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I saw a lot of bad web design, of course, but many of these self-designed sites really let the personality of the owner come through. The responses to e-mails were often friendly and provided information beyond essential link details. The business owners were sometimes delighted that someone took an interest in their site, and showed their appreciation.
We ended up developing a couple of business relationships for the site, gained some targeted publicity that may have helped in other ways, and met some interesting people.
The rise of Google made link hunting more intense and I don't see as many chatty replies these days. But I'm curious - is link development pure drudgery for you, or, like me, have you had some fun along the way?
Keep up the faith....and have fun!
Thanks for the post Rogerd, as I've been putting off another round of link requests and you've inspired me to launch it.
We do link development for our bread and butter. And it is a very exciting job for us. Though time consuming, we enjoy every bit of it. Visiting all those different types of websites for different clients, making friends with webmasters, receiving e-greetings from them on special days and to top it all the clients' satisfaction at the end of the day - we definitely enjoy linking.
The "intelligence gathering" aspects are one good reason not to outsource all of your link development.
The ancillary benefits are nice too. It has brought in additional work for my website development/SEO/SEM services when I wasn't even looking. SO, whenever I do sit down to the mundane task of link pop work - I try to bare in mind the benefits beyond the linking.
The automated ones irk me, especially the ones pretending that the person actually visited my site. If someone can't take the time to send me even a brief personal note, then I have no guilt when my finger quickly presses the delete key.
In contrast, if someone sends me a thoughtful and personalized e-mail... especially inviting me to check out their site because it might (honestly) interest me or my site's visitors... I'm very open to that.
This is the big benefit for me as I look for links only from the same industry.
I am in a service industry and the web is the single biggest way I find new clients (or they find me). Many in my field think their web presence is separate from their actual business. They put it in the same catagory as outsourcing direct mail pieces. What they miss is that the right web presence, especially in a service industry, is simply a different way to get "belly to belly" with prospective new business. They forget that new business can also come from the small business owner/webmaster.
Doing my own link building is a networking opportunity, and is turning out to be the best networking in my business model. Many in my field dont see this, and that is good for me, so I wish all you pro SEM/link finders all the best.
Seriously - I found that I often had to deal with people who had absolutely no clue - people who tried to tell me how to design my site, how to do SEO (if I wanted that, I'd post here more often), and how to do a million other things. Obviously I didn't mind the pleasant and polite suggestions - it was the people who for some reason thought that because they just discovered that FrontPage really works they could start telling me what to do. /rant
Like I said, now I pay someone else to do the linking for me. We have a standard procedure in place to insure, and have been very succesful in getting links (though it is becoming harder these days, especially with well-established sites).
Welcome to WW, drace. I'm no expert but there's tons of great info if you go digging deep in this forum, that's what I did.
To some degree, success in link development depends on one's sales ability. That's a fairly complex skill set, and some people are "naturals" while others struggle.
While we are on the "fun" theme, perhaps you could add a bit of motivation - lunch at a nice restaurant for the most successful link hunter. Or, reward everyone who hits some predetermined level. Keep it low-key and fun, though - you don't want it to turn into a grim competition.
waiting for your valuable suggestions
It was pure drudgery, and far from my idea of fun.
I have given up on reciprocal link exchanges.....it just ain't worth the effort IMHO.
For the last 12+ months I've concentrated on providing content, and content that I will give away for free if combined with a recognition link. One way links are much better than recips, free content is easier to give away without having to apply so much effort.
IMHO Google and now most SE's created a monster with link popularity based algo's. We need to get back to basics, link because it adds value for the visitor (via content), not for SERP's reasons (they should be a bonus).
It is annoying that links are so important but if you ran a major search engine what would you replace linkpop with? When rank is ALL about onsite content the SERPs fill with spammy sites.
joined:Oct 27, 2001
I haven't been sending out many link requests, but I've sure been receiving a lot.
Me, too. And too many Webmasters ignore our submission instructions (which state very clearly that we don't link to affiliate sites and that submissions should be made via the e-form that's provided for that purpose). There are times when I'm tempted to create an Outlook rule that automatically bounces any e-mail containing the word "hotels." :-)
I'm not big on link exchanges anyway. Most of our best links are ones that we've found on our own, and I've seen too many sites with links pages that obviously were created for SEO purposes and not to improve the quality of the site or its utility for readers.
A few members have talked about delegating link development, and in many cases this is appropriate and necessary. I think it's one of those areas, though, where a little involvement by the boss can be a good thing for the business.
Successful retail store managers get out of their store now and then and visit other shopping centers. Not only do they check out the competition, they see what other stores are doing for merchandising, they find new product ideas, etc. Fun and profitable...
We used to have people to do the whole process but it really is about the worst job I can imagine. And I have been everything from a dustman to a delivery boy.
Who said the internet is the future? What a silly job link exchange is! Even our link exchange staff think we are nuts for employing them to do such a pointless job.
Can link development be fun?
Differs from person to person. If you are doing it for others then the joy probably is not as much when your own site gets the link.
One thing is for sure. Its an experience that one should always have. Gives you lots of exposure to the other sites on the net. Also as Rogerd said might give inspiration as regards to design or presentation of content.
If you are doing link development at slow pace then it can sometimes be fun. But if you have deadlines like uploading and sending 40 link requests per day, then the job can get monotonous.
joined:Oct 27, 2001
I like watching our robot crawl all those sites and send out the mails.
Yeah, like the one that scoured my site and found the Madonna dell'Orto church in Venice listed. Result: I got an automated e-mail from a celebrity-photo site that said "You've got information about Madonna on your site, so I thought you might be interested in exchanging links."
If I had a politics site and wrote about George Bush, I'd probably get link-exchange requests from landscapers and nurseries. :-)
What is the definitive answer on this ie should recipricol links be sought or only one way?
Iv'e read so much on this for and agaiinst that I don't know now.