Linkuitwisseling marketing artikelen .



In my opinion reciprocal links are second only to search engines as a way to get traffic to ones site

door: David Callan

How important are reciprocal links?


Reciprocal links are links with other sites which are generally related to the theme of your website. The concept is simple, you link to a site and that sites webmaster returns the favor and links back to your site. For some reason or another you always receive a lot more traffic from doing link exchanges sites than you give out.

This method of traffic building is very important and it's free, it's simply a matter of contacting the right webmasters and getting the right links. A full blown 'link-hunt' however can be time consuming but the benefits it can bring are huge. Among them are:

- Highly targeted visitors
- Better search engine rankings

The visitors that come from related websites are highly targeted and you've a much better chance of selling them your product or service Since they've come to your site through a link on a related website you know they're interested in your sites theme, otherwise they wouldn't be on a site that is linking to you and furthermore they definitely wouldn't click through if they weren't interested. These visitors are prime prospects for your product or service and best of all you don't have to pay for a single one.

It's worth telling you that it is very unlikely that once a link is up on someones site that it will be taken down. This means that once a link is up, chances are it'll be sending you free visitors for its lifetime, free visitors equals free sales which in turn equals more profit.

Reciprocal linking is my personal favorite form of marketing even though a good search engine campaign will bring in much more traffic than any number of links can. I say this because it's ideal for sites just starting out as you can see the visitors and sales coming in within days of contacting webmasters for links, especially if you can secure any high traffic links.

Apart from getting visitors from the linking site itself more recently some major search engines are using the number of links to a site as an important factor in establishing a sites relevancy. The idea behind this is that the more links a site has to more valuable it must be. This method of using the number of links as a relevancy factor helps the search engines defeat doorway pages. Why would anyone link to 'bare-bones' keyword filled doorway page? To that question there's a simple answer, they wouldn't and the search engines know this.

Google is the most prominent of the big boys to use this method. It brought me a lot of visitors to my hobby site. Hobby site? You may ask. Well you may be interested to read that I was the webmaster of http://www.irishboxingnews.com for three years

I have recently discontinued http://www.irishboxingnews.com to concentrate on this site, but I remember checking backward links on Altavista and Google during its operation. I had 275 sites linking to Irish Boxing News.com and was ranked number three on Google for the search term 'boxing news', which is a very popular query. I got between 40 and 70 visitors a day from Google for this search term alone.

Before Google introduced the number of links to a site as a ranking factor with its patented Pagerank system I wasn't even in the top 20, because however I had so many quality sites linking to Irish Boxing News.com Google felt I deserved position three when the Pagerank system was put in place. More search engines are likely to come around to this method of evaluating sites as Google has shown with its tremendous growth that it's a very effective method of ranking search results.

Hopefully you can see why reciprocal linking is so important to any 'serious' webmasters. My Irish Boxing News.com site got about 150 visitors a day through reciprocal links alone, not bad for a site without a budget plus it was a niche information site and didn't have broad appeal. Just Multiply 150 by 4 or 5 for a website with mass appeal like an Internet Marketing themed one and you can really start to see the power of developing links with other sites. The bottom line is - get linking now, you'll be glad you did.

Who / How to target for reciprocal links.

Reciprocal linking is one of the most effective ways of driving targeted mass numbers of people to your website, however in order to be successful you've to carefully target and choose the sites you want to link with.

What you need to be doing is focusing on linking to similar high-traffic quality sites which will interest your visitors and which complement your site, not compete with it. Sending visitors to a competing site with a similar product is a big mistake because the chances are good that they'll buy your their product and not yours.

Try not to down-link which is what I call it when a site links with a site with far less traffic than it. Always aim to up-link with a few high traffic sites rather than a bunch of low traffic ones. The results are much better. My favorite and first thing to do when looking for sites to target is to try a take traffic away from my competition. I do this by visiting altavista.com or any other search engine which will tell me which sites link to which.

Imagine for example you knew your competition was www.xyz.com You would go to Altavista and type in link:competition.com leaving out the http://www. part. To follow the above format you'd type in link:xyz.com and do the search, Altavista will return all the sites in its database that link to www.xyz.com. These are the first few sites you want to link to because you know they're sending traffic and business to your competition and you want a piece of action too. Chances are if these sites link to your competitor they'll link to you too.

Depending on the industry of your business and your competitor, he or she could have hundreds of links so be prepared to be held up for quite some time. It's well worth it however because you're effectively taking visitors away from your competitors site by having your link wherever their link is.

The next way you can target sites to link with is by visiting one of the major search sites, either Yahoo.com or Google.com. The advantage these two sites have over other search sites when it comes to targeting links is that usually results from these are of a very high standard. In Yahoo.com's case it's because all sites are reviewed by a human editor and in Google.com's case it's because they use link popularity as one of the main factors of relevancy when returning results from a search meaning only good quality sites are returned.

You're on either Google.com or Yahoo.com, now enter keywords and keyphrases which relate to the theme of your website, remember you don't want to link to competitive sites so try not to be too specific on your search term. If I was doing this I wouldn't enter 'Internet marketing articles' because chances are most results would be competitive sites, I'd enter in 'Internet marketing' because it's a wide area but still related to my website theme and not necessarily competing with me. The sites that show up for these results are prime targets. Ask for links with these guys, next you can target the guys who have links to them. The possibilities are endless.

How to get reciprocal links.

Now you know how important reciprocal links are and who you should target when looking for links, but when you've found your targets what's the best way to actually get them to link to you. What should you say to the webmaster in the email or phone call that'll increase your chances of them linking their site to yours. First things first, always personalize the email you send to any webmaster. This means actually visiting his or her site, noting anything significant details about it, finding the correct email address and the name of the webmaster if possible

This shows you're serious about exchanging links, that you really do value a potential link with them and separates you from the non-serious people who couldn't be bothered to personalize and might as well be emailing hundreds of sites with link exchange proposals. Secondly many online email accounts and desktop email programs are set up with advanced spam filters and if an email is not directly addressed to a particular person it'll be automatically deleted and hence will never be read. Personalizing emails by sending them one by one will enable your emails to get into the inbox.

Thirdly many webmasters are spammed on a constant basis, this is because marketing spammers have sent out email extractors to extract email addresses from sites under a particular keyword or keyphrase. Webmasters therefore regularly ignore messages they suspect as spam. Having their name or website name in the subject will ensure your email is not dismissed as spam. If you do personalize you'll see a much better response than if you didn't as you're making the webmaster feel special. Look at it this way, if you don't care enough to find out some relevant details and send a personal email to your prospective linking partner, why should he or she care to link with you? Many webmasters particularly on high traffic sites are weary of others trying to get something for free off them, when you email them your proposal they might think you're one of these people.

What can you do to put them at ease and to show them you're offering a fair deal? Well I consider this one a bit of a golden rule, it is this, always put a link to them first. Do this even before contacting them, this seems to them more genuine and makes them believe that you do really value their site as you've already linked to it. Another advantage of this would be the fact that they might already have seen in their logs that you're sending them traffic and want to make sure this continues by linking to you. It is a good idea to give a little description of perhaps a line or two which makes the site out to be great. Everyone loves flattery and this should increase your chances of getting a return link from them.

Now on to the main body of the email. Tell the webmaster who you are, give them the address of your website and tell them a little about it such as what services and products you offer from it.

Inform the webmaster that you liked their site and found it very useful, tell them why you thought it was useful and mention which sections you found particularly interesting. Always include the URL of the website you liked as many webmasters have more than one website. Next you want to tell them you liked it so much that you've added a link and a description for their site to your links page already. This will increase your chances as many webmasters feel obliged to repay a favor to someone who has said lots of good words about their site. Make sure you give them the URL of the page where their link can be found.

With that out of the way you need to suggest to the webmaster that they add your site to their links or resources page, mention once again that you've linked to them as you think your visitors will be interested in and benefit from their site, then ask if they'd consider doing the same for you. Have a couple of lines or two explaining how this will benefit their visitors, direct the webmaster to particular articles or areas of your site which would be of interest his or her visitors. By now they should be interested. Next you need to give them the extra push by including the exact HTML code needed to add your link to their page, you should include a little description of your site in this HTML code. Remember the easier you make it for them the more likely they will link to you. Make it clear that you can change the description of their site if they wish.

Last but not least thank them for taking time to read your email and say you hope to hear from them soon. Include your email address and phone number. Most webmasters will go to your links page to verify that you have actually added their link like you said, with this in mind a technique I have used in the past which you could also imply is to deliberately misspell their company name or place an incorrect URL into the hyperlink which is supposed to be pointing to their site. The point here being that the webmaster will email you telling you that the link doesn't work or that their information is spelled wrong and once they do that the lines of communication are open and it is now much easier for you to get them to reciprocate the link.

Following the above advice usually brings a 20%-40% success rate, which is really good. It's best not to rush in and email 100 or 200 sites at once. You should be seeking to add about 10 good sites to your links page every week, this usually requires emailing about 30 or 40 sites depending on your sites properties like contents and traffic. One thing is for sure though, it'll take time, usually from six months to a year to develop really good traffic from reciprocal links. It's well worth it however as your securing free long-term traffic for your site.

Reciprocal link proposition templates.

I guess you can't really call this an article, maybe a resource article though. I've decided to include it in the reciprocal links section anyway. Below there are six templates and a couple of subject lines too which you can use when emailing other webmasters proposing a link exchange with him or her. These have been used by various people on the web, I myself have used most of them with this site and my http://www.irishboxingnews.com site and many other I've been involved with in the past. Most of them tend to return a 20%-30% success rate, which is pretty good.

Here are a couple of general subject lines which you can use.

I saw your site!
Link exchange!
Reciprocal link exchange!
I just visited your [Recipient's URL] website - well done!
Your links page
Please consider [Your URL] for a link exchange!
Want to increase your pagerank?
Increase your link popularity!
I have linked to your [Recipient's URL] site!
Your resources page
Hi [Recipient's name] - I run [Your URL]...
Link trade proposal for your consideration / review!
Can you send me a description of your site for my links page?
Dear [Recipient's first name here],

I have visited your site and feel that the content about [insert the topic of the web site here] would be of interest to the visitors to my site located at: "[Your URL here]". I have already placed a link to your site along with a description at [URL of your Links web page here]. I would appreciate if you would place a link back to my site using the following description/graphic:

Description of your web site here]
[ The URL of a web page which contain graphics for reciprocal linking here]
If you would like the description of your site modified or you have any other cross-promotion ideas let me know.
Best regards,
[Insert your full name here]
[Insert your email signature here]
Dear [Recipient's first name here],

I have a web site, [Your URL here], and have spent a lot of time and effort to ensure my visitors gain the maximum benefit from their visit, and from what I have to offer. As our web sites are closely related and our products do not compete, I feel the exchanging of links would be a mutually beneficial arrangement. If you are interested in exchanging links, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

Best regards,
[Your full name here]
[Your email signature here]
Subject: [Your web site name]
Dear [Recipient's first name]:

came across your [Recipient's URL] site recently and thought it was [Include your opinion]. I particularly liked your [Include feature you were impressed with the most]. I noticed you link to [The Topic of your web site here] resources and thought our web site might be of interest to you and your web site visitors. [Description of your web site here] - (Be sure to include your web site name, URL, and concise description of your web site. When writing your description, be sure to focus on the benefits of your web site.) I wonder if you would be interested in linking to us. If you have any questions about our site, please feel free to contact me directly via e-mail or phone at [Your phone number]

Thank you for your time.
[Your full name], webmaster
[Your URL]
Hello [Recipient's full name here],

I run a site similar to yours, and was wondering if you would like to trade links with me? You can see my site at [Your URL here]. I would give your site a prominent listing on my page at [The URL of your Links web page here], if you would be willing to do the same. Thank you for having a great [The topic of your web site here] page, I enjoyed browsing it!

[Your first name here]
[insert your email signature here]
Dear [Recipient's first name here],

I'm the webmaster of a [ The topic of your web site here] website at [Your URL here]. I've collected quality links to other [The topic of your web site here] resources on the Internet on my links page. I came across your site [Recipient's URL] and feel that it would fit perfectly into these links. I've already placed a link to your web site along with a description at [The URL of your Links web page here]. I'd appreciate if you'd place a link back to my site using the following link and description:

Your URL here]
[Description of your web site here]
If you'd like the description of your site modified or if you have any other cross-promotion ideas just drop me a line.
Best regards from [Your town or country name here],
[Your full name here]
[Your email signature here]
Hello [Recipient's full name here],
I visited your site, [Recipient's URL], today, and really like it.
I run a site similar to yours, and was wondering if you would like to trade links with me?
You can see my site at [Your URL here]. I would give your site a prominent listing on my page at [The URL of your links web page here], if you would be willing to do the same.
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Best regards,
[Your full name here]
[Your email signature here]

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