Successful Linking Practices…Dos and Don’ts
There always have and always will be new ideas and concepts on how your links will or will not help your popularity rating, traffic flow and search engine positioning.
Through it all, no matter how the search engines change the way they view your links, a baseline of good linking practices will go a long way towards helping you benefit as much as possible.
Many websites, whether they are new or are pursuing new growth, realize they must reach out and acquire link partnerships with popular sites. This is necessary in order for their popularity to increase and in turn, their search engine ranking will increase.
Let’s first take a look at what you should not do.
Do not send an e-mail to a website and ask for a link exchange if they already have an online form available to perform this. By sending your generic e-mail to these sites, you are basically acknowledging that you did not visit the site and did not take any time to look at the value or lack of value of the site. You are acknowledging that you do not think highly of the time somebody will have to spend processing your request that you could have applied for online yourself.
Do not send an e-mail where you indicate you are waiting for a response to an agreement that was already made between your site and the one you wish to link to, if the site in question never indicated their desire to trade links. When you send an e-mail requesting an exchange…the site you are requesting the exchange with is in no way required to comply…no matter what you may have offered. To send a follow up e-mail to a site that has not reciprocated and then infer they previously agreed…you are attempting to deceive and may very well cause a business to search their records looking for this agreement because they would normally never just drop the ball…so don’t expect a legitimate business to do anything other than delete your e-mail after you have made them waste their time in uncovering your lie.
Do not agree to exchange links and then never place the sites reciprocal link on your site. If you are unable to place the link at that time, provide a comment or note to indicate an expected delay…perhaps your webmaster just needs some time to set the link in place…otherwise, do not request the exchange until you have placed the required reciprocal link in place.
Do not place the reciprocal link at the bottom of a page with a hundred banners, buttons and other varied links. When you do this, you are guaranteeing their reciprocal link never achieves any recognition or search engine popularity. In essence, you are saying, “I want traffic from you…but I really don’t care if you get any from me”
Do Not provide linking data that is just a series of keywords. Take the time necessary to create a good title and site description that you use whenever making link requests.
Do look for a link application or specific link e-mail address when requesting a link exchange. This shows you are considerate and professional and are worthy to be considered for an exchange.
Do use an e-mail address that uses your sites domain name. In addition to being professional, this helps ensure any correspondence does not end up bouncing back from a hotmail or yahoo account that has a full mailbox.
Do use a linking system that allows you to categorize links to some degree. Not only is this better for those you exchange links with, but when you have a nice linking system, many more people will request an exchange with you. This means you spend less time hunting for link exchanges on your own.
Do use a descriptive title when providing your link. The title of the link is generally the anchor text and this element on the page will carry more weight than non-anchored elements. Instead of using your website name or domain name for your title, use a short and clear description that utilizes your best keywords.
Do provide a direct path from your home page to your main link or resource page in lieu of having to go to a site map from the home page and then to the link page. Each level that search engine spiders must dig to find a page equates to a lesser value given to that page. Make your link pages easy to find.
Do inform individuals as to whether you have or have not agreed to place their link. This practice helps avoid any possible confusion about the status of any link request.
A link exchange is only an exchange when both sides agree to the effect the exchange may provide. Do your best to be both a good link requester and link provider. Neither one is more important than the other and neither one works properly without the other.
David Nelmes is webmaster and marketing director for Designing Online, a great source for Home and Garden Decorating and Interior Design Resources.