it be 100 or 200.

2.Using Reciprocal links how long do you think it will take to get Good PR for a new site..Is it 3 , 4 or 6 months?Please put a figure to this.

3.Finally I have presently built directory structure, kept good decent(20) number of sites per page.Was trying to make sure it's easy to navigate and read.
I didn't ask for reciprocal for any specific page,I asked most of them to reciprocate to home page.Is it time to ask for specific page.If these come in I was worried my number of links per directory page may go beyond 20.Do suggest something here.

Aravind

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 7:32 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

You all keep asking such good questions, for me thought provoking. With all my chatter here I am trying to turn the tables back on you. Thatís why I keep turning your questions into more questions that I would like to see you asking of your own site and plan. Perhaps thatís a better answer now for WebManager in msg#34.

Lots of questions Paynt - any answers?

One of Brettís idea here at Webmasterworld [to paraphrase] is for us as a community to teach each other how to fish, not give each other the fish. This is such a changing industry that I agree with that approach. I could spout from a soapbox my Ďplaní and I bet lots of folks would follow it, I know many would like that because I am often asked to do so.

One of the reason we hear waves of whining when Google cleans out something [like some examples of crosslinking they busted with previous PR penalties] an example of a whole bunch of sites following a similar plan. Thatís a sure way to get busted. Please, donít think I am offering up a plan here.

What I hope to gain is probably threefold. First, I want people to turn a magnifying glass in on what they are now doing with their linking, combine that information along with some great research to develop a plan. Second, I want people to clean house, if nothing else for people already reciprocal linking to at least clean house. My pet peeves alone should help some of you with that. Third, lets bump it up. We can talk a bit out here in the forums. It just feels like educating out front. In the Supporterís Forum we can take it to another level, less restrictions. The best way is to rub elbows at the conferences, like the one coming up in Boston, Iím looking forward to that.

AnneG I have only one response, it might help or it might not and that is, I donít let my clean sites get dirty and I donít worry about turning dirty sites clean.

paynt



 
Msg#: 722 posted 8:49 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi Aravindgp,
#1 When I suggest an amount it is what I would want in placement of my link. I like placement on a site with no more than 15 links and minimal navigation. Tip: Start looking at your link pages bait for your partners.

#2 Thereís no way to answer that because it depends on the plan. How aggressive you are, how much you filter through to pick the best sites, what their PR is, who they are connected to; without knowing the variables itís an impossible estimate. I can tell you that whatever plan you follow, I believe it takes three months to significantly impact PR, using more Ďwhat hatí strategies. Iím not talking about black hat strategies here, thatís a different game, which I qualified for this discussion from the beginning.

#3 ďask for specific page.Ē With regards to linking weíve talked about that, find by searching for deep linking for some great discussions. Again, deep linking is a strategy consideration. Do you have the content support it? I love deep linking myself. I try not to put all my eggs in the same basket.

What is the ideal for a reciprocal linking campaign? One thing I can say for sure is that if weíre all doing the same thing and one person is doing something different, maybe an enhanced version of the rest, if a big bad Google blast comes through which site has the best chance of survival?

AnneG

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 10:15 pm on Apr 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I thought I'd give you all an update.

I decided to drop the links with the hidden text/links. I got two VERY different reactions.

Reaction #1: How dare you drop my link! I've worked for Acme1, Acme2 and Acme3 and they made the same mistake you are now making! I've been in marketing for 100s of years! My site gets X hits a day, I have companies in every state, blah blah.

Reaction #2: We made the hidden link visible, in fact, we made it into your initials! Have a great day!

Pretty great huh? Reaction #1 of course irritated me b/c in no way was I judgemental or rude about it, it was very much a simple, informational email.

Reaction#2 made me laugh! They actually made the hidden link of the site map into my initials in my honor! So of course I reinstated their link and even made it "prefered." Hey, I figure nice people need to be rewarded.

The point is, I didn't expect either person to do anything. Their site, their business. But I don't have to link to them.

"I donít let my clean sites get dirty and I donít worry about turning dirty sites clean." - Paynt

Paynt--that's a great philosophy.

Cheers everyone,
Angie :)

Sweta

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 8:42 am on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

i just have one question: why is it that reciprocal linking inspite of all of its benefits and advantages to both parties, is not so easily done.

not to mention any details abt myself but i have written to more than 70 people and only one has responded positively. so if the advantages are so obviously there, why should it take so much time.

is there a way how i can spruce up good responses? is there a technique to get good links? can it be done in a similar manner for any kind of site? is it feasible and practical?

i am not as experienced as other members of this site however it would be great to get some guidance and learn a new thing. can someone help me out with this?

coconutz

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 722 posted 9:14 am on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Welcome to WebmasterWorld [webmasterworld.com] Sweta.

Some good primers on reciprocal linking can be found in the Link Development Library [webmasterworld.com], here are a few related to the questions you have:

  • Prompting sites to reciprocate links [webmasterworld.com]
  • What is the best way to succeed in getting links [webmasterworld.com]

    Related:

  • Crosslinking, Interlinking and Reciprocal Linking [webmasterworld.com]
  • Linking Ė Whatís the big deal? [webmasterworld.com]
  • Linking Outside the Box [webmasterworld.com]

    Another current link development discussion that may be of interest to you:

  • Pumping it up! Let's Regroup and Talk
    [webmasterworld.com]

  • Sweta

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 722 posted 12:49 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

    hey coconutz thanks a lot for the help. it was truly helpful.

    i have another question although. is it possible to ask sites to add our links when we dont add their links. what i am saying would mean no reciprocal links: just one side linking.

    it would benefit them since my site is the no. 1 in its category and i would benefit too. is there a good chance of sites wanting to link at this condition?

    Skylo

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 722 posted 1:43 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

    Hi Sweta welcome to webmasterworld. From what i understand and in my experience over the past months of starting in this industry, it will not benefit a site by linking to you even if you are number one. It would be beneficial to them if you linked to them. See if they are pointing to you and you are not pointing back then they are simply handing on PR and relevancy to you.

    I guess the only way for them to link to you only would be if the webmaster found your site refreshing and relevant to his visitors. But then again why would he not just request link exchange with you if that was the case?

    >>it would benefit them since my site is the no. 1 in its category and i would benefit too. - this is the fundemental reason to reciprocate:)

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