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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Reciprocal Link-Building Process

The process for setting up and managing a reciprocal link campaign is as follows. It
is an expanded set of steps that was covered under the section on general link-
building. Again, I recommend you use tools such as SEO Elite or Arelis to help you
out, but you can do it manually if you wish.

Do a search of your most important keywords on Google, as mentioned before..

1. Determine which sites link to you now and which link to your competitors, as
   mentioned before. Visit each site and pare down the list as needed.

2. Obtain the email address of each website owner. This can be done several
   different ways:

   a. Determine the email address directly from their Contact Us page.

   b. Use the Whois utility from a domain registrar to look up the email address
      from the domain name record.

   c. Use SEO Elite or Arelis, which have built-in Whois utilities to obtain the email
      address for a site owner.

3. Create a dedicated email account on your web server, such as link-
   partners@YourDomain.com, to help manage your efforts.

4. Create one or more email "templates" to use for contacting your prospective link
   partners. This is simply a form letter with “placeholders” that allow the email
   address to be automatically merged in. Most email clients, such as Microsoft
   Outlook and Eudora, allow you to generate templates for this purpose.

5. One simple way of sending the same email to multiple people is to use the “bcc”
   option (blind carbon) in your email program. This way, each email recipient won’t
   see all the other email recipients.

6. Be sure and include sample link code in your email template that can be copied
   by your prospective linking partners.
7. Once you start getting, make sure you have links to their sites on your links page.
   You will get a much higher response rate if you put their link on your site first.

8. Systematically manage, track and expand your efforts. Get in the habit of
   spending at least one hour per week looking for new link partnerships. Your goal
   is to find new targeted traffic in as many different relevant locations as possible.



Reciprocal Linking Best Practices

Although the blanket statement of “get as many links as possible” applies in general,
here are some tips and best practices for prioritizing your link exchange efforts:

•   Only exchange links with sites that are relevant to, or are in a complementary
    market to, as your own business.

•   Focus first on getting links from pages with a high PageRank (PR). Links from
    low PR pages won’t influence your ranking negatively, but you probably won’t be
    getting an appreciable PR boost unless you have a large number of them.

•   Don’t discount the power of low PR pages directing traffic to your site. Today's
    PR = 3 page could be tomorrow's PR = 6 page.

•   Your best links will be from sites that have a large number of incoming links
    themselves and that also have a relatively small number of outgoing links (such
    sites are called authorities). Make sure these sites are relevant to your theme or
    keywords.

•   Try to get your link on a page that is as close to their home page as possible. A
    link has less PR if it is buried several levels deep. For example a link on
    http://www.acme-house-plans.com/resources.htm is better than a link on
    http://www.acme-house-plans.com/Links/SectionA/CategoryB/links2.htm.


Changing Old Link Anchor Text

If you have a site that is several years old, chances are you have links on sites you
aren’t aware of, or that use less-than-optimal link text.

In this case, contact those site owners to see if they will change the anchor text of
the link to include your most important keywords where applicable.

Not everything will respond to you, let alone change the link text, and a few may
decide to remove your link altogether. But it is still a worthwhile effort.

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