The second part will provide you with some specific tips to put the practice into use for maximum benefit.
There are two reasons for using link trading, both of which are aimed at increasing traffic to your web site.
The first reason is to get traffic through clicks from a link placed on another web site which has a similar or related appeal so that people who visit that site may also wish to know what you have to offer.
The second reason is to increase the link popularity rating which some engines use in ranking a site’s popularity.
The theory, at least, is that the more popular your site is (i.e. # of links), the higher it will rank in the listings when someone does a search on your site’s keywords.
The flaw in the practice is that it is too easy to create a “Links Page” where you place all the out-going links that you have agreed to exchange, so that any particular link gets lost in the sheer number of links on that page.
And even if you don’t fall into this easy-way-out practice, there’s a very good chance that people who are interested in publishing YOUR link on their web site are doing exactly this. So, your link gets lost in a list and human visitors hardly, if ever, click on those links.
Apart from that, the folks who run search engines are not quite as dumb as their robots which collect all these links. Sooner or later they, too, will recognize this attempt to manipulate their ranking systems and will take steps to account for this abuse of their systems.
In the end you go to a lot of time and effort to achieve little or nothing.
Don’t fool anyone
One of my guiding principles is that it is a poor practice to engage in any practice which is aimed at fooling anyone or anything — even if it is a dumb robot.
Based on this principle I started applying a practice at www.affiliate- master.com which I will now share with you, but before I do, you may be interested in knowing that at the beginning of the period when I started this practice the site’s Alexa 3 month average ranking stood at 726,943 (September 2004). By November that same average had climbed to 251,863.
It’s pretty obvious that something was working well over that period. So how do I modify link trading? Very simply put: Don’t trade links — trade pages.
When you do this, there are three elements you have within your control:
A link-in page
A landing page
A link-out page
The link-in Page:
Write an article, which offers some practical usable information that ties into the theme of your web site and offer this article to other webmasters to use on their sites as a content page.
Include a link to your site in your article so that anyone reading it can easily follow on and come to see what else you have to offer.
If you’ve done a good job of writing your article (see Make Your Content Pre Sell), a certain number of people who read this article on the exchange site will come to visit you.
The search engines will also recognize the link and record it, along with an eventual recognition that the link is based on some content in the web site rather than just a list of links.
The Landing Page
This is a page where you receive the link-in to your site from the article you’ve written. It should pick up where the link-in page left off and continue to lead your reader to a desired response on your site.
The Link-out Page
At the same time as you have an article to offer for exchange, you will publish a similar article which was provided by the person who published your page, which will link back to their site.
You will fine tune that article a bit, to optimize it for keyword density, appearance etc., and when you publish it, submit it to the search engines as a content page that will bring traffic directly to your web site.
Now you have created a triple whammy out of the exchange process.
Not only have to got people coming to your site being pre-sold on doing so by your own article, you have a solid landing place for your incoming traffic, and you have a new content page written at no cost to you by your exchange partner which you have catalogued in the search engines.
Link trading now can work as it should!
Of course it will take some extra effort, but perhaps not as much as you might fear and the results will be worthwhile and lasting.
I have some tips on how to prepare and optimize your pages in Part II of Link Trading.
Jack Feka had over 20 years experience in Public Relations, communications and international publications prior to starting a successful retail tire distribution center in South America. Subsequently he founded Affiliate-Master.com in 2000. He may be contacted through Affiliate-Master.com’s contact page.
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