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Step two of - Link Strategies Ė To Build Presence and Gain Exposure
Sweta was kind enough in Starting with Reciprocal Linking [webmasterworld.com]to jump us into the discussion of one-way linking Iíve been promising. Unfortunately I donít have a post of my own ready but I would like to hear what others are thinking about regarding this specific linking strategy.
I promise itís coming today but please, donít let that stop anyone. Iím sure Iím not the only one with ideas about one-way linking.
Reminder for anyone starting in to read this discussion to read first Reasons Not To Link [webmasterworld.com] because I think some of what people are talking about in that discussion is fodder for discussion here.
Since the linking partner would link to the siteís home domain, and the site in question would reciprocate from a ďspecial domainĒ link page, wouldnít this create the effect of one way links back to the site?
I believe that would give your "real" site a one-way link but it is a very dodgy way of doing so. All it would take is one person to figure it out and then notify all other link partners on the page. It's all over then.
I think one great way to attract one-ways is to develop some really cool online tool related to your targeted market. This would encourage other sites to link to you without even wanting a recip.
Now, to think of some really cool online tool :)
I have made a habit of checking the url of all link page domains to make sure it is part of the same domain of the home page I am linking to.
I have actually found many sites with lots of links that don't even try to hide the real domain of the link page. As I went through my linking parnters I found and removed 3 sites that were doing this. No time to notify the 100s of others that are being bamboozaled.
Is this thread on One-Way Linking in general, or as one-way linking applies commerce related sites?
I'm kind of new to serious webmastering, so I'll admit up front that I have more questions than answers. I've been following the earlier Link Strategies thread with great interest, and have even lifted some good insight from it, but it largely doesn't apply to me. I'm hoping to get a lot more from this thread.
I run an informational web site. The only income my site generates (a pathetically small amount) is through an Amazon Associates account - I point my users in the direction of books that are relevent to the articles that I post, so that they can find more information and I can make a bit of money. In order to preserve the integrity of my site, I decided before I put the site up that I would not accept advertising in any form, even if the site did become big enough to warrant it (it hasn't yet).
For the same reason, I also decided that I was not going to participate in reciprocal linking. I link directly to web pages (not sites) with appropriate, relevant information. I don't keep a queue of sites that I want to link to - I look at the article and say "that needs a link for more info", and go find it. Don't take this as a bash against people who do reciprocal linking - I'm not saying it's unethical or anything. I just think that in my case it's something I need to avoid.
But it leaves me with a real challenge. How do I get the links back to my site without offering something a reciprocal link? It seems that so many webmasters have gotten caught up in PR and link popularity, making this harder than it needs to be.
Here's what I've come up with so far, and had reasonable success with:
1) Make sure you have very high quality content on your site. This should be obvious, but it's also far easier said than done. I think I've done fairly well on this front, but then, I'm biased after all. :)
2) Directories. I've spent a lot of time looking for directories to add my site to. Mostly, I've done this by doing searches on Google for "key phrase add url", "key phares add link", "key phrase directory", "web directory", etc. I've also hit the big directories (ODP, Zeal, Yahoo, etc) looking under the categories that fit my site for listings of other directories. One problem I've found is that many of these "directories" want reciprocal links, though, and I've lost a few options because of that. If anybody has other ideas of how to find good directories, I'd love to hear 'em!
I've also read some other good ideas in the reciprocal-linking thread that I intend to apply here. For instance, adding a "link to this page" button on each web page. I'm currently revamping a lot of my site design (incorporating a lot of ideas from these forums), and when I get my new update done, it'll have one of these. It might only help a little, but it certainly couldn't hurt. And for my particular site, I'd far rather have lots of good deep linking than a high PR index page.
I've met with a small amount of success with these so far, but I'm always looking for good ideas to expand my possibilities, so post 'em if you got 'em. And as always, constructive criticism is well appreciated!
Exchanging one way links works well among webmasters who have or control multiple sites in roughly the same categories. In fact, I think its preferable. I'm of the opinion that reciprocal linking will see less and less weight being applied by Google as the practice becomes more and more widespread.
|I think one great way to attract one-ways is to develop some really cool online tool related to your targeted market. This would encourage other sites to link to you without even wanting a recip. |
What a great suggestion. Many thanks!
hey thanks paynt.
ok rhadamanthus: u and i are in the same boat. i too am thinking of some references of directories (if anyone can help) where there would be sites who would be interested in one way links. also the suggestion of having a 'link to this site' link on the site seems to be a simple way to start this. simple and effective hopefully.
thanks for the great posts. i am myself too new to this game and am rather looking at getting some knowledge out here.
hey paynt can u help us out here?
The challenge of one-way linking is to not only to become the bait that attracts the best link but also to figure out what the best links are. I think itís the same initial approach, as you would take with reciprocal linking. Do the research of the online industry, the online competitors and then figure out whatís missing. What can you offer the industry that isnít there now? Iím sure there are many things. Some industries more than others really have nothing interesting or unique to offer.
I think that is the easiest place to start, with what is already there. Take an industry apart online. This is where the post I did on Linking Campaign Research - Tips for industry research [webmasterworld.com], is a must read. I just read it again myself and thereís vital information that will help anyone who wants to move forward with one-way linking.
I should have titled this discussion, ďBecome the BaitĒ. Itís really that simple. A few quotes I will expand onÖ
|sites that everyone in the industry seems to be linking to and itís helps to figure out why |
In every industry there are authority sites that head the pack. Look at Webmasterworld for example. What are the separate components that when added together make it an authority? Who links here and why? You find that information by tracing it back to the point of connecting. With an authority site like Webmasterworld you are not going to find those links in a reciprocal link directory. Youíre going to find links to the homepage along with tons of deep linking and they show up woven through content.
What I do is look at the industry and see whatís missing. How can I be what Webmasterworld is to the industry even if itís just to sell the most widgets. Imagine competing as an authority for widgets. Youíd think every trick, every buzz, and every idea for promoting widgets is just about tied up. If that were true advertising companies would close up shop. When we are thinking about becoming bait for one-way linking we need to think like an advertiser. Not the advertising that buys and sells links but true brick and mortar advertising, looking for the next great buzz.
What amazes me is limited thinking. When discussing reciprocal linking for instance there are many posts about researching your competitors for links. The idea is to follow their trails and go for the same links. Thatís okay for seeding the initial campaign but what you really want to be looking for with those links are not the reciprocal ones but the others. Youíll more often than not with higher-ranking sites find what I think of as a Ďtrueí authority link. When I find those I start asking myself questions.
The most important question is why. Someone added a link, with no visible return so, why? Figure that out and you will have a key.
Now do you just go and recreate that on your own site, hoping you can remake the same thing to get the same effect? Reverse engineering; an important tool but tools are just that. They get you to the point of the result.
But this is what you want, that link or a link like it.
Letís say you figured out that link was placed because the widget site it is linking to has a really cool tool. Do you go and put that same tool on your site and then chase people to link to you by offering the same thing? Or, do you realize that this site found a Ďtoolí important enough to link out to.
What do you do with that information? BuzzÖ
If I could I might make a tool, improve that tool, write about sites using tools, become the tool, review the tool, interview the website owner about the tool. If I think I can draw linking in from my information about the tool as a means to generate one-way linking. I just look for what's missing about 'tool' and fill that need.
If I am really smart I see then that I actually have a new audience or market. Iím not tricking or cheating anyone. Iím not taking with reverse engineering what someone else is doing and mirroring. Iím using reverse engineering to take me back to the point of impact and then I build and create from that point.
I havenít had a chance to read through all the posts yet folks. I offer this as something to think about.
Please post,I am waiting to hear.
The proposed biats till now:
3.Look at the top sites in the industries why everybody links to them.
My Suggestion, Create a daily report of the industry...and ask people to link to site to see the report of the industry.
Like WordTracker..it gives u results of searchwords so people go and check there, they ultimately endup connecting to site to make it easier.
Looking forward to hear from you all.
paynt in order to become a authority don't you first need a LOT of visitors? The problem seems to be getting the visitors in the first place, once you get 500 uniques a day you can start becoming a authority etc. There is always a critical mass that is needed for something like forums to becoming successful and used..
If you are in a B2B service sector you can request a link back in exchange for business information services.
"What I do is look at the industry and see whatís missing."
Yes, an important point indeed. In my line of widgets I found that there was absolutely zero information about a subject that sooner or later every widget owner would have to do to their widget. So, for about 10 weeks, every week I uploaded a free lesson on do it yourself widget grooming, and dropping my url on chat lines here and there. Within a month I was #1 across almost every engine for widget grooming, which wasn't hard since in was a VERY non-competitive term. But, I started getting links from here, there and everywhere WITHOUT ASKING. This in turn raised my rankings across numerous related terms.
I was surprised to discover this month that I was #2 on google for "widgets for sale", a phrase I hadn't even tried to optimize for, but one that has increased my inquiries by several hundred percent. My widgets sell for up to $15k apiece (or more), and I just closed a deal on 2 of them today! In fact, I find myself having to contact other widget producers to have the inventory to meet the demand.
While I hate the cliche, it is good to think outside of the box.
I became an authority by default, and by accident. I was just trying to find a niche where I knew that people would eventually find me.
Congrats.That's really nice to note ,one more to add.
What's missing the presence of which will make a difference.
|paynt in order to become a authority don't you first need a LOT of visitors? The problem seems to be getting the visitors in the first place, once you get 500 uniques a day you can start becoming a authority etc. There is always a critical mass that is needed for something like forums to becoming successful and used.. |
Exactly, that's the problem. Catch 22.
You become an authority because a stackload of people use your site as a resource. You cannot do it by content alone. So you need to start with a reciprocal linking campaign to get your initial traffic and hope the thing takes off from there.
Ideally, have some unique content. That's what we did. We're the only website on the internet offering what we offer in the sector that we are in. It's a gimmick, and it works. I see in the logs every day two or three new sites that have linked to us who's existence I didn't even know of. Of course, the majority of them are low PR2's and PR3's (the odd 4 and 5 though).
But they're coming in quantity, and I'm sure the quality will follow.
I was just sitting around just before the update trying to come up with an idea for a tool on my site. Then I had a very simple idea that has seemed to work quite well. I made 3 pages for my widget site. One page was a form for submitting a link. One was code for people to put my link on their site and one page had both for reciporical linking purposes. I added my linking policy to all pages and added a bit more content accordingly, optimising for certain keywords. Now all 3 pages come up within the top 30 results in google and my site has gained alot.
My reciporical link requests have shot up a hell of alot, Backlinks have improved and I now have a few outbound links. So now my links directory is a bit of a mixed bag:)
Of course though I have found it hard to check every link in the morning with only one other geyser. You know checking if any unethical sites have tried to link to us(and there have been a few).
Wat do you guys think. I prsonally feel it is a bit dodgy but it does seem to be working:) I await your responses
If it's working Skye, I'd roll with it.
I don't think you can come to any harm with the links to you from "unethical" sites - google knows that you're not in control of that.
Just make sure that you don't link to any unethical sites or banned sites.
Thanks Trillianjedi. That does set my mind at ease and cut my work load down. It does make sense that google would realise that we don't have control over one way links from other sites. Still they don't deserve to be linked to reputable sites.
Where is paynt, we need more fuel to burn this fire
I'm in Boston, lots to talk about when I get back. Sorry folks, I'm a fly on the wall, always with my ears open.
"...You become an authority because a stackload of people use your site as a resource. You cannot do it by content alone. So you need to start with a reciprocal linking campaign to get your initial traffic and hope the thing takes off from there..."
I disagree with this. Unless the algo measures traffic loads and rewards accordingly.
For one way linking I look for sites that aim to be hubs in the field, then I prepare content for my site and contact the webmaster of such hub and politely explain him/her how beneficial will be for his users to have a link to my content page. Half of the time it works. Then it snowballs, ranks improve and before you know it, more inbound links are on the way, without having to ask for them. On time, this can lead to ones' site becoming more authoritative.
My humble experience is that developing good quality content pays in many ways, but it may require lots of hard work and patience.
|I disagree with this. Unless the algo measures traffic loads and rewards accordingly. |
What's the algo got to do with it? Humans use the internet, robots just index it.
A bad website is not going to become an authority just because it does well in google. People won't return to the site - they go elsewhere.
A good website becomes an authority because it's a good website. A few good incoming links starts the traffic flow, word spreads, more links come in and then the search engines eventually recognise the site as authoritative (volume of incoming links goes high) and it does well in the SERPS.
The Flower and the Bee.
Paynt, I agree with you 100% when you frame the discussion around bait. For a long time I have come to view the "link question" in terms of flowers, pollen, and bees.
- The flower is the web site.
- The bees are those who would link to you and carry your message.
- The nectar is what you have to offer
The web has evolved into an organic model in which, in order to thrive, you must give something away. Like the flower that gives away nectar for the opportunity to spread it's pollen.
Increasingly, we too have to "give back" in order to thrive. It's no accident that many web sites offer tutorials, recipes, and "lite versions" of their software. This is the flower and the bee model.
The sites that find it easier to receive one way inbounds are going to be the ones that have something to offer. The idea here is to "think like a flower."
There are many non-profit/industry sites (associations, trade organizations, etc.) who as a service to their constituents publish a list of links to "great sites" that are invariably non-profit in nature. You'll find links to governmental sites, non-profit providers of a particular service, non-profit informational web sites, etc.
The ecommerce site, however, is at a disadvantage when aspiring entry to those link pages. What do you do? What can you do?
You have to think like a flower: If all the bees prefer brightly colored petals... you must grow brightly colored petals.
|developing good quality content pays in many ways, but it may require lots of hard work and patience. |
The brightly colored petals.
The ecommerce model faces a challenge because you not only have to build more content, you have to give something away. If you aren't giving away software, you must give away a service, or you must give away advice.
When I consider the common characteristic of the most successful destinations on the web, with few exceptions, they are web sites that are giving something away.
The question of encouraging inbound links goes beyond the concomitant PR and speaks directly to the viability of your internet endeavours. The competition is getting tougher every year and I firmly believe that those who don't "evolve" into thinking like a flower are going to be at a disadvantage, and possibly left behind.
Very nice post. I love the analogy about the flower, the bees and the nectar. Sometime ago, I wrote an eBook "Widget Secrets Revealed" which is a very useful step-by-step widget guide. It is not a blatant sales promotion but is 99% information and 1% about my brand of widgets. I offer it free on my website (where I sell widgets) and gets loads of downloads.
To download this eBook, visitors must give me their first name and email address. I then add their names and email addresses to a database to which I religously send out a monthly letter.
I know this is a bit dicey but I make sure that it is a content-rich, resource newsletter with little self promotion. To date, I have gotten zero "unsubscribes".
I give a free eBook to my visitors, which costs me nothing, for a chance to market to them for life. This has had a very positive impact on sales.
You have now given me the idea to offer this very sweet nectar to other websites. I am willing to bet that a lot of sites will be willing to offer it to on their sites to their visitors since it will enhance the perceived value of their website. In return, I will get valuable links.
Many thanks for your great suggestion.
Hi everyone cool to be carrying this on without paynts input though it is obviously highly respected:)
Msg #17 I spoke of what I did as a strategy that had immediate effect so that is a good thing. Martinibuster thanks for sharing your analegy with us as that is what Iwant to address now.
I have to say that the company I work for is definitely an authority in our field. We are the biggest and most definitely generate the most income. What makes us unique though is that we are totally web-based. Our site is 20,000 pages big full of rich content. Our next competitor only has 300 pages. Now I liked that flower analogy. And it does seem logical.
Sachac has used this well and it seems from your post that it is indeed successful. Now if we had to give we would definitely lose income. Each product sells for around $2000 and it is not software so we can't give a "lite" version. Also I find it very hard to get links or even reciprocals from sites with the same content as they know who we are.
So it seems that I cannot give out the nectar and might have to be happy being the honey:)
I am waiting to hear from you.I hope u had nice time in Boston.
For the first site I ever marketed (and the one I may yet retire on) my most productive link comes from a .pdf file.
Makes about UK£30 pure profit on average a day. One link, one file. (OK - many copies of the file probably by now)
Thinking outside the box is cool. If you can get the link off the web and onto people's intranets or c drives, the links can still make money, even though you lose and search engine benefit.
Another method for one-way linking is developing topical articles. If you write, create articles on your subject, post them on your website then submit them to other websites for free use. Great publicity and you become an authority on your subject. Typically the article is archived on a page with a referring link or has a direct link pointing to the article on your website. Quality one-way link with good information about your subject. The archive of articles on your website also creates good content, providing another way to encourage one-way linking.
|Make sure you have very high quality content on your site - Bravo Rhadamanthus |
Expanding on Go60Guyís point in msg#7, controlling your own network is great then look to your buddies in the industry, make calls.
One-way directory linking > tip: pay. Find a nice (Iíll qualify nice = well developed, with content and no errors or dead links, etcÖ) niche directory. Remember the peripheral audience and markets for complimentary link opportunities. Often these are as low as $25 to list you site. Thatís not bad, then see what else they have to offer.
Iím with robertito62 on the needing lots of traffic to be considered an authority. Authority building comes through links, not that anyone ever has to follow those links.
Authority building is a strategy to consider if the quest for one-way links. Maybe I can come back with something on that when I have time to ponder. Iíd like to keep hearing what others think about authority building as a strategy for one-way linking.
New ideas for content, thatís for the Content forum. Itís tough because we overlap. Iíll start a discussion over there and refer to this one and weíll tie those together.
<side note>If Iíd jumped in sooner we may not have gotten the gems we now have. I hope to advice, stimulate discussion and create a safe and exciting place to talk. Too many calling for paynt posts will actually stop conversations and keep people from speaking up. If I do all the talking then I have less chance to learn.</side note>
Tip: Look for a common theme for presentation that pops up for your keywords, within your industry. Are they homepages, articles, tips, message board entries? This will give you an idea of what the industry feels safe linking to. Then, look for whatís missing in the industry. Whatís new coming down the pike? Whereís the buzz? How are physical advertisers promoting similar products/services?
Now, can you marry the two or create a similar presentation with the missing content? Or, can you create something totally different, maybe something you found popular in another research project? Maybe ĎTipí pages or ĎRecipeí pages work well in one industry and in a new industry thereís nothing like that yet. Could this idea be converted to the new industry?
great posts all of u. Keep this going, i would love to know and learn more.
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