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Friday, January 27, 2006

Why Reciprocal Linking Works For Promoting Your Website

Why Reciprocal Linking Works For Promoting Your Website

Article by Dirk Johnson,

The first question you have to ask and answer about whether to embark on a reciprocal link exchange program for your website is "why". After all, it's work, time and money. It has to stand up to business analysis. I've been doing reciprocal linking for websites since 1996. In that time, I've seen this work evolve from one that was primarily a way for niche interest, hobbyist-oriented sites to reach out to each other, to one that is now a business function, often driven by the need for quality traffic exchange, and good search engine results.

Web Promotion Before Google

Before Google came along and put the focus on link popularity, only the savviest businesses were running link directories and pursuing links with other relevant sites. Most businesses ignored reciprocal linking.

The prevailing wisdom was that a business website should not link out to anyone else, if they could help it. The concept was that you should capture visitors, hold them hostage, and never, ever cooperate with anybody else. This has been proven wrong.

What's interesting, though, is that the purpose and linking methods that worked well for those niche sites in the pre-Google days still work well today. It is important to keep this in focus, as there are now a lot of people out there who are trying to do this work using misguided methods, for misguided reasons.

Why Link?

First and foremost, linking should be pursued as a branding function of your business. If other websites that are relevant to your business are running link directories, and offering to list yours for free, then it makes sense to get your site listed. In as many of them as possible. That is just basic Common Sense 101.

In order to get these links, the accepted protocol is to first list the other site on your site, then make the request for a link, using the proper method of submission (via email or online form, if one is provided). This work is specifically termed "directory-to-directory reciprocal linking".

"Linking should be pursued as a branding function of your business."

Before people started playing games with PageRank and Alexa rankings, and other tangential matters related to linking, most linking took place between sites within relevant realms of interest. Asking for links outside of your realm was not only rude, but it was almost always a waste of time. Relevancy was the primary criteria, and as long as there was some sound reason for the exchange, and each webmaster approved of the other's site, it was done. It's a private exchange between two willing parties, and it should not be judged by others.

The Linking Challenge

The challenge here is that there is a lot of data management work involved in managing directory-to-directory reciprocal link exchanges. So when search engines started to reward sites that had links, the search engine optimization (SEO) crowd, which had largely ignored linking, suddenly needed them in order to succeed.

The SEO crowd began to devise all manner of strategies that were designed to allow them to get the results they wanted, but with as little linking work as possible. We've seen theories that only links from pages with PageRank (PR) 4 and higher were "worthwhile". People claimed that un-reciprocated links were "hurting" your rankings through "PR-leakage", a concept that has been proven to have no merit. There's even more bizarre stuff out there, but you get the idea.

Over time, it is becoming clear that the websites that have ignored all of these complex theories and still treat linking as a branding function of the business, whereby they simply continue to pursue relevant links with quality sites, are still doing the best with the search engines. I see this all the time. Traditional linking with quality relevant sites works. Sites that link with quality sites relevant to the same industry get the double benefit of having their sites listed in as many relevant locations as possible, thus getting quality traffic directly from the links, while enjoying considerable search engine benefits.

The Long Term Commitment and Payoff

Treat this work as a branding function of your business. One that never ends. Commit to it, with tools, a budget, and dedicated human resources that will do it properly. Look at it as a long term necessity that really does pay dividends.

It may not be the easiest thing to manage, but many website owners consider reciprocal linking to be the single most cost-effective marketing investment that they have made in their sites. There are other ways to get links to your site, such as the outright purchase of links, or the pursuit of content citations back to your site. But on a cost per link basis, directory-to-directory reciprocal linking is a very favorable investment, when done properly.

Google has risen to the top of the search engine world, in a large part because their algorithm that takes linking into account. It is highly unlikely that they will turn their back on it, and recent indexing changes at Google have only further supported traditional, honest linking practices.

On a more fundamental level, linking is the very foundation of HTML. Which stands for Hypertext Markup Language. The term Hypertext specifically refers to text that is linked and "active". That is, you can click on it in an HTML browser, and the browser will take you to that location on the World Wide Web. The attraction of text-based linking was the founding reason behind HTML and the World Wide Web. Prior to that, people using the Internet had to enter their destinations manually using arcane codes. HTML and browsers made it easy to navigate the Web.

"Traditional linking with quality relevant sites works."

It's very basic, really. The World Wide Web is a new and unique medium. It is a computer network, based entirely on links between pages. The more links you have, the more opportunities you have for people to visit your website. Links are literally the currency of the World Wide Web.

All of this comes down to choices. As it stands right now, those who make no effort to link their sites in some way will only continue to fall further behind their competitors. Since directory-to-directory reciprocal linking is the most cost effective way to get this done, then it should be very high on your list of necessary tasks, if you are serious about promoting a commercial website. It goes with the territory.

Dirk Johnson has been managing link campaigns since the mid-1990s, and writes for various sources on web promotion and linking. His advice and commentary is regarded as "expert through experience." Dirk's approach to linking has been more traditional in scope, treating it as a branding function, and not a search engine optimization function. He operates

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Article Writing for Google Links

Take Advantage Of Google's Linking Algorithm To Maximize Links To Your Site

Links to your site are one of the key components of Google's PageRank technology. With a high page rank, you get higher position on the search engine results page, resulting in more visitors to your site and improving your chances of earning a living online.

As the founder of, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that writing articles results in a ton of links to your site. Of course it does.

But there's a trick to it.

Many of the internet marketers who submit free reprint articles go about it all wrong. They fail to take advantage of Google's linking algorithm and they lose some of the power of their articles.

What is Google's linking algorithm? 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the googlebots are spidering the web, seeking out content, classifying and indexing the billions of web pages available to web surfers.

This results in a standard "Bell Curve" of links to your article around the web. A few links begin to appear within a few days, rising to a peak at about 8-10 weeks, and then tapering off over time. That's the Google linking algorithm at work.

Over time, Google eliminates many of the links generated by a given article. Some call this the Google "Duplicate Link" penalty. I wouldn't call it a penalty. It's just the way things work on the web. And with a clever approach, you can take advantage of it.

You can keep your links high using the Article Marketer Bonanza approach. Our authors use it all the time. That isn't to say that you can only use it if you're an subscriber. I'm giving you the approach here and now, absolutely free. You can use the Article Marketer Bonanza approach if you use, Article Announcer, or even if you submit your articles manually.

What is the Article Marketer Bonanza approach?
The Article Marketer Bonanza approach keeps your links high by taking advantage of the Google linking algorithm. Google wants fresh content and they begin to "penalize" (although I still wouldn't call it a penalty) you when your content becomes stale. With the Article Marketer Bonanza approach, you never rely on stale links to drive new traffic.

Article marketing is just like every other form of advertising. Coca-Cola and McDonald's don’t run just one television commercial and expect a continuing stream of customers to buy their products. Of course, they have the benefit of zillions of dollars and the resources at their disposal to continually buy new commercials.

Your resources are a bit more limited. You have less money and fewer people. Time is of the essence. That's what makes the Article Marketer Bonanza approach so successful.

Most internet marketers can produce a quality article in about an hour (it took me exactly 27 minutes to write this one.) That includes spell checking and everything. But let's say it'll take you more than twice as long to write 500-700 words on your favorite topic.

Write a few articles. How many? Let's say you write 3 articles. If you write them and submit them all today, Google's linking algorithm will give you a few links over the next couple of days, a lot of links over the next 8-10 weeks, and then they'll taper off. It's like turning off the faucet.

The Article Marketer Bonanza Approach – Step by Step:

Bonanza Step 1: Submit one of your articles today. This allows the algorithm to begin working. Watch your links increase.

Bonanza Step 2: Submit the second article next week. Google goes to work on that one. You just added several new links, and you're not near the peak yet. Now you've got two articles climbing the charts.

Bonanza Step 3: Submit the third article the following week. Again, Google gets busy. More links on top of the growing links from article two, which have been added to the large number of links that are already pointed at article one. You've set things in motion.

Bonanza Step 4: Ok, it's been three weeks, it's time to write a few more articles. Set aside a few hours and capture your wisdom on paper.

Bonanza Step 5: Submit your articles, one per week, over the next three weeks. You've now got six articles in the market place, and you haven't yet reached the peak. Your link count is going crazy.

Bonanza Step 6: It's now week 10. Your first article is dropping off the charts as Google "settles in" on the links it'll keep. That's ok because article 2 and 3 are holding your link count high, and you've got three more climbing the charts.

Bonanza Step 7: That's all there is to it. You keep submitting new content and Google rewards you with a permanently high link count. You can keep this going indefinitely. Your link count will never drop.

Depending on how prolific you are as an author, you could submit your articles faster – two or three per week. If you love writing and you write articles on several topics, you could submit new articles every day. You'll always have new fresh content bringing new links to your site