There are many who believe that links are the real secret to free
advertising and free traffic on the net. There is much to that thinking.
It is not the only item, but an important one. Links to others if
done right- can not only increase direct traffic to your site, but also
increase your ratings with the search sites - and that in turn, may get
your site listed earlier in the searches. Some sites such as
Google and MSN are very upfront that they look for links to help
determine site ranking. Some considerations for links follow.
Getting Meaningful Hits
They say that all publicity is good publicity, but just getting hits
from someone who is never likely to buy does not do much. There
are services that offer to get you hits - or even exchange hits for
multiple hits from you. Some of these services can make your hit
counter spin - if that is what you want. But it is also possible
to get thousands of hits yet not a single sale. It is best to
ensure that the customers who are visiting have some chance of buying.
Otherwise, at some point, you might be just using up bandwidth (web site
could be better used for more serious customers. However, if you
have heard of all this and still want your hit counter to spin, one
place does do an exchange program using a sort of screen saver where
every 30 seconds you view another site. In return, another
computer is looking at your site. The problem? Many use this
and turn their computers on all night, and only their pets may see your
advertisement. Such a place is this one:
Linking to Others - a chance at more meaningul hits
There are a number of ways to link to others. You can do this
individually with picking a site on the web that is close to the
business of your own and email them a proposal of link exchange, or you
can try places that help with links. In either case, you should
give some thought about how to pick link partners. A great link
partner is one who is in a similar business to yours, yet does not
necessarily compete directly with you. You can then share
Also, there are plenty of legitimate businesses on the net.
Therefore if you do not wish to link to certain type sites, such as
those with pornography, or violent or hate content, don't.
There are plenty of professional sites to link to that also understand
the advantages of links. Decide this for yourself before seeking
others to link to.
There are some sites that help in finding others to link exchange
with. Some of those are:
GoTop Link Exchange
In the above, I would definitely recommend beginning
with GoTop. A recent note from GoTop admin has asked their patrons
for high integrity in following through on links. My experience is
that GoTop patrons have some of the very best follow through.
Requesting the Link Exchange
Requesting and handling links is time consuming.
So much so that some sites offer a service of handling links and in fact
your link page for you. If you decide to do links and link
requests yourself (I do my own), the following is a reasonable scheme:
Consider starting with the above link exchange places
(or similar others) since they have already gathered lists of sites
interested in linking with others.
Decide again what sites and types might be helpful to
your business. Also decide what types of sites you might find
offensive and do not wish to link to. Be at least a little open
minded though. I have seen sites that have such a narrow
definition of link partners that the end effect is that they have
almost no link partners.
Look at the site first. See if it meets your
view of a site to link to. Look also for their links, and also
to see if they have a means of contacting them. Look also to see
if they simply have a link exchange form on their site. Many do.
It is most important to see if there is a means of contacting them.
If you cannot contact them, you cannot request a link exchange, so go
no further. Look at the next site.
It is considered good form to put a link to them on
your site first before contacting them. That also speeds the
sale. If you are worried that they might not agree with the
link, keep the site link and description in a "new" category till the
exchange is done. Promise to move them to a permanent linking
page after the exchange is complete, and then of course follow through
rapidly on that when the exchange is complete.
Ensure links to the site are either on your main page
(not recommended by me) or at least in the main directory of your web
site (recommended by me). This makes it easy on the
search engines. There is more on this below under "keeping link
Consider keeping the format of links the same.
Most sites understand the need for web sites to be organized and look
professional and will honor this - and will keep to text if you wish,
or banners if you wish. I do recommend going with text, since
some search engines bots may have difficulty reading banners.
Keep a log of who you sent a requested link to.
I keep such data on a spreadsheet with dates, url, contact person,
site name and two columns that show if the links are in - one for your
link to them and one column for their link to you.
After sending the request, try to be responsive to
their requests to you in the mail.
If you receive no response from the other site on a
link request (neither email or an installed link), my advice would be
to find an email address for them and send them a second request a
month after the first that gives them one more week to respond.
If they don't respond after that additional week, then I would remove
the link to them. If the site does not have an email address
that you can find, you may have no choice but to simply remove the
link to them. I would not, however, simply leave a link into
another site with no response or reciprocal link. That would be
giving a free ride to someone who likely does not deserve it.
When done with this, get more link requests out there
! (the hard work part of running a web site again)
Others Linking to You
The world of course is full of nice people and not so nice people.
When you are just getting started, others may figure out quickly that
you are a novice. Your site may not look the most professional.
That is often easy to see. Or the others may use software to check your
popularity (or google page rank) and find that you are not linked to by
many, or that your search engine ranking is not the best. That is
a problem in many businesses. It is easier to get established once
you are established. When starting out, a few will give you a
break and link to you. Those are nice people. Stick with it,
keep on improving your site, your search engine ranking and your links
and people will want to link to you even more. Yes, that it is
some of the hard work that getting started is.
Linking Html Format
Some sites warn that the best way to do links between sites is with
simple html format. These places warn that using banners or
pictures to link may not be read well by the bots from the search
engines. This seems to be true, as near as I can tell. So,
while banners can be flashy and tempting, they may actually buy you less
than a simple html link. I currently avoid putting in banners.
The best links right now to
www.rpsoft2000.com are coming from simple text.
Keeping Link Partners Happy
Most of the professional link partners seem to be very open minded if
you prefer to use either their banner or their text on your site.
Many will also agree to a lower number of words and will even show some
examples of lower wording if that is needed for your web page format
consistency.. However, some sites are very adamant that their
links be in your main site folder and therefore easy to get to.
I am sure that their concern is to ensure that it is easy for the search
engine spiders to see their link as well as potential customers.
Now many sites don't follow this, but my suggestion is that you do
and have happy partners and linking friends. After all, they may
be sending you much of your traffic if you have a number of links.
It really is just not that hard to do their request. Basically if
just starting out, have one link on your main index page and have it
link to your one link page such as: www.yourdomain/links.htm .
.....You can of course change the names as shown in that example link,
but I think you see the point. The links page is in the same
folder as your index (main) web page of your site. Also it is
connected directly by a link. And also ensure that you link both
ways with a simple html link between your main page and this link page.
Simple html link and not a picture nor banner link since again such a
picture link may not be seen by search engines.
As your links grow, instead of putting the sites directly on
this links page, the standard practice is for your links.htm page to
have your link categories on it to the other links pages. But all
in all - best to keep all of this process and linking simple - to help
ensure happy partners. I also try to ensure that all link pages
can be gotten to from the main links directory page.
Affiliates are people who refer customers to a site in return for a
commission - a percentage of the profits. A "Super Affiliate" is
one who refers many customers. The argument for the use of
affiliates is that without affiliates there might be no sale at all - so
a part of profit on potential lost business is better than no profit at
all for those customers. At some point, one should consider using
affiliates to send business to them, or if your site now has much
traffic, picking up a few affiliate accounts for sending traffic to
Beware of Link Farms
Some link farms exist, and are sometimes called FFA sites.
These sites allow multiple links on a single site that would seem to
provide quick linking and therefore an increase in search ratings.
However, it is said that the search engines watch for this, and any site
without much content but many links can get a very much reduced rating -
or kicked off the search engine altogether. Again, the message is:
"Don't try to find an easy solution to fool search engines and increase
your ratings - they are getting smarter all of the time". And if
the search engines decides that you are a scam, you
could lower your ratings or even worse and get de-listed.
the 50 link rule
I have been told by others to avoid having over 50 external links per
page. The reason for this, I was told, is that the search engines
may think it is a link farm and stop reading. Therefore I now
ensure that I keep less than 50 external (outside my web site) links per
page. It does seem that most other webmasters - and in fact also
the search engines themselves, follow this rule. I have noticed a
few web sites that don't. One that I talked to recently that had
more than 50 links per page changed quickly when I made this suggestion. There
are some nice webmasters and webmistresses out there.
Large link deals
There are some sites that might be willing to link multiple sites of
theirs to you in a single deal. We have seen some suggested deals
with 2 sites, 25 sites, 30 sites, and even 250 sites or so. We
have seen no trend on those that we can speak to. Some of those
deals were great, and some of them removed their links to us a few weeks
later (??) . What can we say? The ones that worked great
were great partners. The ones that did not keep up their end of
the bargain cause a lot of needless effort on our part. All we can
suggest is that a great looking deal may be just that, or it could also
vanish in front of your eyes. Of course one gets better offers on
deals like this after their site becomes more established and has a
higher google "page rank". (google page rank is explained on the next
page page three of webhints.).
Link Forms on Your Site
Many of us have link forms to fill out on our site, if others wish to
link to us. They work great! I get a lot of link business
directly from them. If you are using Front Page as a composer - at
least the newer editions of it - it allows you to use such forms.
The forms send an email to you every time some one fills out a form.
Of course your web host must also be set up for "Front Page Extensions"
for this to work.
Checking Partner Reciprocal Links
I believe that it is a good idea to check reciprocal links from
partners at times, but it is best not to get too hung up on it.
The time to absolutely check is at the start to ensure that the
reciprocal link from them goes in as agreed - and that it contains no
errors that you cannot live with. I find that more than 30% of the
people who request links with me either forget or just don't put the
reciprocal link in. Some of them are also very poor at answering
their email. So I would make sure that there is reciprocal link
near the start of the link exchange - regardless of which of you agrees
that they will put the link in first.
As for checking for links later, that might be important as long as
it does not become a time consuming drive. Quite frankly,
one's time is often better spent adding new links. The goal, after
all, is to have a high number of good links. And if your time is
better spent adding new links rather than policing, then adding new
links will help achieve your goal better.
If you do check reciprocal links, as we recently did, you might find
that a number of them are dropped. We found that 17% of our 745
link exchanges were no longer valid. About 10 sites had gone off
the air, but it also seems that some other web sites changed their minds
from our agreement. Checking for reciprocal links can be a lot of
work. You can of course do it by hand if you wish. We did
for a time. But if you wish help on reciprocal link checking and
use a Windows computer with windows 2000 or windows XP installed, you
might want to look at the rpsoft 2000
site-crawler software. It can help at least on most site by
scanning for the links more automatically. Since some sites have
hundreds of pages, it can be a lot of work to check for links manually.
We also use some of our own software for the form letters and for
memorizing often used phrases. We use
membank for that. We store form letters in membank for
contacting sites about links, telling other webmasters that links are
in, telling webmasters we can no longer find their links and more.
We find a lot of form letters are helpful to have handy for link
exchange. Since membank is a general storage utility that can send
stored information to the computer clipboard for quick usage without
retyping, it can also be used for multi-lined signatures, www addresses
and passwords and more.
Your Link is Missing
Huh? You say? You have excellent records? So did I think
I did. However, I found it a great idea that after you get links
going that you at least check Google to see who is linking to you, both
on backward links (link:www.yoursite.com) and on other links to you (www.yoursite.com
+). You might find some amazing things as I did also when I looked
carefully at each and every link to my site. First of all, I did
find some search engines and assorted data gathering sites that listed
me. That is likely their intention, and of course many of them are
not looking for a reciprocal link. But I also found about 9 other
sites linking to me where I had no record of a link exchange.
Since their links were already recognized by Google, it seemed only fair
for me to put a reciprocal link back to each of their sites, and that is
what I did. I looked for information on their site as to their
preferred link description and used that. This was also a neat
quick way to add about 9 links - that one knows will count in your
site's popularity even at the start of your linking to them.
- - - - - - - - -
Onto the Next Page:
Advertising and Results of Your Efforts
note: use the following link to also send comments to us
regarding this page. Note that comments may be sent at the bottom
of that page. The comment section is set up to allow link exchange
with rpsoft 2000 if you wish. Please understand that for link
exchanges that there are no definites, but that each side must feel
comfortable with linking to the other. Again, best wishes on your site!
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