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Not All Links Are Created Equal

Not All Links Are Created Equal

Every wise webmaster knows the more links you have to your site, the more traffic you'll get - so increasing the number of links to his site, really is a webmaster's number one promotional priority. However a lot of webmasters get so enmeshed in building up the number of links to their sites, that they forget all links are not created equal - some links are far more valuable than others.

It is absolutely essential to your success that you not only build up the number of links to your site, but also be fully aware of how to evaluate the worth of each link. This lets you can concentrate your efforts on getting the most effective links to your site, and guarantees that you are getting a fair deal in any reciprocal linking arrangements.

Here's a list of factors you should consider when assessing the value of a particular link:

  • Permanent. A permanent link to your site is far more valuable than one that is removed after a few days (or even hours, in the case of some automated Free-For-All links pages).
  • Placement. A link to your site from the front page (or even one of the internal pages) from a high traffic site, especially one of the top few thousand web sites, is far more valuable than a zillion links from people's personal home pages.
  • Relevance. Ideally the link to you should be on a page (or better yet a whole site) devoted to the same or a closely related topic to your own. For example, all things being equal, a link to your golfing store from a golf tips site is much more likely to produce results than from an auto, finance or games site.
  • Descriptive. A link that explains your site and entices a person to click, will get far more traffic (and better quality, more interested visitors) than a non-descriptive link. Compare for example: "Joe's Golf Store" versus "Joe's Golf Store - Tour quality golf clubs at discount prices, complete guide to every golf course in the USA and Canada, and free pro golfing tips"
  • Low Competition. A link that is buried among 500 others on the same page will not get many clicks. A listing on a page which also lists 10 or 20 direct competitors (example: other golf stores selling to the same market), is less valuable than being "exclusive" in your particular category (example: being the only golf store on a list of resources for golfers).
  • Context. Links usually work better if place in some kind of related context like an article for example. Be prepared to help out people placing your links in a context that works by providing free articles, which explain your topic (not the same as blatant self-promotional!) or simply being prepared to answer questions.
So the next question is how to build up the number of high quality links to your site - here's a few ideas to get you started:
  • Swap links with others sites. Every link swap you set up will eat up a slice of your time - so concentrate on finding sites where it's clear the link will be valuable to you. Be polite, add your link to them before you approach them, and don't be too picky if it's you who is doing the approaching (just don't ask for a link if you're going to make a bunch of rules).
  • Evaluate link requests. If you have a links page (and probably if you don't) and a reasonable amount of traffic - you will undoubtedly get link swap requests from other webmasters. Take a moment to look at their site and their links page before deciding if it's a good deal for you.
  • Add a "link to us page". Create a page on your site, which includes information on how (detailed instructions), and why, to link to your site. Make it easy, make it valuable to other webmasters (by for example giving them free content), and over time the number of links to you will grow.
  • Pay for links. Start your own affiliate program and pay other sites to link to you. You can pay them a percentage of the sales they generate for you, or for each visitor they send. The nice thing about this is if you make your program reasonably flexible and the commissions in line with your goals, then affiliates will figure out ways to send you the kind of traffic you want.
  • Create your own free downloadable information product (like eBooks or software for example). Make sure it ties in with the main theme of your site - is valuable to users - and then list it at every shareware and freeware directory you can find (there are literally hundreds of these). Most will link directly to the downloadable file - but many will also add a free permanent link to your home page (or your page about the product). It's worth knowing that some shareware and freeware sites like http://www.zdnet.com/downloads/ and http://download.cnet.com/ have quite incredible amounts of traffic.
Whichever strategies you use to build up links to your site, always be sure that the time you put into establishing each link is in balance with the value of that link. Keep things in proportion, use your knowledge of "link value" to your advantage, and get linked for mega traffic!


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