Linking strategies for commercial web sites seem to be grabbing a lot of attention these days from marketing experts that claim in-bound links are critical to the search engine rankings.
There is a lot of on-going debate about just how important your links are to top rankings.
I’m sure each of the top search engines has its own view of the subject.
No doubt they give varying importance to this criterion.
Some claim also that the “page rank” (Google) or the importance of the site linking to your site also affects your search engine position.
But there are other reasons why you need links.
They drive traffic to your site outside the traffic you get from the search engines.
Web surfers and those seeking specific information follow links that they believe will help them to find the information they want.
Internet users are pretty impatient folks.
They jump from one site to the next in the click of a mouse, often after only staying at one site for a few seconds.
Obviously, it’s important to have a web site that offers enough good information that visitors will want to spend some time at your business site. Some call this idea “making your site sticky” or difficult to leave.
But before you can “put on your show,” you need to get some viewers to drop by.
Links are one of several methods you have at your disposal to alert your targeted prospects to your existence.
Why would someone want to place your link on his website?
It almost seems counter-intuitive that a web master would desire to send his hard-won visitors away from his own site.
But upon closer investigation, you’ll realize that there are several reasons why a site owner would allow your link on his web site.
First, it actually provides him a way to make money from his own traffic.
Links to other web sites can be monetized either by direct negotiation between the linking partners or through a program like Google Adsense that automatically pays the site owner for the right to place varying ads on his real estate.
Another reason why a web master would allow out-bound links is because he wants to give his customers greater value in their search to find further information in his niche subject.
He may recommend that his viewers follow a particular link to read “further information on the subject.”
That type of referral wins points with the web master because it provides a fast and convenient way for viewers to see further details about things that are of importance to them at that moment.
Those who click away on the link can simply hit their browser’s “Back” button to return to the original web site if they desire.
Also, a good strategy if you’re the one sending visitors away is to have the out-bound link open in a new browser window.
If you do that, your own web site window will remain open but minimized “underneath” the new site so that the surfer will be taken back to your site when he clicks out of the new window.
Another reason why links are granted is that, by having links to other related and relevant sites, your own web site is associated with your links and thereby draws a certain amount of credibility and usefulness from that resource.
Just be sure you want that association and that it is a relevant one that will add to, rather than distract from, your own purposes.
The title of this post mentions “reciprocal” links.
These are links that are specifically set up between two partners that agree to link back and forth with each other.
In other words, the partners agree: I’ll put your out-bound link on my site if you’ll put my out-bound link on your site.
Why would someone want a reciprocal link? For the same reasons we stated above: they drive traffic back and forth between relevant sites, they provide added value to the viewers in a particular niche, they may increase search engine rankings and page rank, and can also provide a source of income for the site owner.
Getting reciprocal (which by definition means “mutual, given or felt by each toward the other”) links is a strategy that you may want to employ in your own business.
But I must warn you about two things: many web site owners don’t understand the value of this strategy and therefore won’t be anxious to trade links. Also, a higher ranking site that gets lots of traffic may not want to trade links with you if your site isn’t similarly rated.
Some feel that your search engine ranking (Google’s in particular) loses some of its importance as your site shares its “page rank” with lesser sites.
There are even high-traffic web sites that sell a link from their site for a monthly fee — that’s how important they feel their ranking is and they have figured out a way to capitalize on their good fortune.
Be aware that there is software that has come onto the market that purports to assist you in automating your reciprocal linking strategy.
I haven’t given that resource a try yet.
Maybe you have and would like to share your experience with it here.
Why not post your comments?
To your online business success,