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Link Strategies Ė To Build Presence and Gain Exposure

Starting with Reciprocal Linking



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?


1:43 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

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:)


6:01 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

>>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.

Of course. ;) Once I locate a page where I'd like to see my link posted, I'll usually contact the webmaster and "suggest" a site as a resource/link and ask them to consider this addition.

There are many sites that use a form or provide a separate email address to accept link suggestions. Quite a few of them do not require a reciprocal link. Using "keyword add url" type searches will turn up these small directories. I avoid sites using Zeus Directories. For more information on these use the Site Search [searchengineworld.com] feature and search for zeus for some information. You may want to search for themeindex also.

The best way that I have found to get a response to my inquiry is to try and personalize my message. Look around the site for a name, it can usually be found on the about us or contact page.

It may take awhile to hear back from the sites you've contacted for a number of reasons, so I'll follow up on my first inquiry with a short message about a month later.

The Link Development [webmasterworld.com] forum is one of my favorites here (thanks paynt!) and has some really great information and ideas. I spent quite a bit of time digging through the discussions when I first found WebmasterWorld.


11:23 pm on Apr 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm sure this has been asked before but I haven't been able to find it.

I hear lots of talk about themes and the like in relation to reciprocal link programs. While I agree this is of benefit to the site visitor I wonder how search engines like google treat it. Are they looking for a word-based theme (for example: web development, housing development, etc.) or do they have a more intelligent system (so they know that web development is related to PHP, etc.)?


6:21 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thanks everyone for the responses. i still wonder if there is any perfect way or strategy to get my link on others websites and not put their links on mine.

And is one month a good enough period to wait before the second mail. isnt it too late?


7:12 am on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

buzzmaster, I think the answer to your question on how much weight search engines' algorithms give to themes is (at the moment) relatively little. Themes help vastly on things like authority status and your attractiveness to viewers and potential link partners (which are tangentially related to the algorithm) but if we relate it strictly to reciprocal link value in the algorithm, then I think there is not much value outside link text, and possibly surrounding text and link page title.

So why is all this fuss made about themes? Well, 99% of us will do the on-page stuff and obsess about an extra word here or there in the HTML. What do we do that makes us different? Some of us spend our energy building hundreds of disposable domains, some of us decide to cloak, others will go for the risky but sometimes rewarding route of link farming, paying for PR or hidden layers/CSS/javascript.

Some of us like to spend our time trying to analyse what the search engines might be thinking about and where they might be going - and there's plenty of evidence (for me, at least) that this is a valid direction:

1. Search engines like directories. DMOZ, Google, Yahoo, Zeal. They give them value and are connected to them in a business sense. What do directories do? They organise and list sites which are similar and related.
2. Search engine research and practice is moving in the direction of themes. To take Google, look at "Similar Pages", Google News or Google Sets. In fact, I suppose that you could philosophise that a search engine creates a theme in response to every search query.

But, most of all, themes are user-friendly. As a human you use themes to think and to search - you mentioned php and web development being connected. And search engines like user-friendly ideas. I am sure Google takes ODP results despite the failings of DMOZ because it is user-centric. Look at the rage on this board when there is a big Google algorithm change - "Google needs to watch out, webmasters made it and webmasters can break it" - Google doesn't care, it is concentrating on what it perceives as user value. Read through the quotes from GoogleGuy - there is a constant user-friendly theme running through the comments. Some say that's PR - I would say it's both PR and practice.

And as a responsible webmaster, if my idea of user value coincides with the search engines' idea, I am in a happy place. For me, themes and themed reciprocal linking (got back on-topic at the end, paynt!) are about future-proofing my sites and eventually, about moving slowly away from a reliance on search engine traffic.


2:01 pm on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wow, thanks stever. Your response answered my question dead-on.


6:33 pm on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>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?

"big bad Google blast"I don't know wat it means but I guess you were referring to something drastic from google.Then who will have best chance, Is it we!.

Nice to see you remove the links.

I am waiting for Paynt to start one way linking strategy, which he was promising in the forum.

Now next,>Is it really possible to get one way linking?
Yes it is, but I really couldn't get it for a new site.

I asked for reciprocal linking following the discussion here by paynt,I am very pleased with the result.I am yet to be indexed but I have roughly 70 links on different pages.All are decently ranked sites.

I suggest read all through everything in this post.All the discussion that's in here is truely rewarding.

To one of my Favourite Moderator's Paynt, Few more Questions:
1.How about a popup for Reciprocal links, when somebody open's my home page,Popup will ask him to choose to which page he would like to have link exchange and on which page he wants his link.

I will give him 2 options to choose as way of deep linking,then once he submits I then send him an approval after checking his PR and other factors like Hidden text cloaking etc.

I was little concerned that I might get too many people which again becomes link management issue.Any potential dangers you see with this bait.

2.Is it also called link exchange if I place link of people who respond to my link exchange not on the same site but on third site.
Example: From site A I got incoming link to B, from C I give back link.


Ps: I really can see the grand picture of your strategy, it will definetly go a long way in cleaning up the Web.Thanks for taking it up paynt.


9:53 pm on Apr 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Aravindgp Ė Thanks for nice post.

"big bad Google blast" > ha, that might be how some folks saw the PR0 backlash, suspected crosslinking penalties, or those Google changes and tweaks that wipe out large amounts of sites with one big swoop. No mater the perepherial strategies that are designed and implemented, you simply canít go wrong if you establish a strong position throughout your related industry, market and partner audience. Itís what Iíve done and continue to build on and Iím happy.

>start one way linking strategy > itís comingÖ

Pop up, only opinion is I use the pages where I provide linking information to promote that Iím linking so I optimize them for that and try to get them indexed well for that, not to actually draw in new visitors to convert. You might ask others their opinion. I like creativity and sites that are unique fine, just make it really easy to find the information I want.

I agree, check out your potential linking partners. Donít put all your eggs in the PR basket though. It may be a new site or something else. If you have a question then ask them direct, communication is nice. If someone has a nice site, a nice system set up to display your link and they communicate well, those might out weigh a low PR.

#2 yes, whatever form works between partners, as long as itís upfront, nothing tricky. Why people mess around with link partners, I just donít understand. If someone is not going to play fair then they shouldnít play the reciprocal linking game.

ďgrand picture of your strategyĒ cool, pass it around ;) hehe, paynts grand scheme to clean up the linking bowels of the web, do you think I have a chance?


9:04 am on Apr 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sure Paynt, definetly will pass it on.
I have made it as basic and only foundation for my link strategy.
I will be making a presentation on the same pretty soon.

Yeah we should always play fair, no cheating in link exchange.Otherwise it kills the whole Game.



7:17 am on Apr 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

>>Yeah we should always play fair, no cheating in link exchange.Otherwise it kills the whole Game.

Ha, you won't believe it. I convinced my boss that we needed to seriously consider a good linking program so he agreed. So I started cleaning house and obviously checked all our current links to make sure that all our partners were playing fair. Now we are quite an authority in our industry and guess what.......almost half of our link partners had removed our link so that only we pointed at them:( That grinds me big time. So I wrote everyone an email telling them that our link was missing. They all wrote back very apologetic and restored our links........... and I removed their links this morning. What goes around comes around:)


6:49 am on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

thanks everyone for taking the discussion further and for the great posts.

one question: one way linking is possible and we agree to this. but why would any site really want only a one way link, he would rather have a link exchange.

so how does one actually convince a site's webmaster for one way linking showing him the benefits. even if he knows the benefits he would still want that i too should have his link on my site.

friends, i speak about one way link and not link exchange here.

link exchange is much easier and faster since both parties are benefitting in terms of getting space on each others sites.

how to go about one way linking. can we actually find sites relevant to our category that would be interested in one way links?


2:53 pm on Apr 15, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sweta welcome to Webmasterworld and thanks for posting. You were kind enough to jumpstart the discussion so Iíve started it at One-Way Linking [webmasterworld.com] . Please come join in there.
This 102 message thread spans 4 pages: 102

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