Link Exchange – how to build your directory of networked sites
Here are some more tips on how to build your link exchange program. In a previous post (listed in the “related” section) I made a few preliminary statements about how link exchange can boost online visibility – here are a few more tips I hope you’ll find useful.
I like to refer to each project as a directory – what we are actually doing is building a directory of web sites that are all in theme and related to each other but not in direct competition. Before any automation can be used I spend a great deal of time and effort in defining just who I want to look up and seek cooperation from.
Each and every web site has a history and a different story to tell. I need to read it and understand where that web site is coming from and where it wants to go:
- Who is the competition ?
- Which web sites are best fit to contact ?
- Which keywords are most appropriate to identify potential link partners ?
It’s normally a joint effort to identify related areas of interest (non competing businesses) – that’s the starting point. Then I venture off in defining the keywords that I need to use to search the web for link partners. You’ll want to find web sites that identify themselves with queries like:
- “add link” + your keywords
- “add a link” + your keywords
- “add your link” + your keywords
- “add site” + your keywords
- “add a site” + your keywords
- “add your site” + your keywords
- “add URL” + your keywords
- “add a URL” + your keywords
- “add your URL” + your keywords
- “add website” + your keywords
- “add a website” + your keywords
- “add your website” + your keywords
You might find it difficult to come up with some good theme related keywords: in this case try using the Google Keywords Tool where you can use the site related option to identify new keywords and increase your reach.
Once you have a preliminary short list of keywords you can start exploring the web and use software (SEO Tools) that will help you identify sites closely related to yours (SEO software and tools are listed in the related section).
This is certainly the most important aspect of the entire effort so I can only encourage you to work hard on these aspects.
Now a few tips on how to build a link directory.
- Organize links in short content rich pages – every link should have a nice description of the proposed web site. Don’t make endless web pages with links by the dozen one after another and no description: nobody will look at them, nobody will use these pages, they are completely useless.
- Each page should have no more than 20 links
- Create personalized TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tags – each page will focus on a limited number of keywords – use them in your title tag and make a nice meta description as well. This will help the pages rank well for those niche keywords.
This is a lot of hard work, be prepared to put hours and hours of effort into this activity or don’t do it at all.
Depending on your web site age and current level of traffic yoru directory pages will get indexed and generate traffic. New users will find your site and take note of it – even if they were looking for something slightly different …
There are some additional aspects you shouldn’t neglect that concern your potential link partners – you want to make it easy and fast to add your link to their website. Write a how to page where you explain how your directory is organized and what steps are required to get listed in your directory. Remember we are all in a hurry on the web, so KISS
Make sure TITLE and DESCRIPTION of your “how to” page include those keywords I listed previously (add your link, add URL, etc.)
You’ll also need to prepare links and descriptions to reciprocate you link. Avoid pointing them all to your home page. Use these links to bring users as close as possible to the content they are seeking. This isn’t just a link it’s a business opportunity if you use it properly. This also helps your deep linking factor.
In all this there was never any talk about Page Rank or Link Popularity – if you can build something that will draw the attention of the user it will certainly be noticed by the search engines.