Link Popularity Pitfalls

As we all know Google uses their PageRank technology to measure link popularity by counting the number of inbound links to your web pages, and it is one of the many factors influencing your ranking. Most website owners do not utilize properly what PageRank they already have. Their linking campaigns could be in vain if they let a large number of outbound links drain their existing PageRank. If their site were a bucket it would be full of holes, to illustrate this point, if you had a large number of outbound links, which are not reciprocated it would reduce your overall PageRank. Be diligent in identifying sites that are no longer linking back to you anymore. Also keep in mind putting more than 50 outbound links on any page is not advisable. Also be wary of sites that link to you from pages with more than 50 outbound links. Google's PagerRank is based on incoming links, but not only on the number of them. Instead PageRank is also based on the PageRank of the page on which your link is placed. For example a link to your site could be more valuable from a PR4 page with no other links than a link from a page with PR5 and 60 other links.

The factors influecing Google PageRank

The fact is that nearly half of your PageRank comes from within your site. As long as you have more than one page, and they are well linked you should be getting at least roughly 49% of your PageRank from internal links. If your site is particularly full of holes it may be less, but still substantial, and if you have plugged all your holes it will be more. PageRank is yours to control, and if it is targeted correctly it will help you considerably. Make sure you have a sitemap and all pages on your website are linked together with keyword rich link text instead of images.

Use common sense and careful language when asking for reciprocal links

Here are some helpful tips for requesting reciprocal links to keep in mind when you E-Mail or otherwise contact webmasters to ask to trade reciprocal links, I've have learned you usually get one shot to make a good impression. Over time I received some valuable feedback from other webmasters in assisting me on how to be requesting links, and since we are focusing on building proper links exchange channels, I would like to share this with our readers.

First and foremost do not forget to mention your own web address in the message. Yes, I have received letters about how I should reciprocate a link to a site and the Webmaster forgot the address. Likewise, do not forget to mention your own website's name. Don't forget to describe it either. You don't have to write a book, just give a few sentences or a paragraph summarizing your website's content.

Ensure you take a good look over the site you wish to link to you, be familiar with it's content and mention some of the content in your request for linkage. Identify the common theme between the sites. If the site has a "Submit your URL" page, ensure that you use it and read the guidelines for submission carefully.

If you are sending an attachment, please ensure they are small in size, animated banners or code of any kind this is unusable in a reciprocal link campaign. Starting an email with an attachment of any size is no introduction and ultimately could deter the Webmaster from ever responding to your request. Attachments are not the way to start a conversation.

Being too agressive and persistent could work against you

Ask the Webmaster if they would like your complete package of reciprocal link codes and graphics before you send such information Do not forget to let the Webmaster know how they can add a link to your website and make the process as simple as possible. With your first correspondence, provide them with some of the HTML that they can place on their website, or on your own website. After sending your first request and they do not respond within 24 hours, do not ask again. Being too persistent will generally put webmasters off trading reciprocal links, be patient, I found that webmasters usually do respond within a one-week time span, if not then write a follow-up. You need a way to record which sites you have asked for reciprocal links to avoid this problem, I have used an Excel spreadsheet to record such information. Remember finding good quality links are important so you don not want to miss an opportunity by being too aggressive.

Make your reciprocal exchange request stand out

Most of what I have written seems to be common sense, but starting out with a good code of conduct and etiquette can only improve your chances of obtaining reciprocal links. Here is an example of a well-structured template used for reciprocal link exchange.

Greetings [Name],

I visited your web site, [Web Site Name Here] and found some great information regarding [Insert Subject Topic Here].

[If you have linked to the other site already, mention it here and give the URL of the link - ask them to approve your link to them or to recommend editing suggestions - DO NOT threaten to remove their link if they don't respond in x days - these kinds of notes usually end up being deleted]

I thought you might be interested to know that we have a web site dedicated to [Your Site Topic - special points of interest].

We were hoping that you might consider linking to us and invite you to review our site at your convenience. [Depending on situation, insert further offer of reciprocal linking, banner impressions or exchange of services here]

If you determine that a link to our site is appropriate, please add it at your discretion, or might we suggest the following link and description: [Your site name and URL] - [Your site description - keep it brief, focused and not too much hype]

If you'd like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact us at [Your contact details].

Regards, [Full official signature lines here]

Keeping an eye on your inbound links

Now that you have started exchanging links, you will want to keep tabs on your inbound links. You need to visit the sites that accepted your link request. Check their link pages to make sure your link is properly placed with keyword rich link text. You also have to start checking the search engines to see if they indexed those pages where your links are placed.

To do so, I am providing you with link search commands on some of the major search engines, allowing you to view backlinks to your website:

Go to AltaVista, Google and type in the following information:

Go to Inktomi (AOL, HotBot, iWon, MSN) and type in the following information: INSERT URL HERE

Go to AllTheWeb, Lycos (for AllTheWeb results only) and type in the following information:

Shelley Murphy

Shelley is a freelance writier for Web-based e-zines for the past 5 years focusing on the evolution of technology. Her primary interest is in Search Engine Optimization continuing to educate small to medium sizes companies on the importance of marketing businesses for the web world.

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