If you have a website the chances
are you receive e-mails from Webmasters asking you to make
a link exchange with them. But how do you know whether you
should link to their website or not? Well here are 9 rules
of thumb, to help guide you through the linking maze.
1. Is their site relevant to yours?
This is key, and more and more important these days. If
the answer is YES then it’s worth thinking about. If
it’s off topic then you may want to think twice before
swapping links. A link from a relevant website to your
site is the preferred choice as it can help reinforce your
website theme and potentially send some useful traffic
2. How many links is too many on a links page?
When your link is being placed on another website, you
ideally want that page to contain as few outbound links as
possible. 15 or less outbound links is good, 150 outbound
links is not so good. If there are a high number of links
on a page [such as 150] then the value of each link out is
weakened. Whilst we can only make assumptions about
‘link weight’ some Webmasters will use a cut off point
of 50, 75 or even 100 links on a page as a top end
maximum. Anything over 50 outbound links on an average
resources page is certainly quite high. However if your
link will appear on the page of a good quality site or
‘authority website’ an exchange can still be
3. What is the Page Rank of the site on Google?
Some webmasters focus a lot on Google’s page rank as a
measure of a website. If you download and install the
Google toolbar you will see a measure of 1 to 10 shown via
a horizontal bar for each site you are on. Typically the
higher the page rank, the more important a site is
perceived to be. A link from a Pr 5 page is often seen as
a more powerful link than one from a Pr1 page. However,
Google’s Page Rank is only meant to be a rough guide and
should not be taken too seriously. Tip one should always
preside - a relevant link is always what you want.
4. Should the links page be categorized?
Personally I prefer a well organized links page. If your
citing a resource in context of an article you would link
from the paragraph, but for the purposes of resource links
it is a good idea to organize your pages into relevant
themes relating to your website and business. If the site
containing the link you are being offered is placed on a
page with 200 links all mixed up and covering every topic
under the sun, then it’s not ideal. If you’re an
online shop selling Art Prints should you really be on the
same links page as Hosting Companies and Travel Agents?
Make the effort to organize your resource pages, even if
some link partners don't.
5. Is the links page being read by search engines?
It is important that the page your link is on can be found
and read by search engines. The page should be no more
than 2-3 clicks away from the homepage. You can even test
if the web page is in the Google index by visiting www.google.com
and typing into the search bar cache: with the full domain
and page name extension after it. So your query in the
Google search bar could read: cache:www.mywebsite.com/thelinkspage.html.
The page should then show in the Google index. If it does
not then there are a couple of possibilities. 1/ The page
is very new and hasn’t been crawled yet or 2/ the site
has a problem being crawled by search engines due to poor
6. What if a Webmaster asks me to link to one site, but
links back to me from a different site?
This process is sometimes referred to as '3-way linking'
or a 'linking triangle'. There is nothing intrinsically
wrong with 3-way linking as it can sometimes be done for
convenience. However the first thing you need to do is 1/
Evaluate the site you are linking to and 2/ Evaluate the
site and page you are getting the link from. So is the
outbound link destination relevant to your site, and is
the inbound link you are going to receive also coming from
a quality related website?
7. Do I want to associate my business with this
It is a simple question to answer and this should form
part of your decision making process. If you think you
have been approached by a good website then the chances
are others will feel the same and possibly the search
8. How do I know if my link partners are still linking
You can do this manually by keeping the information for
each link partner in an Excel spreadsheet or similar and
then periodically check the exact URLs your link should
appear on. However if you get to the stage of having
hundreds of link partners this may become rather
impractical. At this stage a reciprocal link checker might
be advisable. www.linksmanger.com
offers a link management system that includes periodic
checking of link partners as well as a link exchange
system for around $20 a month.
9. So what are the best links?
One answer could be “the ones that deliver lots of
relevant traffic”. However links can mean different
things to different people. Natural linking [when people
link to you without you asking] is a great reward, but it
is also wise to ensure you have some links from quality
sites in your industry. Teoma can be a good place to find
such sites as it focuses more on human edited results than
say Google for example. Simply make a search with a good
key phrase on www.teoma.com
and you will quickly see which websites are the
‘authority’ sites. Set about trying to get listed on
as many of the best ones as you can.