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Online Promotion & Marketing:

The Basics of Asking for a Reciprocal Link
By: David Bell

Asking another webmaster for a reciprocal link is standard practice on the Internet. Webmasters have been asking other webmasters for reciprocal links since the beginnings of the Internet. The very nature of the web is linking websites to one another. It is of even higher importance, now that AltaVista and others have changed their ranking algorithms.
If a webmaster considers your email spam, then he can report you. If your emails are unique, without commercials, and are personalized with unique personal information about the webmaster's web site that you are emailing, then it would be hard to call your email spam.
All webmasters must be responsible in their asking for reciprocal links. This includes following simple rules and guidelines in choosing web sites to include in your link directory.
Organizing a Tightly-Themed Vertical Link Directory
Reciprocal links do increase your search engine positioning if used properly.Tightly-Themed Link Directories get high ratings from search engine robots, but only if they are true resources of organized knowledge. Search engines are getting very smart in their query result rankings. They include all kinds of advanced calculations pertaining to how the links point to you and away from you. They can include keywords in their algorithms, and now they know how tightly linked your Themes or subjects are. Don't try to fool them into better positioning by including a lot of web sites that are outside your web site's real Themes in your Link Directory.
Your Link Directory's Themes must match the Themes of your web site. You must not let your zeal to email, and perhaps get a reciprocal link overpower your need to create a true web resource. You don't want to create a directory that includes all the knowledge of mankind and also sounds like a soft drink. You should be happy with organizing a tightly Themed Vertical Link Directory. Be the best in your area, linking only sites that relate to you.
A smaller, tightly-themed Link Directory will grow much faster than a diluted, loosely-themed, large bulky one. Your web site's traffic will quickly increase, not only with visitors from your Reciprocal Link partners but will also increase from Search Engine visitors, once their robots quickly find your Link Directory pages through your Link Partners!
Email General Guidelines
If you are including web sites in your Link Directory just because you want to send an email and possibly get a link, then you are spamming in mind and spirit. The webmaster who receives this kind of email is not a happy camper. He or she is proud of his achievements in creating traffic to his site over the last few years, perhaps millions of hits every month, only to receive an email asking him to link to a web site that in no way can remotely match his web site or be useful for his visitors. This is spam. Remember the phrase reciprocal links? Please change it to Reciprocal Themed Links. This is important !
DO NOT commercialize your email in any way.
It shouldn't look like spam or people will think it is. Do not include ANY links in your email signature area except links to your web site. Keep it short and to the point. Ask for a reciprocal link and that's it.
This message should only be a few lines, and not a long narrative with rules and guidelines. Save that for your information on your link directory. Use a unique email reciprocal link message.
It is possible for webmasters to receive the same basic message from another webmaster. Each reciprocal link request MUST look different by being fresh and original.
Do not use Let's Trade Links as your subject. Let's trade Links is probably the most used email subject line on the Internet today, as there are thousands of webmasters using this phrase. If you keep this subject line, then you are sending the same one as everyone else. It will not be accepted or worse, it will look like spam.
Personalize every email message
Include a personal comment in the email message to each of your selected email addresses. You could include something like: "I really like the animations you had on your home page.", ".. and loved your background image" or "I loved the content on ...... page". This personal comment should prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that you personally visited their web site.
Use logic when selecting those to receive an email.
Before you can send a reciprocal link request, you need to explore their web site to decide if you want to include them in your link directory. You need to also use some thought in who you send a message to. A super large web site will probably not trade links with you in the beginning, perhaps you should save those for later. If you cannot find a links page, they are not going to trade links either. Think before sending email.
I hope this helps in your future marketing decisions.

About the Author


David Bell is Manager, Online Marketing, at http://www.wspromotion.com/ , a leading Search Engine Optimization services firm and Advertising Agency.



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