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Link Exchanging Basics
By: Mjmls

When it comes to Website promotion, gaining quality links is important. However, many people have a different idea of what defines a Quality link. Here I have listed the link considerations used by Mjmls.com when a suggestion is made to the Directory.

Utilize Foresight, Not Hindsight, When Link Exchanging:

Regardless of the premise behind a link exchange, webmasters are essentially sharing traffic. This is done either directly with physical clicks or indirectly through search engine recognition. While search engine recognition seems to be the major motive of most exchanges, using foresight should prominent.

There are a variety of promotional based information sources the illustrate using the Google toolbar to demonstrate how popular the Website is on the internet. While this is a good idea to get an idea of popularity, it is using hindsight. This rates past efforts the developers have implemented. However, low PR does not mean that Website is unworthy.

The Website may quickly gain recognition. This would make the link exchange valuable or equal in the future. How do use foresight? Mjmls utilizes these standards when considering an addition to the Directory:

1. What is the owner’s Email or IP address? Get the owner or developers Email address and IP address or both. Once this information is obtained, compare it to known spam lists. Why? Mjmls considers Website that use Spam, “unsolicited advertising,” as a poor candidate to trade links and not a good place to send people and search engines. There are no excuses for spam. It wastes valuable time of consumers, costs online businesses thousands of dollars, slows down the performance of servers, and creates a poor experience for everyone.

The website is doomed to eventually be closed down, appear in Spam Blacklists, and may decrease the value of linking websites both by search engines and physical users. Basically, this is not the type of person that should be endorsed by an honest developer.

2. Analyze the content of the Website. Is there something unique? A unique website that offers resources to users will be bound to succeed. The website will gain recognition over time because of the resources that are offered. However, keep in mind that Websites change frequently. If a link was made to a Website, and the site changed without notice, delete the link and add the user to a personal ban list. A good marketing campaign will keep accurate records of where the site is being promoted.

In contrast, if it contains plagiarized pages with sponsor ads making up a major portion of the content, or prominently displayed over and above the page copy, the site may be a poor candidate to include in a link exchange. Why? The designer’s motives are clear. They are not attempting to offer anything to users. They simply are trying to create a, “cash cow”. The content will change, the url will probably become blacklisted and eventually the pages that linked to this website will contain a dead link.

If a change is made to the content of the Website, rendering the site irrelevant to previous promotions, or the URL has changed, the person behind the marketing should immediately notify everyone that needs to update the links or advertisements on their Website. If this is not done, the person marketing the Website simply does not care about you or your Website. Add his or her IP Address, Email Address, and known URLs to your personal Ban List. Unless a formal apology is received in the future, this person should be avoided. A computer makes managing a marketing campaign extremely easy, especially if the computer has a database application such as Microsoft Access. Therefore, the only reason not to notify linking sites is that the necessary time was not taken when developing the marketing campaign, or they are ignorant to you and your visitors.

Check all links at least every quarter (3 months).

3. Does the company or entrepreneur have an active promotional campaign?

Where are links to the Website found? Scout the internet for the Website. Links are sure to appear on irrelevant Webpages with a poor description and anchor text, as anyone can add a link to their site with a custom name and description, but there should be quality links too. How and where the website is advertised will reveal the type of promotional efforts being implemented. Is the Website featured in useful directories with strict listing policies or directories that charge a fee? This would indicate that the developer is active in seeking quality leads rather than herds of traffic that are not interested in his or her Website.

Analyze the description and anchor text (usually a title) that is being suggested. This will indicate how much they truly care about their Website and the traffic that visits. If the description and title are packed with keywords, they are attempting to spam the search engines. Once again, it is suggested to avoid linking with these types of people.

An active and quality linking campaign would require thought. A uniform title and description should be used. This title and description should be concise and to the point. It should not include phrasing such as: the best place on the web, or the number one place in the world, etc… The title and description should contain some keywords, after all, these are words that describe the Website.

Tip: When a request is presented, read the title and description suggested and attempt to envision the site before opening the page in a browser. Then visit the page while keeping the title and description in mind. In the majority of cases, opening the page will not even be necessary. Mjmls declines three out of four free submissions from reading the title and description while considering the category the Website was suggested. However, do not get fooled by a well written title and description. Open the page and surf around. In some cases, the Website is not remotely close to the impression that is provided from the title and description. Regardless of how many visitors will actually see the link, remember they will not be happy clicking on deceptive links with a poor description.

How Well is the Website Maintained

Before referring people and search engines to another website, take a close look at how well the site is monitored. Scan for broken links. A developer only needs to devote a couple hours out of his or her week to look for and remove broken links. Here is a free and resourceful utility that allows anyone to surf any Website while revealing dead or questionable links (double check questionable links): http://www.poisontooth.com/linkcheck/.

If you are finding an abundance of broken and deceptive links, this indicates that there is a lack of maintenance to the Website. The developer has lost interest or simply does not care if his or her visitors are clicking on broken links. Avoid linking to this Website all together.

Summing Up

As most will discover, an active and quality linking campaign is not easy. Allocate a predetermined amount of time to link development. It may take several months to several years to reap the benefits of a linking campaign. Keep in mind, the benefits of a good linking campaign generally surpasses all other promotional efforts. In addition, it is probably the most affordable alternative that offers long-term rewards. By planning, monitoring, and being proactive in a linking campaign, your Website will gain significant recognition. If your suggestions are being declined, don’t get discouraged. Try and figure out why it is being declined so often. Look for typo’s in the text. Read the title and description. Ensure that keywords are not being overly used. Most importantly, read the terms of linking if applicable.

About the Author

Mjmls provides open-source advertising solutions through three unique domains.
Article Forums: http://forums.mjmls.com/
Online Classifieds: http://www.mjmls.com/
Website Directory: http://links.mjmls.com/

About Poison Tooth:
If you're interested in flora desktop pictures, visit Shades Of Insanity - while you're there, take note that every single graphic request being made is dynamically routed to a different server. This project/product is unreleased and works with Apache/PHP/MySQL to provide low bandwidth hosts a way to publish graphic intensive sites without eating up bandwidth. Images and requests are transfered automatically to remote servers on-the-fly. The web developer simply develops - the program takes care of everything else.

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