If you’ve been on the internet very long at all, you know that one of the very best and certainly cheapest ways of making your web site known is by exchanging links with other sites similar to yours. The more relevant sites that link to yours, the more your rating will improve, the more people looking for whatever you have will find your site, the more traffic you will get and the more sales you will make! So just how do you go about finding webmasters who are willing to place a link to your new site onto their site?
When your site is brand new, your best bet is to type your key words or phrases into a search engine and see what comes up. The sites you see on the first few pages have made it to the top of the search engine rankings. Go to the sites and look around on the home page for the phrase “links exchange” or sometimes just “links.” They will have instructions for how to place their site on yours, and instructions on the information they need from you in order for them to place a link to your site on theirs. Always remember that the Golden Rule applies here. You want them to place a link to you on their site so you need to reciprocate. If you are uncomfortable with the content of their links page and would prefer not to be associated with that site, then just move on. There are millions of others.
Some of the higher ranked sites will have non-content related restrictions about with whom they will exchange links. They will only exchange with you if your site and/or links pages have achieved a certain Google PageRank. (*More about that later.) If you encounter such a site, graciously just move on. Don’t waste your time linking to them or requesting a reciprocal link because they will most likely ignore you.
For instructions on Keeping Track Of Your Links Exchanges, please follow the link to another article that I wrote. Trust me on this one; you need to keep track. You will eventually have many many pages with similar sounding titles and URL’s and they will all begin to swim around in your mind. Only a savant could keep it straight!
OK. Now your site has been up and running for awhile and you would like to focus your search on exchanging links with sites that have a higher PageRank. Repeat your very first steps of typing your key words or phrases into a search engine and see what comes up. It may or may not be the same sites you saw before, but it will be the current top ranked sites for those key words. Go to the first site just as before, but this time click on the little blue icon on your Google toolbar (if you don’t have the Google tool bar click here to download it.) You will see a dropdown menu with 4 items on it. Click on “backward links” and you will get a page of web sites that looks like a regular Google search but is really all of the web pages with a PageRank of at least 4 that have linked back to the site you started with. Go to each of those sites and request to exchange links with them. The procedure is the same, but all of these sites and pages will have a PageRank of at least 4 and the more pages ranked at least 4 that link back to you, the higher your site will be rated. Just keep plugging away at it. It is tedious to the max, but free (unlike some programs on the market) and effective.
At some point in time, other webmasters will begin to contact you requesting to exchange links. Ta-daahhh! You’ve made it! The first thing you need to do is visit their site. Is their site relevant to yours? Are you comfortable putting a link to their site on yours? Would you want your Grandma to visit your site and follow that link? If the answer is yes, then put up the link. E-mail them back to thank them for the offer and to let them know where on your site you put their link. If you are not comfortable putting the link on your site, don’t worry about it. You will get requests from people who obviously didn’t read that you prefer not to link to casinos and Viagra sites or whatever, and you will get requests to exchange links with sites that have absolutely nothing to do with your site’s subject matter. Just ignore them, or you could reply and politely decline. Now here comes some more Golden Rule stuff. NEVER turn down somebody because their site or links page isn’t ranked high enough! Remember that you once had a whole site of “0” ranked pages and were so grateful for any of the exchanges you could get. Return the favor. Remember that you were new once and others helped you. Remember that the “Big Kahunas” on the internet were new once and had “0” ranked pages that are now very highly ranked. That new person you agree to link to today could be tomorrow’s next “Big Kahuna.” Remember that Google has pulled the rug out from under people before and likely will do it again. Today’s top site could be tomorrow’s cellar dweller, and next week some site could shoot out of nowhere to the top. You don’t have to put their “0” page on your “6” or “7” home page, but do exchange links with them somewhere on your site. It’s the right thing to do.
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Sandi Moses has been involved in internet marketing since November, 2003. Visit her site at http://www.123iwork4me.com.