Exchanging links can be a great way to build relations with other sites and boost your ranking at the same time. You never know how many friends you can make and what you can learn from them. So let's get started.
First, you need to create a links page. This links page needs to look and feel the same as the rest of your site and should include instructions on how to link to your site and an example of the description you want. If you use buttons for links, make sure you include a text link somewhere so search engines can find your links page easily.
Now that you have your links page ready, it's time to start looking for link partners. When searching for link partners, start by searching for your keywords in Google and choose 10 to 20 sites that have content that is related to or can compliment your site. Then, add a text link with a brief description of thier site on your links page.
Now it's time to send off an email to each site and ask if they will exchange links with you. I have a basic form letter I use for this (form letter at end of article). However, I add something personal about their site, a compliment about something I liked. This lets them know that I'm not a bot sending spam, but a real person interested in exchanging links that has actually took the time to review their site.
If you have not heard from them in 5 to 7 days, go ahead and send another request but not the same one, change this one. You might mention that you have not heard back from them and that you feel your visitors could benefit from their content. You may also want to see if they have a phone number listed and give them a call. I know, as a seasoned webmaster, I enjoy the phone calls I get. Don't be afraid to make several contact attempts. Following up on your link requests is essential. However, don't bombard their email with requests. Always send one last email letting them know you're removing their link and that maybe you can exchange links another time. Always end on a positive note. The idea is to build business relationships, not upset people.
When you get a response that your request has been accepted, go and verify your link is accurate and that the description is to your liking. Don't be afraid to ask for an edit if you're unhappy with the link.
Having a link on a site with a high page rank in Google is better than a page with no or low page rank. Although, until you gain page rank of your own, you may have to settle for links that have low rank. This does not mean you can't request links from high ranking sites. Just be prepared that they may not accept you until you have high page rank. Save these contacts for a latter campaign.
Next week, we will look into some software that can help you with your reciprocal linking campaign and review some websites designed to help you exchange links.
Form letter example for approaching link partners.
Dear John Doe,
My name is Your Name, I am the webmaster for yoursite.com. I have visited your site, sitename.com, and I think that the content could be of interest to our web site visitors.
I have already placed a link to your site along with a description at www.yourstie.com/link.html If you want anything modified or if you have any other cross-promotion ideas, let me know.
I would appreciate if you placed a link back to our site. As soon as I am aware that you have done so, I will move your link to the top of the list in your category. If you put our link on your main page, I will also do the same for you. If you have a banner you'd rather use, let me know.
You can find our linking code at: www.yourstie.com/suggest-link.html.
Mark Hochhaus owns and operates InHisServiceProductions, a Web site design firm based in Washington State and publishes weekly articles in an RSS enabled blog titled The Optimizer.