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What’s all this hype about links?

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What’s all the talk about links we hear about? Reciprocal links?
Non-reciprocal links? Targeted links? Link Popularity? I need
links. You should have links. What about the dead links? I don’t
have enough links! Ever since I joined the link farm, I dropped
out of the search engines! Well, you musn’t fret; we’re going to
shed the light on all theses different links. You’ll learn the
different types, how to get them, how to keep them and how to
keep them current.

Let’s start with some definitions.

Reciprocal Link (Two-way link): When you link to a web site and
that web site links back to you, you have one reciprocal link.
Reciprocal links need to be related to your web site’s subject
matter. For example, if your web site sells Milk, then links
from other sites that sell milk products. Sites about dairy
products would also be good reciprocal linking candidates.
While, a link from say a tobacco company would not be
recommended. Your reciprocal links need to be related to your
web site’s main keyword phrase or subject matter.

Non Reciprocal Link (One-way): These links are the most
beneficial and also can be the hardest to obtain. Links from
search engines or directories are a form of a non-reciprocal
linking. However, the links that hold the most weight with the
search engines are from other relevant web sites, sites we have
not linked to. When a dairy site links to your milk site because
they feel your site is of value to their visitors, it is the
ultimate compliment and also holds more weight in the search
engines. The best way to get this type of link, is to have
unique content that is well written. Your site needs to look
professional and sound professional. Related sites will be eager
to link to you because you have quality, relevant content.

Targeted Links: Targeted links are just what they sound like,
links that are related to your sites main subject matter. For
example, if you have a site devoted to music then links from
other music sites or music stores are good, while links from a
site specializing in window blinds are not so good.

Text Links: Text links are simply that, text links. Text links
are very important as a search engine can follow a text link and
catalog it. It’s like a vote for your site.

Graphical Links: Graphic links, such as logos and banners, may
look great and attract visitors, but they cannot be read by
search engines and are rarely followed by them. While having a
graphical link, such as a logo, can give you some recognition
and look professional, it must be well made and identifiable.
Furthermore, you should always add alt* tags to the graphic html
code, as alt tags help with content and keyword density. A text
link directly below the graphic for the search engines to follow
should be included when ever possible.

* (An alt tag or alternate text is an attribute added to the
image tag in html. It is designed to give a text example of what
the image is for people browsing without image support, some
search engines count this as part of the page content.)

Links Page: This is very important. Your links page needs to fit
into your site. It should have the same look and feel as the
rest of your pages. Unless you only have five or ten links on
your link page, you will need to have categories and even
sub-categories for extensive link pages. It’s important to keep
the number of links per page as low as possible and never over
100 links.

Adding a small form for visitors to suggest links can be a nice
feature and I recommend it, but it also can lead to a lot of
off-target links suggestions.

When exchanging links, you will have to show the other site
owners where their link is placed on your site. Therefore,
you’ll want to have the links page well laid out and visually

Dead Links: This is really a maintenance issue, sites go
off-line, from time to time page addresses change, or the site
changes owners and the content changes. It is important to check
your links often to ensure you don’t have a page full of dead
links or links that have changed and now point to unrelated
content. If you don’t keep up on this task, you will soon have a
page full of dead links and visitors wont come back to use it.
Search engines also frown on pages with too many dead links.

Link Farms: Link farms should be avoided; adding your site to
one can cause you to loose popularity or have a negative effect
on your Page Rank, joining one and displaying their links on
your site can get you banned from the most important search
engines. With 90% of web traffic originating from only a hand
full of search engines, this is something you don’t want to
happen. It is almost impossible to reverse and it can take you
out of the search engines for up to a year or more. Staying away
from places that guarantee hundreds or thousands of links by
filling out a form.

Links should be arranged one at a time by contacting the desired
site owner, by e-mail or more prefferrably by phone, and
notifying them that you want to exchange links. This is the best
way to do it, any short cuts or get link quick schemes can lead
to trouble as soon as the search engines crawl your site.

Links are very important to any site that wants to rank highly
in the top search engine results. The more targeted links you
have pointing to your site, the more important your site is to
the search engines. It’s like a voting system. If 100 sites
think your content is worth linking to, then search engines like
Google will take notice. However, if 10,000 related sites link
to you, then search engines will treat you like a king and you
will be on the A list for sure.


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  • Posted On May 22, 2006
  • Published articles 283513

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