Linking to other websites is nonetheless critical
to any site, and crucial to a new site, which will be hard
pressed to find any traffic at all. There are two basic reasons
that a website will seek out link partners:
·To increase traffic - tap into the existing
traffic of the site the link comes from.
·To improve search engine exposure - links from
high quality sites will pass on page rank and therefore search
engine results position -“SERP” - for specific keywords to the
site linked to.
Obtaining Traffic from the inbound/backlink
Your new website will have a task to obtain
traffic as it will be some time before the search engines index
it and include it in their search databases. Therefore you will
have to find other ways to give your website the exposure it
requires to generate traffic.
One way is to “ borrow” the traffic from existing
sites. If you already have an established website, this would be
easy - simply put a link on your old site to your new one.
However, if you are just starting out, or your existing site
does not complement your new one because it is in a completely
different category, you will need to seek out other sites that
might agree to carry your link. In this way, you can tap into
their existing traffic.
To improve search engine exposure
Search Engines especially Google place great
stock by the incoming links that a website has. As explained
above, these incoming or backlinks are an endorsement or vote
for one site by another. Google considers them a recommendation
of one site - carrying the outbound link - for the other.
When a website links to another, it passes on
some of its Page Rank (without losing any itself). This boosts
the PR of the website with the backlink, improving its search
position. This in turn increases the chances of the website
being found in a search for a particular keyword/phrase and
obtaining free targeted traffic.
How to Link
If you are convinced about the benefits of
linking, the question in your mind must be
- “Yes, but how do I go about obtaining incoming
There are various ways you can go about this,
depending on whether you are seeking pure backlinks - the best
kind; or whether you are prepared to settle for reciprocal links
- the most common; or whether you want to do someone a favor and
give them free publicity by unilaterally placing an outbound
link on your site without one in return - the easiest to do -
just to it.
One Way Backlinks
A one way backlink can only be obtained if there
is website that carries your link without one in return. This
happens when your site is linked in an article, directory, by
request, or cited as an authority or resource site by another
due to its superior content.
When a website has fresh, unique, informative and
interesting content, when it is a recognized resource in as
given area, other sites will naturally link to it if only to
raise the profile of their own. For you as the webmaster, there
is the double bonus of not having to communicate with the
linking site. In practice, the context in which your link is
carried would in all likelihood be complimentary to you, further
raising your profile.
The search engines in order to improve the
relevance of their SERPs are constantly on the lookout for such
sites. Websites that achieve consistently high search positions
do so because of the content aspect of their sites.
Writing and syndicating articles is probably the
most effective way to obtain one way inbound links. In recent
months this has become all the rage as blogging has taken on
force of its own. The idea behind all this frenzied literary
activity is not a new enlightenment, but the opportunity for
people like you to plaster their website links in as many places
as possible. One guy claimed to have had an article he wrote
carried by 17000 websites, ezines, article directories etc. This
would have greatly boosted his “link popularity”, organic
targeted traffic, and overall business prospects - assume just
1% of the visitors and readers of all those websites and ezines
clicked on his link - lots of traffic!
These days there are lots and lots of website
directories on every theme imaginable. While they vary in the
way they operate, they all have the effect of creating one way
incoming links to your site, which as we have seen is both a
source of direct organic traffic as well as a boon to your
search engine defined link popularity.
The more significant the directory the more
beneficial the link from them will be. A basic objective for
seasoned webmasters is to get their sites indexed by and
included in the DMOZ, and Yahoo! directories. These are the two
major online website directories, and inclusion in either would
be of greater benefit than inclusion in many of the smaller
These days, most webmasters will only consider a
reciprocal link exchange. However, there are still a few
webmasters who would consider a one way outbound link if they
considered it beneficial to their own visitors, depending on the
nature of their website. These will typically be personalized
sites, intranets, or non- directory information sources.
Peruse such sites carefully to assess fit, and if
satisfied that the website complements your own, contact the
webmaster as politely as possible and request that they carry
your link as well. Invite them to visit your site to make their
own assessment, and do not be put off if they request a
reciprocal link in return. However you will get the occasional
webmaster who will not object to a one way link. Give it a shot
- what’s to lose?
As the term suggests, reciprocal links are a
mutual exchange of links with another website. They constitute
the vast majority of links found on the internet, and are
established by mutual arrangement.
"So how do I get websites to link with me?"
Identifying Link Partners
The first thing is to identify websites that
would make suitable link partners. These are sites that
complement your own, and therefore have a similar visitor
profile to the type you are looking for. For instance a website
selling health food might link up with a website about physical
fitness. Be creative about your choices; set up a spread sheet
to keep track of your approaches.
Visit the top 10 or 20 sites ranked in Google and
Yahoo! for your keywords and do some research on their link
partners. You will find not only do they have several link
partners, but partners that are quality sites for their content,
linking strategy, aesthetic appeal and so on. These are the
sites you should target for a link exchange request.
Note: The major search engines are reducing the
number of links they’ll show for each site, to cut down on
search engine spamming. You may thus find a specialized tool is
necessary. A good one for his purpose would be SEO Elite which
is a complete reciprocal links exchange management tool.
Assess the sites you short-list for their
relevance and complementarities to your own. Ensure that they
are quality sites (if they are link partners of the top ten
sites in your niche they generally will be, but take nothing for
Assess them for:
Linking Website - this is the specific website
linking to the rival websites in your niche that you are
benchmarking. In order to find all of the websites that link to
them go to Google and enter this search criteria: link:
www.targetedwebsite.com. Once you do this Google will return
a list of websites that link to
www.targetedwebsite.com. You will get a larger list by going
to Yahoo! and entering link:
http://targetedwebsite.com. Note: that for Yahoo you
Anchor Text used - is the actual text used within
the link, linking to the specified website. For example, the
anchor text in the following link would be "health food". Health
Page Rank - is the actual Google Page Rank of the
webpage linking to
www.targetedwebsite.com. In order to see the Google Page
Rank, you'll need to download and install the Google Toolbar for
Link Popularity - is the number of links that are
pointing to each of the webpages pointing to
www.targetedwebsite.com. The more the merrier. Go to a
www.linkpopularity.com to find each link partners link
popularity quickly and comprehensively.
Page Title - is the title of the page that is
linking to targetedwebsite.com. Does it contain the main
keyword(s) for your niche? If so, you should note the url (web
address) of those pages. You'll want to approach those websites
and try to get them to link to your website.
* Getting links from webpages that contain your
main keyword in the page title is extremely powerful and is
something many people often overlook.
Number of Outbound Links - is the number of links
located on the webpage linking to
www.targetedwebsite.com. The fewer links there are located
on the page, the more a link from them would increase your
Once we've collected all of the information, we
now can see targetedwebsite.com’s linking strategy. We'll need
to calculate the percentage of websites that contain the main
keywords/phrases in the page title, and the percentage of
websites that contain the main keywords in the actual anchor
text linking to
You’ll have to do this for the top 10-20 websites
in your keyword niche in order to properly establish the most
beneficial websites to seek link exchanges with.
The most beneficial sites will be those that:
a) Allow you to specify the anchor text that will
be used in their link to your website.
b) Websites with a PR OF 4 or more - don’t get
too hung up on page rank though.
c) Websites that will preferably carry your link
in a relevant page. Failing that, a website that has a
well-organized links page with a visible and hopefully prominent
link in the navigation bar, so that visitors can find it easily.
d) Should the website use a special links page,
then ensure that it carries no more than 30 links, otherwise the
PR benefit from that links page will be so diluted as make it
worthless. Also, there’ll be too many links competing with yours
to get any significant traffic boost
Making Your Link Request
Now that you have established the websites you
want to link with, you need go out and actually ask them. How
you do this will determine whether your linking campaign will be
effective or not; it would be a great pity to do all the work
above only to mess it up with a shoddy links exchange request.
Firstly, websites that are worth linking to
receive hundreds of link requests. In order to get your request
any attention, prepare well so that it stands out from the
crowd. You want to show the webmaster that you have taken the
time to peruse his website and that your links exchange request
is well considered. You need to convince him/her that your
website would make a good fit with their own, that it is
interesting, and his/her own visitors would find it useful and
beneficial. You also want to make it as easy as possible for
them to link up with your site.
When you write the links exchange request letter,
personalize it by using the webmaster’s first name if you can
find it on his/her site, make sure you have specified the
website’s name, and note and comply with any instructions the
website may have for exchanging links e.g. a web-based form, a
code to cut and paste on to your site and so on. Failing to do
so would not just be irritating; it shows that you have not
really browsed the site.
Be creative and bold with your email subject
header. Being timid and using a generic subject header like
“Link Request” will probably see your email deleted unread.
Explicitly state which page you’d like your link carried on and
why. Oftentimes, interestingly, you’ll get your links request
approved without a reciprocal link exchange. Some webmasters
will consider either that it may not make sense for them to have
their link on your site, or that your site is a valuable enough
addition to their site without a link in return. Most times
though, a reciprocal exchange will result.
Do not balk at approaching your competitors.
Since no two business entities are identical, it is possible for
competing websites to carry each others links and still benefit
from the total traffic carried by all. Imagine sites that sell
unique and therefore hard to find gift items. While obvious
competitors, if a surfer fails to find what they’re looking for
on one site, they may find it on the other, and vice-versa.
A word about Page Rank. PR is a measure of a
website’s significance derived and used by certain search
engines chiefly Google. While a positive indicator, you should
not get too hung up on it when identifying link partners.PR is
gained and lost often (every 3 months or so) so current PR is no
indicator of future trends. Further, PR is largely an indicator
of link popularity, is obscure in its derivation, and does not
tell you how suitable a website is as a link partner. Use it as
an indicative measure rather than a deciding factor.
Google PR increases as your link popularity does.
Building links with quality websites many of which will have low
PR initially, but websites that have the type of traffic your
site needs will invariably lead to a higher PR evetually.
Enjoy your Link Building.