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  1. #1
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    Key considerations in link exchanging
    While im still in the process of developing my site, my mind has wandered off on a tagent (as it often does ) and ive been thinking about link exchanging and exactly what it is.

    Im a newbie to the scene, and so far ive gathered its both a form of advertising and is appreciated by search engines, im not sure what i should know before i approach other website admins with requests in the future.

    Apart from outlining some explicit rules such as no adult content, no parasites, no banner farms etc...what actual questions should i ask a website admin, and what should i consider when linking with another site.

    Obviously sites that have a broad relation to my own would be good to link too, but what else should i be aware of?

  2. #2
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Be aware that they will try everything and anything they can to suck PR off your site and give none back to you.

    They may put your link on a hidden page that is not connected to the main site and cannot be found by the search engines. They will put your link up and when they think you have finished checking it, they will take your link down. They will expect you to put their link on a PR4 page and will put your link on a PR0 page. They may use your text but actually have the link going somewhere else so if you just take a glance when you check back, it will look like your link is still up. And, there are many other tricks they will do that are even sneakier.

    I have not played the linking game prefering to make my own network of sites and create my own linking. But, I over did it a bit so I am going to have to redo the ways I link. However, there are also a lot of places you can get free links.

    Beware of those soliciting links. Some are honest. Most are not.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  3. #3
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    Thx SSanf for being honest and giving me a heads up on some of the less ethical tactics used by people. Its kind of daunting to know that just managing link exchanges with other sites could take up a decent chunk of time. Its good that i know that beforehand, its something that im going to keep a strong eye on.

    Im drawing up a fairly lengthy (although i hope not too lengthy) form for potential partners to fill in. At the end there will be a checkbox with a clause saying. "You agree that the information you have submitted is correct, and represents an honest intention of how you plan to link with us"

    I know it doesnt really meaning anything but at least it gives me a get out option if they do they wrong thing and try and screw me over...

    Ill put up the page when the site is ready for review....one day

    Any other information is greatly appreciated. Thx SSanf

  4. #4
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Im drawing up a fairly lengthy (although i hope not too lengthy) form for potential partners to fill in.
    I've seen sites like that, and my reaction is usually *very* negative, causing me to not want to link even if I match all the criteria. If you've got a PR 9 on your links page, that's one thing, but from a new, or just average, site it's VERY off-putting. It comes across as uncalled-for arrogance. Remember--they're helping YOU too--a *reciprocal* link is not a gift from you, but an exchange!

    IMO it's a lot better to simply say you'll "review" link requests. Then if they don't measure up, just don't link.


    A standard linking form will ask:

    Site name
    URL the submitter wants you to link to
    Description of their site
    URL the recip is on
    email of submitter (so you can send a confirmation email)

    Standard terms include:

    Family-friendly sites only
    There must be a recip
    Page recip is on must be accessible from the front page
    Recip link must not go through a redirect/must be spiderable

    Less-common terms:

    Size of link on their site, that goes to their "links" page (some people want "real" traffic to be able to get to the Links page)
    PR of site (front page)
    Unbanned site
    PR of links page
    Number of links on links page (you don't want your recip to be so far down that bots never find it!)

    Stupid, idiot terms I've seen try to dictate:

    Name of the links page! Especially demanding that the filename has to be called "links" or "linkspage!" Duh, wtf...real viewers don't care what the filename of the links page is! Gimme a break...

    Basic layout of links page! (Especially jerks who demand "directory" layouts. Duh! If you're into "relevant" linking, they'll all be in one or 2 categories, maybe 3 or 4, and that'd make a really lame directory layout! Plus, directories often have so many clicks to go through that by the time you get to where the actual links really are, the pages have been whittled down to PR0.)

    Demanding a certain software be used for links page generation or demands for no-software linkpage generation.

    Other stuff straight out of the cuckoo's nest, that I can't remember just now.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador ktmkiddy's Avatar
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    Exchanging Links
    You can make it as simple as what leader said...here's my linking instructions page for my mail order kitchen gadgets business:

    Add Your URL Here (don't feel you have to..just giving you an idea of how to set it out)
    Adverts

  6. #6
    Member allanc's Avatar
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    I reccomend front page linking. Link only to sites with the same PR as you have but only on front page. If you set up a small network of friend sites you will get high PR preety fast and it will be easy for you to check it.
    Did you check your inside linking? You can have PR 3 or 4 only with good content and inside linking properly done. Make a site map...etc...

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I've done a lot of link exchanges and some provide traffic while many don't. I think what you really want is a true link exchange that reciprocates traffic, not PR. Consider what your visitors are doing on your site and what they're clicking on. When offering a link, ensure that this link will get clicked on by your traffic. Make sure the same can be said about the site you're exchanging with. I don't recommend exchanging links on the bottom of your homepage because it rarely results in direct traffic. Most people exchange links hoping to absorb some PR so the search engines will give them additional traffic which I did this in the past, but I've stopped. I'm through doing PR link exchanges because they don't really offer any value to my visitors. I'm looking for links that will be valuable to my visitors. For example, when I collect a product review I offer a link to www.iespell.com so they can download an applet that will spell check their review. I'm not asking for a link back from iespell, but the link itself makes my site more valuable because of the information I'm offering. If I can find a site that will offer value to my visitors while my site can offer value to their visitors, then we can do an exchange. This is just my way of looking at link exchanges. Take it for what it is, but I'm learning more and more to respect each and every visitor I get as an individual.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I just had an idea.. I'm sure everybody has sites they admire and strive to mimic. Why not create a links page with these sites? Offer information that you've collected over the years and be truthful. I've always witheld this information in fear of sending my traffic away to my competition, but a lot of the time I'll bookmark a good link page because it's much easier than bookmarking all the sites listed. Sure, you're not getting reciprocal links directly from the sites you're linking to, but people will see your site as a resource and link to you without any reciprocation over time. In fact a bookmark is almost as valuable as a link.

    Having a links page will also demand more link offers through your contact form.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  9. #9
    Member allanc's Avatar
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    As an affiliate manager I see that the sites that make more money are the ones that most of their pagerank comes from posting on forums, posting on message boards, link pages, etc.

    Your site has an amazing PR and I did some research on it, it mainly appears on blogs, bbs, etc.
    Making a links page is a great idea and I want to do it some day, I reccomend this site for now: http://www.themeatrix.com/

  10. #10
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I just had an idea.. I'm sure everybody has sites they admire and strive to mimic. Why not create a links page with these sites?

    - Scott
    1) Mind goes blank upon opening the DW.

    2) The variety involved/impossible to make any kind of theme.

    3) What I *can* think of, is all saleable through various affiliate programs. Why give Macromedia a link when I can put up an Amazon link for DreamWeaver? Or give totalwar.com a link when I could sell that game myself (through a merchant) and make a commish? (Not that selling that game would be a big moneymaker. But if I was going to mention it at all on a site, might as well have the tracking code attached...)

    4) If people are coming primarily for the links page, I fail to see the value of that. It's no good for the wallet if a page of non-pay links is as far as they go. And, unlike most content, it's not even good for the ego-factor, since they wouldn't be coming to see MY content!

    I've done a lot of link exchanges and some provide traffic while many don't. I think what you really want is a true link exchange that reciprocates traffic, not PR.
    It's always a nice bonus to see some actual traffic from a link-in. But I've yet to be able to determine a way to know if a link will bring any. I've had some real surprises, though. There's seemingly small sites that refer. On the other hand, I've gotten links from supposedly "relevant" and "established" sites that don't send one hit beyond the webmaster's own initial click (the click that they make to ensure that they typed it in right)!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  11. #11
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    Mattius,

    In my opinion (and as another poster mentioned), your links to other sites make your site more valuable. Don't just consider links to popular sites, or ones with high PR; if I wanted to find them, I could use Google myself. Rather, do investigating on the web and find sites which provide valuable information related to (but not in competition with) your own site. This may take some time, but how else does one earn a living but through labor? Anyway, a suggestion might be to find good websites to link to, and then later e-mail their webmasters and tell them that you've added their links to your site and you'd appreciate a link back. If they don't link back, you are still doing a service to your website visitors; if they do link back, all the better.

    A

  12. #12
    Member allanc's Avatar
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    I agree with Arcadius, when you have links to valuable sites, even those that don't sell anything and you are not affiliated with, you add content to your site. I don't know how it will affect your traffic, definitely your PR wont rise, but your real value will. I have links to sites I like. Yahoo started that way...Look where they are now...
    The best sites for me are those which offer free content, information...

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Great point there allan about Yahoo. Your value really lies in the information you're providing. Simply linking to a book on Amazon and asking somebody to buy it doesn't provide as much value as linking somebody to an article that briefly explains the topic at hand. If you do this for people time and time again, they'll begin to trust you and trust the products you show them in your shopping section. It's also a good idea to provide a valuable content area just for the PR. People will link to content but they don't necessary know that you've also got products on that domain.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    how else does one earn a living but through labor?
    It's called "affiliate marketing" LOL!

    That's an exaggeration (there is some labor involved, of course), but most of the time you'll find a heckuva lot less correlation between w*rk/money with this than with practically any traditional job.

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    On another note, I disagree with the whole "building trust and then they'll buy" thesis. I've seen too many people in the past say they had c*ntent sites where the store isn't even noticed despite having multiple links to it. IMO that's just another oft-repeated thing with no basis in actual fact.

    If I have a store section connected to a content site and it makes sales, I've *invariably* found that it's because it's been listed seperately in the SEs and that the buyers are coming in directly--bypassing the content! So, the buyers are actually seeing it just as they would any pure sales site.

    Building PR and getting links-in are indeed benefits of c*ntent, but when it comes to *directly* improving sales by making buyers out of the free-content-moochers, nah, not in my experience.
    Last edited by Leader; February 16th, 2005 at 08:56 AM.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  15. #15
    Member allanc's Avatar
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    Key considerations in link exchanging
    I want to go back to the main topic posted by Mattius:

    Key considerations in link exchanging
    The easy solution:
    Looking for a higher page rank?

    1. Take your main keyword, let's say it is Viagra, search for Viagra on Google, take the highest affiliate site that comes up and do the following:

    2. On Google type: link: htttp://www.sitename.com

    You will receive a list of sites that link to that site, if you open each site you will find out that you can place a link to your site on some of them.
    Continue doing that with other sites/keywords untill you have reached some PR and stop. You wont get traffic, just PR.

  16. #16
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Smile
    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    I just had an idea.. I'm sure everybody has sites they admire and strive to mimic. Why not create a links page with these sites? Offer information that you've collected over the years and be truthful. I've always witheld this information in fear of sending my traffic away to my competition, but a lot of the time I'll bookmark a good link page because it's much easier than bookmarking all the sites listed. Sure, you're not getting reciprocal links directly from the sites you're linking to, but people will see your site as a resource and link to you without any reciprocation over time. In fact a bookmark is almost as valuable as a link.

    Having a links page will also demand more link offers through your contact form.

    - Scott
    I just wanted to follow up on a major success I just had by doing this. After creating a link page and adding a few sites, I was approached by a well established related site with an email telling me they added my link. They wanted a simple link reciprocation which I gladly returned. What's funny is in my trek to find related sites I stumbled across this site a few weeks ago and dismissed it because I thought they were out of my league. Just goes to show that you mustn't underestimate yourself sometimes.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  17. #17
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    About link exchanging. How do you know if the site your are linking to is penalized by one of the search engines. Can linking to a penalize site get your site penalized as well?

    I am considering doing some link exchanges but am very concerned that I might end up linking to a penalized site, or one that is black hat and could get penalized.

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    woman,

    I recommend just looking at the site and thinking to yourself.. Does this site have some value? You might also want to search for the site name in Google to see if the site comes up for it's own name. Sites that generate their own traffic and maintain their own audience are good bets. Just don't link to a site that won't offer any value to your visitors and you'll be fine.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  19. #19
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    This is a great thread, don't know how I missed it. I'm beginning to wonder about the whole content issue, if it's really worth taking the time and trouble to create "real content" to put on sites. Some say if we put good content on sites people will link to it spontaneously, but I find that very hard to believe about affiliate sites.

    Has anyone noticed any difference whether it's easier to get links with *content* than it is without? I figure affiliate links with descriptions are content for shoppers because they're looking to buy things. Is there any practical sense to spending much time doing more than that? Any difference between responses for link requests with or without?

  20. #20
    Not Verif-Lidated infoTim's Avatar
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    I find people are usually keen to link if your site is useful or authoritative, and that means it is content or service oriented. Imagine a site that you would be happy to get a link from...and then become that site. :-)
    Tim
    consultant by day, affiliate by night

  21. #21
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    I figure affiliate links with descriptions are content for shoppers because they're looking to buy things.
    Agreed! I don't tend to call that "content" because for so long, the word was taken (by the general public, not those into the technical meanings of things) to mean noncommercial info or entertainment material. But, descriptions ARE the kind of content buyers (of most items) want to see. And some info about the merchant (they get to see that if the site is set up so it can be put in without adding 10 tons of w*rk).

    That's not the type of "content" a lot of people are referring to when they talk up "content-rich" sites...hence the anti-c*ntent remarks you'll see from me.


    Has anyone noticed any difference whether it's easier to get links with *content* than it is without? I figure affiliate links with descriptions are content for shoppers because they're looking to buy things. Is there any practical sense to spending much time doing more than that? Any difference between responses for link requests with or without?
    Condensed version.
    In short, I'd say No, when it comes to people taking the initiative to link to me. While one of my c*ntent (info-content) sites gets more requests, the great majority are from sites I wouldn't want to link back to (automated requests/link directory pages). So, for the most part, it ends up being a wash.

    When it comes to me *soliciting* links, I don't do that too often. I hate doing it, and hate to have links-out from my sales sites. I only do it at all, when I think the Algo isn't going to budge an inch without it and I can't think of any other way to attack the Leviathan.

    But, when I've gone ahead and done it--it was indeed easier to get links to one info-content site. But, it's been far from impossible to get links to the affiliate sites. It just takes more emailing. Not a big deal if you've decided to spend, say, an hour or 2/day sending out requests (until you get enough for one batch). So, it takes 2 or 3 days of doing that instead of one. *Shrugs* Not a big deal if you're free of empl*yment; you've got all the time in the world anyway... just keep on asking sites that have link pages, until you get enough "yesses."

    The detailed version:
    I've got both kinds of sites. Most of mine are sales sites, as you can probably tell by my posts, but there's a couple of info-content sites too. And 2 blogs--one c*ntent (opinions/editorial) and one pure sales (but not automated blog spam).

    Neither kind spontaneously draws worthwhile nonreciprocal links except on a rare (less than once/year) fluke. Worthwhile = from pages that Google even knows about!

    One "good" site did link to a recipe of mine on its own. And that was after having the site up for over a year!

    The other spontaneous links to that site have come from pages that either are totally unknown to Google (doing a site: check brought up no results), or are PR0 or 1. Some grade-school teacher made a page about a project and put a link to me. I only found that because I looked in my log file on the right day. Links like that.

    QUALITY spontaneous links to either type of site haven't happened. I came close with a blog post on a topic that hit the news. AOL listed it as a blog of the day! But, those links only last, you guessed it, one day...it caused a minor traffic spike and then was gone like a mist in the heat of the afternoon.

    But, it's a myth that pure sales-oriented affiliate sites don't get any spontaneous links. My big mall and other sales sites have drawn a few of the same type of links-in as the info-content (ie PR1 and unknown-site [0]). A couple of people put a link to my pages in their blogs. They were both talking about various products they'd like, and when they linked to those products, some of the links went to my sales pages! Unfortunately, not too many people link to them--they had PR1. Someone on Angelfire wrote a story which mentioned a particular type of shoes. She linked to my page which showed that type.

    So, others do find use in pure sales pages. But, with a few exceptions, the only ones that really seem to spontaneously link out with any regularity are newbs with no PR.

    As for recips, the site that gets the most recip requests is info-content (recipes). But, most are low-quality "automated link directory" type requests. Many of them have absolutely nothing to do with cooking at all, and only a tenuous connection even to what could be called "home-making." And, since I accepted a link from the UK, lots of UK home-remodeling people seem to think I'll be interested in exchanging with them. (They didn't look very closely--the UK site I had exchanged with sells cooking equipment!)

    I also got hit with a couple of sites that were just building link pop so they could turn their sites into highly-ranked PPC pseudodirectories! I didn't find that out, though, until my site tanked for no reason a few months later, and out of exasperation I thought, "maybe I should check the links page, maybe something went sour..." Then I saw that they had deleted all their content and put that PPC place (Searchfeed I think it was) on instead. Grrr...

    So in the end it seems to be a wash with either type of site. Only with the mall, I don't get pestered with many requests to link to sites that I wouldn't want to link to anyway!
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  22. #22
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    I definitely agree that the more interesting and unique you make your site, the more likely it'll be that you get natural links for free. I know first hand that this is true. I get links from nice sites from time to time without any reciprocation. A lot of the time, somebody will even post my 88x31 button among their other links. That's really encouraging to see. I try to offer a variety of buttons so people can fit my ad into any color scheme. I've seen people use each choice I offer.

    For sales sites, this is a lot more difficult. You almost need to solicit these links. I like how Bizrate got all their merchants to post a link back with their Bizrate score. That's a great idea and has been well executed. Hotscripts also does this by displaying your script's score on your site in real time. They also let your visitors score your script on Hotscripts. These types of innovations are admirable if you can make them work, but you really need to have some heavy resources behind you to make it happen.

    Personally, I prefer the free buttons. I see my 88x31 button appear on a new site every 1 to 2 months. I know the consistency of this is very important. If you don't maintain a steady number of new links, you may lose some placement in the search engines.

    When it comes to affiliate links and descriptions, you really need to do something special. Don't just write anything you can. Take cues from some of the successful websites. I've been using Tomshardware for years. They provide a valuable resource by comparing and benchmarking computer hardware. They're always up to date and offer fantastic details about their products.

    I think the less you *seem* to focus on making sales the more likely it'll be that you gain links. Building a site that gets free non-reciprocated links that sells extraordinarily well is ideal and very difficult to build.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

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