Reciprocal linking means forming partnerships with other sites who place a link from their Web pages to yours. You then give them a similar link in return. When you look for people to swap links with, make sure that you don’t reduce the quality or content of your own site. You don’t want users to click straight through without reading your content; you want them to take action on your own site rather than have them leave empty handed. One way to stop them from running away too quickly is to create a “Webmasters Resource Page” and link to that page from your homepage. This doesn’t take away from the content on your homepage and the links are just one click away rather than being buried deep within the site, giving value to your partners. In any case, you want to be sure that your site is more than just a page full of links. If your site contains more links than content, it will look like a link farm and it will certainly not be attractive to webmasters, search engines or users.
Picking your partner
Your link partners should be sites your target market will visit. Think about your product and its subject area and brainstorm to determine where people interested in your product might be looking online. For example, if you’re trying to shift your book about blackjack strategy, it makes sense that the people visiting online casinos would make great customers. Online casinos then could be good partners. Identify top-ranked, high quality casino sites and find the email address, telephone number and snail mail address of their webmasters.
You can also identify your competitors and see where they trade links. After all why reinvent the wheel when you can use your competitors hard work! Here are 7 great tips to help you with your reciprocal linking campaign:
- Before you contact webmasters, place a link to their site on your resource page to assure them that you will actually provide a quality link.
- Create a subject line that will encourage them to read your message rather than deleting it – you don’t want them to think you’re spamming them. (Something about their site or product is sure to capture their attention; they will open it, thinking you’re a potential customer.) Hint – subscribe to their ezine and then reply using the ezine subject line as the subject of your reply.
- Begin your message by talking about your visit to their site and what you found interesting about it. Detail your product or service in one line and ask them to exchange links with you.
- Tell them in detail where you have placed their link, include the precise URL, tell them where to find their link on the page and emphasize that it is only one click away from your homepage.
- Tell them that if you don’t hear back from them in a specific number of days, you will consider that to a negative response and that you will remove their link from your site. Give them enough time to respond but don’t leave it open ended.
- Sending a reciprocal link request by email is becoming less and less effective due to Spam filters and the high volume of email traffic received by webmasters of busy sites. Try sending your request on a postcard or better still make a phone call.
- Tell the webmaster how they will benefit from the reciprocal linking arrangement – explain what’s in it for them and use your selling and persuasion skills!