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1. I create a page and add theme specific links with a title and description. I then write to the site and send them the url of where their link could be found with a note about what I like about their site. I also include a pre-coded link of what I'd like them to place on their site for an exchange. I also let them know that I would be happy to remove their link if they don't want it on my page. I've never had anyone refuse my link and I've had everyone add my link to their page.
I've been amazed by sites posting multiple banners to a site of mine on their pages for no compensation (although I'll usually link back). I guess they figure they look cool. Also, if you provide easy-to-copy text link, you are more likely to get the keyword-specific links that you want.
In my experience, it takes a bit of time to create a good "Link to Us" page complete with text boxes, graphics, etc., but it is time well spent.
Has anyone come up with a neat way to describe such a page without triggering the "poison words" filters?
(We cheated by having the word "links" on our page as an image. Still, what do you do about ALT text for the image?)
I guess its less useful having a nice reciprocal link program, if the fact of its existence hurts your rankings
As was pointed out to me, this would enable a browser to render the word correctly, but a spider would only see a series of letters, separated by delimiters, and hence wouldnt detect your use of the word
That info came from an answer from Mr Tabke, so I'm inclined to believe it ;). Also, I think it makes sense from a coding point of view.
A browser is designed to exclude the comment tags as if they didnt exist, so you clearly would end up with "links" being rendered.
A spider will see the letters, and the comment tags. It will ignore the comment tags, BUT when it compares the content of the page to the poison words list, it wont find a discrete string "links". It will find 5 strings, "l" "i" "n" "k" "s", all right next to each other. Fortunately, computers are stupid, and cant read properly, and are therefore incapable of of connecting the two (unless they are told to; its not inconceivable that the SE d/base s/ware could be configured to check for this sort of thing, but unless it becomes very widespread, I can't see that it would be worth the processor time)
Of course, if you just avoid using the word in any form, that avoids any potential problem
This has the upside of having relevant outgoing links that would correspond well to google's themes. I might also be able to shoot for a second DMOZ listing in the "sites that use dmoz results" category.
Finally all these related sites which are interested in SEO and link pop will see these links to their site from mine and perhaps visit...seeing a request for link exchanges on my directory pages.
Any thoughts on this?
a) Find a much higher ranking site than you in the google directory under your category. Picking the site is important. Ignore the corporate sites - they don't play ball. Look for the mom & pop/single proprietor sites that rank higher than you. Even if you don't find one, this is a quality education about your topic.
b) Visit their site. Make it an in depth (20+ pages) viewing and get a decent feel for their site.
c) What is it that makes their site tick?
d) Find something about their site you have in common and send an email to them to see if anyone is at home. Praise and pump emails are out - way out. Go for questions about their core topic, find a broken link, or something that is wrong. (don't point out spelling errors).
If no reply is forth coming,
e) just resend an email "hey, you want to link?" and move on. Some will respond, most wont.
Else, If yes they are home and you get a reply to the first email:
e) Create a page on your site just for their site. Yes a stand alone page promoting their site.
f) Click a few times on the link leading to their site so they can see some referrals. (I take this to greater steps and do it every day for two weeks). We are after a link that will pump the site without fail. It's not about numbers anymore, it's about quality.
g) Finally, send them an email that you have linked to their site, and if they could find it in their scheme of things, a recip link would be appreciated.
h) Move on to the next one.
I would take it one step further: don't just click on the link yourself, add the link to your site so that the site really gets traffic. Then they're more likely to link back to you.
If all of a sudden you notice an extra 1000 hits a day from 'some site', you would be more likely to link back to them to return the favor, right? It's even better if it's quality traffic, for you and them.
>Click a few times on the link leading to their site so they can see some referrals.
If you are on a static IP that could backfire if they see what you are up to or recognize that the traffic isn't unique. Probably most webmasters won't notice but....
To avoid the poison words, I just use "other sites" or "other [topic keyword here] sites".
You can include links on every page of your site. That way you can leverage webmasters for placement. Many webmasters realize that a simple link page does not bring any real traffic (most of the time) and won't bother with the link exchange. But, if you can tell them you will put them on page x that gets x amount of views a day/week or whatever, you have more leverage. You can also deal for a better position on their site. You really don't want to tip them on the benefits of link pop if you don't have to. Those that do understand about link pop, won't mind being on a links page.
Be nice though and don't poison your own links page for them :)
I also raised the bar quite a bit, requiring content pages that lead into the link. As an example, yesterday, I agreed to carry a few pages of a guide for handicapped travelers to a resort region in return for links to their order page for the booklet.
Also, be on the lookout for sites serving peripheral markets that have essentially the same demographic. For instance, "birding" sites are a good place to find retirees and travelers, yet we view our reciprocals as complimentary rather than competitive.
Do people actually bother linking to a (commercial) site after coming across graphics/text links a "Link to Us" page? I've seen hundreds of these pages on my years on the net and have never linked to any of the sites. Why would anybody link to a commercial site for no compensation?
Second, as implausible as it sounds, some people who think your site is cool will add your link to their page. They may request a reciprocal, or they may not. Sometimes they just want to dress up their own site, and if your graphic is attractive and relevant to their special interest, they may put it up. This second group of sites tends to be of the hobby/collector/special interest, or the VERY small business.
I do it mostly for the first group, but usually pick up some of the second simply because the raw materials are there. Of course, some sites don't lend themselves to this. A site belonging to an industrial bearing grease manufacturer probably shouldn't bother. ;)
I have one site that really benefits from this. (Except it's not 'attractive' -it's really very, very ugly.) I was getting email requests to link from very small businesses, so I spent the time to do the "How to link" page, including several cut & paste codings. I even gave blanket permission to frame the page. Works!
My current strategy: I've reworked my inquiry email for the umpteenth time. The title is something to the effect of "we wanna trade links with you"...and the body text mentions that "we are updating our site's resource guide and are interested in adding your site". Next I BRIEFLY describe what we do (I obviously have different emails for different clients), and how much traffic we are getting a week, adding that we can potentially drive traffic to their site. At the bottom I ask them to email me back if they are interested, then put a link to the URL of the clients site. I will try this method for a couple weeks and then move on to a different strategy. Still trying to find something that works.
In the past I've gone so far as to say something in my inquiry emails to the effect of "if you are interested please copy and paste the code below into your links page"....etc...and provided an HTML link code with a title and description. I believe this is too pushy, not to mention stuff a would-be reciprocal linker doesn't want to see in an email right away.
Another approach I've used is mentioning that "we would like to trade links with you but we will add your site regardless as we are working on expanding our resource guide" (something to that effect). I'm assuming that most companies who received this email from me thought "great - somebody linked to us", then deleted my email without responding.
So far the only things I know are good ideas are: be polite and cordial, quick and to the point, and subtley aggressive. Then again, I havn't found the working formula so I could be wrong. :)
I believe that keeping the message brief and to the point is a must. I don't like getting emails from complete strangers that take more than 10-15 seconds to read.
That's all for now...:)