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How to Establish Reciprocal Link Exchange Relationships to Better Optimize Your Search Engine Ranking Results




Reciprocal link exchange can be a great way to improve your visibility online and increase your organic rank on search engines. Everyone has a favorite Search Engine Optimization (“SEO”) or online marketing technique, and for many, it is exchanging links with similar but non-competing websites.

You can either go about this process yourself or take aid from effective and proven Link Exchange Managers that are available in the marketplace. The advantage in using a link manager is that it completely facilitates the process of link exchanging and leaves very little for you to do and yet it’s fully under your control.



Do It Yourself (“DIY”)


Create a link exchange page

If you decide to take on this project yourself, you will need to create a links page to include your partners’ links in. The links page needs to look and feel the same as the rest of your site and should include instructions on how to link to your site and an example of the description you want. Once you have your links page ready, begin looking for link partners on search engines.



Compile a list of potential partners

Search for your keywords in Google and choose 75 to 100 sites that have content that is related to or can compliment your site. Maintain a list of these sites in a separate document (excel spreadsheet). Make sure to include the URL as well as a brief description of the site. You do not have to compile a list of all the links in one day. You can do this incrementally.

Once you are done compiling a list of potential partners, add a text link with a brief description of their site on your links page. Again, you do not have to do all this in one sitting. Do as much as you can whenever time permits. It is also up to you if you want to skip the intermediary step of compiling a list of links on a separate document and instead putting the links on your website simultaneously as you perform your searches.



Research your partners’ page rank

When you are compiling your list of potential link exchange partners, check their “Page Rank” on search engines. Having a link on a site with a high page rank in Google is better than a page with no or low page rank. Since you are new to the online space you will have a low page rank of your own. This does not mean that you can’t go ahead and request link trades with high ranking sites – no one will stop you.

However don’t expect every single site to agree to your proposition. Savvy website operators are very particular about who they exchange links with. They will only exchange links with you if you are ranked high and thus you may have to build your credibility in the mean time until you get such partners to hop on your bandwagon. Do not discard these contacts. Save them for a later date when you have gained some popularity yourself.



Email your potential partners

Your next step is to craft a nice looking email message and send it off to each site and ask if they are willing to exchange links with you. Keep track of who you sent and email to and when on the separate document in which you initially compiled your potential partners.

Make sure to personalize the email and mention something specific about their website. Perhaps give them a compliment about something you like. This shows your potential partner that you have taken the time to browse their website and understand their subject. It also gives them comfort that you are an actual person rather than an online robot that is programmed to send out spam messages.



Always follow-up after your initial email

Use your separate list to keep track of any responses or lack thereof. Persistence can pay off when dealing with link exchanging. If you have not heard from your contact for a week, send them another email and modify it a bit to reflect the fact that you had sent them an email earlier as well. Continue to follow up every week if you don’t hear from them but be careful not to blast them with repeated emails with the same content. The last thing you want is for them to report you as a spammer.

If all attempts fail, send them one final note indicating that you will be removing their link from your links page and to keep you in mind if they decide to exchange links down the road. This will leave the communication door open for them to come back to you whenever they get around it. Do emphasize that exchanging links is a win-win situation for everyone.



Once your link exchange request is accepted

Once you begin to get confirmations for a reciprocal link exchange from the sites you contacted that your link has been added to their website, go to their site and verify that your link is indeed included and that it reflects the accurate information you want it to contain. If the information is incorrect, do not be afraid to contact the webmaster and request a change to be made. Always follow up with changes. You can keep track of all activity on the separate document that you used to initially compile your potential partners. Use this as your “living” tracking document.

Sounds easy? It certainly can be. Like anything, with some persistence and effort you can put together a successful reciprocal link exchange campaign. I promise you that your work will be rewarded with surprising increase in traffic flow and a higher page rank. This strategy is also very cost effective and a good way to gain new visitors and build more credibility with existing ones.

Many gurus on SEO and online marketing regard this strategy as one of the best because visitors that visit your site through referrals are truly interested in what you have to offer. These are people who specifically clicked on your link based on a description or summary of your website as opposed to randomly stumbling upon it by accidentally clicking on a banner advertisement.

Link exchanging is a very effective SEO technique that is cost free. Unlike paid advertising that stops when you stop making payments, link exchanging is a permanent solution for as long as the websites involved are active.



Get a Cost-Effective Link Exchange Manager Program




Research a good link exchange program

Research Link Manager programs on the Internet until you feel comfortable with one. Personally, I like LinksManager, an effective, ethical and extremely simple to use lnk exchange program. LinksManager often works behind the scenes even when you are not by consistently submitting your link pages. The program also automatically matches your site’s content with potential partners and adds new links, searches for and deletes dead links that are currently on your site, searching the web to look for you reciprocal link on other websites, and frequently rotating your links pages to give it a fresh look.

If you were to do all these tasks yourself, you wouldn’t have much time left to dedicate to the core operation of your website. As you know I am a big advocate of doing it yourself. However when it makes sense, it is smarter to go with a link exchange manager program like LinksManager that can help you become more effective and efficient at the same time. You can always just try it for a short period for free and cancel your services if it doesn’t work out for you. We all need a little bit of free time as well don’t we?



Customizing Links Manager

Once you move ahead with the program, I recommend that you customize the default settings within the program for cosmetics, outgoing emails, and link preferences. Modify the Cosmetics to match the rest of your website. LinksManager also offers a free cosmetics integration where their staff will set up your account to match your website’s color schemes, fonts and layout. This is a fairly quick process and you can initiate it by sending them an email through your control panel menu.

After you customize your cosmetics, focus on filling out the secure File Transfer Protocol (“FTP”) upload controls from the control panel menu. Once you fill this out, you will have your links pages stored on your web server (where your entire website is hosted) at the location of your choice. LinksManager does not do anything you don’t want it to do.

Finally, customize your automatic email notifications to concur with specific events. For example, set the system to send an automatic thank you note once your partner has added your link to their site. You can also set parameters that will send out an automatic email to the website owner when their links stops working. Below is a list that was gathered from LinksManager that details what they believe should be in each email notification:
  • • Link Submitted Email - Include custom banner HTML code for reciprocating your link, and your LinksManager referral URL so you can earn free service.


  • • Link Approved Email - Include the URL of your Modify Links page, the webmaster's login information so they can modify their link, and your LinksManager referral URL so you can earn free service.


  • • Reciprocal Link Reminder Email - Include custom banner HTML code for reciprocating your link, the URL of your Modify Links page, the webmaster's login information so they can modify their link, and your LinksManager referral URL so you can earn free service.


  • • Active Reciprocal Link Reminder Email - Include custom banner HTML code for reciprocating your link, the URL of your Modify Links page, the webmaster's login information so they can modify their link, and your LinksManager referral URL so you can earn free service.


  • • Link Modified Email - Include custom banner HTML code for reciprocating your link, the URL of your Modify Links page, the webmaster's login information so they can modify their link, and your LinksManager referral URL so you can earn free service.


  • • Link Deleted Email - Include the URL of your Add Links page so the webmaster can resubmit their link again, the webmaster's site name, URL, and description they added the first time they submitted their link, and your LinksManager referral URL so you can earn free service.

You may opt to use the default email settings. However, customizing your settings may answer many questions other webmasters may have prior to even having them approach you. This will save you a lot of time. In addition, customizing and taking full advantage of the program’s features will allow you to exchange more links in a shorter time frame with very few emails from your partners to deal with.

It is truly a hands-off approach that will save you a lot of time and bring you a lot of success. I can continue to summarize the entire program for you but I’d rather have you see it for yourself. I have tried their program and have referred them to many others who have tried their services. I’ve had nothing but good experiences. Continue on to read what LinksManager is saying about their program.



Revisit your links page and analyze your categories

Expanding your link categories is another exercise that LinksManager advocates that I agree with. Sure you don’t need to have every single category on your site, however, your current categories may be limiting. Think hard about your categories and make the modifications necessary to increase the number of link partners and drive more traffic to your website. The longer your pursue this strategy the more ideas you will be able to generate.



Going Back To Basics - You need an effective link exchange request letter

Whether you do your link exchanges yourself of use an outside program like LinksManager, you will have to design a clear and effective link exchange request letter. This is the letter that will be sent to the webmaster of the site you are considering swapping links with.

An effective request letter must be clear and concise. Webmasters are busy folks and have better things to do than to read a 2 page prose. Make the subject clear by expressing your intent to swap links with them. Specify the how, where, when in the body of the email and include all the relevant links and contact information they might need.

Just put yourself in their shoes and think about the information you would want to see if someone approached you to swap links with them. Your answers will help you create an effective letter. I have created some sample letters that you can look at and use in your DIY campaign.



Finding quality link partners

Let’s revisit our earlier discussion on finding quality link partners. There are two ways to find link swap partners. The conventional way is to search the Internet for sites that are related to the subject of your site, but are non-competitive in nature. It is easy to search for these sites. Think about the keywords and phrases that define your website.

Once you have come up with some keywords start searching the Internet for the same words and phrases and see what sites come up in the search results. Search each search engine independently and keep track of the sites you come across. Maintain a separate document or spreadsheet with this information and use it as your tracking log.

Some search engines you can use in your searches:
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • MSN
  • AOL Search
  • AltaVista
  • HotBot
  • Lycos

If you do not want to put in the time and go through the manual process, try using free services like LinkPartners. LinkPartners is a free link exchange directory of websites that trade reciprocal links with other sites. LinkPartners’ directory is categorized and will enable you to exchange links with other popular sites in specific categories you choose. Only quality sites with good linking strategy that actively exchange links are included in the LinkPartners directory. If integrated properly with LinksManager, you can potentially request link exchanges with multiple websites simultaneously with just one mouse click.



The Bottom Line on the Reciprocal Link Exchange Strategy

Reciprocal link exchanging is a time consuming, manual but extremely effective and cost efficient strategy of optimizing your website and increasing its page rank on search engines. I hope I have been able to make a strong case that the time spent establishing successful link exchange relationships with other quality websites is definitely worth the benefits derived from it.

Though the process is a manual one, it does not have to be. With a good program like LinksManager to help you facilitate your strategy, your work can really be cut down to a bare minimum without loosing effectiveness. In fact you will increase your effectiveness while at the same time creating all kinds of efficiencies and free time that you can dedicate to other business and personal tasks.

This is definitely the best way to implement link exchanges and deriving the most benefit from this SEO strategy. Give it a shot and watch your traffic increases exponentially over time. You can always stop using the product within your 30 day free trial period






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