This page contains information
explaining the importance of link exchanges, and
ways to derive the maximum benefit in the least
amount of time.
There are two critical issues associated with
Obviously, the more
links to you from other sites increases the
probability potential visitor will see your
link and click into your website. By selecting
related arts & craft websites, you are
advertising your business to an ideal pre-screened
qualified market. It does little good to promote
your site where visitors are looking for used tires
or prescription medicine.
Some webmasters are concerned that swapping links
with a "competitor" will cost them sales.
If your web site provides the right product at the
right price, the visitor will stay. Because of the
impact of "link popularity" (see below),
you actually will gain significantly from exchanging
links with competitors.
However, it is a good idea to code all of your
links so they open a new window which a visitor
clicks on a link. By simply adding the code:
target="top" to the hyperlink, your
visitor remains on your website. Neat trick!
Another suggestion ... when exchanging links,
check to see where your link will be placed. If it
is on a page with 100 other sites, it is doubtful
anyone will actually see your link. Likewise, if
there are ten link pages, in no particular order and
full of banners, don't bother. If the site has a
well organized, categorized directory (especially
with search capabilities), that may be worth
Improved Search Engine Positioning
- By far the biggest advantage of exchanging links
is the effect on your link popularity, and it's
subsequent impact on your search engine
"Link popularity" refers to the total
number of links or "votes" that a search
engine has found for your website. The number of websites that link to your website
is one of the factors that help search engines
determine your relevancy for a search term. Link
popularity and gaining new links from outside
websites to your website have proven to be a popular
concept for people seeking to improve their search
What is link popularity and how exactly does it
work? Search engines don't just look at the content
of your website to determine if you are a match for
a search. They also look at the number of outside
websites that can validate, by linking, that you are
a good match.
What is your link popularity
... check out this free
link checker resource from SEOCentro.
Google PageRank Explained
(from Google website)
Search engines have also begun to rank the
importance of the sites that link to you. This means
if the New York Times links to your site, your
credibility is higher than if Joe's Online Newspaper
provides a link to your website. Search engines also
consider the text contained in the link that is
pointing to your website. If the text in the links
contains keywords you are trying to compete for, the
search engines consider your site to have even
Google PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature
of the web by using its vast link structure as an
indicator of an individual page's value. In essence,
Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a
vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at
more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page
receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the
vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves
"important" weigh more heavily and help to
make other pages "important."
Important, high-quality sites receive a higher
PageRank, which Google remembers each time it
conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean
nothing to you if they don't match your query. So,
Google combines PageRank with sophisticated
text-matching techniques to find pages that are both
important and relevant to your search. Google goes
far beyond the number of times a term appears on a
page and examines all aspects of the page's content
(and the content of the pages linking to it) to
determine if it's a good match for your query.
To see your PageRank, or that of potential link
partners, it is necessary to have the Google toolbar
installed on your browser. Click
here for details.
link farms! -
Link farms are pages of links you add verbatim to
your web site which are supposed to instantly
increase your link popularity. The problem is that
search engines look at these at attempts to spam
their indexes, and may penalize or even ban the
offending site. Search engines do not mind link
pages if they are unique - not the same twenty pages
on 10,000 web sites.
sites to link with is not hard,
but often time consuming. Here are a few ideas:
the sites linking to your competitors -
many may wish to other swap with you too! The SeoCentro
resource mentioned above will do this for you as
will the Google toolbar (backward links).
You could also conduct a search
on Google using criteria
such as: "+crafts
reciprocal link exchange"
The list provided here on
Craft Link Exchange
is also a very valuable resource!
If you plan to greatly expand your link exchange
program, you may wish to obtain link
management software. We used the program
"Zeus" for several years with good
success. It allows you to search for related web
sites, collect email addresses, and automate your
link requests. The major problem we now see is that
a great number of people use the software, and
everyone's email requests look very much like incoming
spam, and are often ignored. For more link exchange
software and resources, visit our Link
Exchange Resources page.
Link popularity will continue to be an essential
factor in successful search engine marketing
initiatives for the foreseeable future. Links are a
helpful tool for search engines trying to wade
through billions of documents and find ones that are
relevant to their users.
Always opt for text link exchanges, not banner
exchanges. Banners cannot be read by search engines,
and more often than not your banner will be
buried on a slow-loading web page with twenty
other banners that no one ever sees.
Link to sites related to your own, such as arts
and crafts. However, you do not need to be overly
specific. Even if you are a candle site, links to
woodcraft or pattern sites are still relevant.
engines place a lot of importance upon the
"anchor text" of a link - the part
which is actually hyperlinked.
Linking to sites with remote hosted link pages
(such as Bravenet), or shared domains (such as Ebay,
Geocities, Yahoo) have little affect on your link
Linking to high Google PageRank pages is MUCH
more effective than low PR pages. Also, be aware
that while a web site's home page may have a PR of
6, if their link page is a PR-2, you receive minimal
benefit. It is the page where your link appears
which is important.
automatically "write-off" link
exchanges from pages with a low PR. What
may be only a "1" today could be a