The Internet would not exist if it weren't for keywords. But the second most important element of the Internet involves linking of websites. Think of it -- its called the World Wide Web because all websites are connected to other sites in some way. One website leads to another which leads to another which leads to another.
There is a double-bind involved when you entertain linking to other websites. No one wants to send people away from their site by linking to another website. However, you wont get any links to your website if you dont create any links from your website to others. It is important that search engines see that your website is connected to the rest of the Internet by seeing links coming to your site from other locations.
One-way linksThe most coveted of links are links where a high Page Rank (PR) website links to your site and you are not required to reciprocate. This is a rather unlikely scenario to expect that links from individual business sites will put your link on their site without the expectation of a reciprocal link. However, there are sites that do provide one-way links and they usually fall into the category of directories. This can be helpful to getting started from the standpoint of search engine awareness, but you usually don't experience an increase in traffic from these directories since the competition is quite high for most categories of listings.
When a higher PR page links to a lower-ranked PR page, the higher PR page gives away some of its Page Rank to the lower-ranked page. This is why you will not find too many high-ranked websites willing to make a link of any type to a lower-ranked website.
Reciprocal LinksWhen one website links to another than in turn links back, this is called reciprocal linking. There is a slight problem for the higher-ranked page as already explained when it is linked to a lower PR page. In actuality, however, the reciprocal linking process is usually a wash if the PR is similar for both pages; that is, within 1 PR of each other. The value is in having links offsite that point back to your website so the search engines can see some recognition from others on the Internet. A side benefit is, of course, when someone sees your link and clicks back to your website.
3-Way LinksThis particular linking strategy has come into favor because of the potential canceling effect of reciprocal two-way linking as described above. Site A would link to Site B which would link to Site C. The only caution involved is making sure that your PR is not being diluted by a low PR page. That is, consider:
Page A =3D PR 5
Page B =3D PR 4
Page C =3D PR 0
If Page A links to Page B, this is acceptable. Or if Page B links to Page A, this is also a good link. However, if the requesting webmaster wants to link their Page B to your Page A and offers a reciprocal link to Page C, you (as Page A) are on the losing end of this relationship. Page A is giving away 1 PR level to Page B and getting no PR value from Page C. Consider carefully before agreeing to a 3-way link exchange to be sure the link is advantageous to you or at least balanced.
How to Find Link PartnersThere are a few different linking procedures that will help you create the world wide web effect on your website. In your search for link partners, look at your major keywords and then come up with an associated but not necessarily competitive set of keywords. For example, a web designer might look for web hosting sites or flash programming websites or computer consulting websites. Your associated link partners would be any website that is associated to your business or supportive of your industry without being in direct competition.
If you are determined to locate link partners, you will find yourself spending several hours and days searching with the associated keywords for websites that might be interested in exchanging links with you. The websites that you locate that are good candidates for link exchange will require an initial contact, a response in favor of the linking and then putting their link on your website in return for your link on their site. As you can see, this can take a pretty hefty time commitment to manually set up backlinks for your website.
A reciprocal linking program that automatically creates the links and the responses to link requests is an excellent way of establishing link partners. The one I have used for more than a year for all of my websites is called Link Metro. There is a free version that you can start with but it requires that you create the links on your page manually. However, if you sign up for the Advanced membership, the creation of links is automated. Since I receive up to 200 link requests per week, the time I save is well worth the $20/month subscription fee. A service such as this sets up a channel of communication between potential link exchange partners and gives you the opportunity to either accept or reject the request. You can preview the website before making your decision to determine whether the website meetsyour standards for quality.
The time you spend finding and exchanging links is not only well worth it but a major requirement for search engine recognition. So make the commitment to find link partners that will establish your website in the eyes of the search engines and your visitors.
Copyright © 2012 TAO Consultants, Inc. All rights reserved.
Chesa Keane has been designing and developing web sites with an eye
toward search engine optimization and traffic generation since
1995. TAO Consultants offers online web and SEO courses to help
you make the most of your web business and investment at the
Your homework this week is to come up with a list of associated keywords and seek some linking partners with whom you might want to exchange links. Also, check out Link Metro for their program of link exchanges as well.