While traditional link exchanges
still hold some value, it may be time to add a different
tactic to your link-building arsenal. Why? Because it
appears that swapping links doesn't provide quite as much
'oomph!' for moving up in the search engine rankings as it
used to, at least not for sites in highly competitive
niches. Many sites that were on the first page of results
and relied heavily on exchanging links have lost those
coveted positions after recent search engine updates
(especially the 'Jagger' update at Google).
Disclaimer: Only employees who are in the know at the
search engines can say with certainty which factors
determine rankings. The decrease in link exchange benefit
is speculation based on testing and some consensus among
'experts' outside of the engines.
Build More One-Way Links
Assuming that it's true about link exchanges becoming an
obsolete way to get higher search engine rankings, it's
wise to find ways to build one-way inbound links. At the
very least, no web site owner should rely completely on
one form of link gathering. It's never smart to put all of
one's eggs in the same basket, after all.
The rub here is that most site owners still pursue link
swaps as their 'bread-and-butter' means of building links.
That can play against you in your own link strategy if you
don't continue to offer exchanges. What to do?
What you need is a sort of hybrid approach. That is, find
a way to appeal to the barter mindset of exchanging
something of value for something else of value that most
web site owners have ingrained in their modes of thinking.
Along those lines, here's a great way to continue building
links without swapping them: offer original, unique
content in exchange for a one-way link.
Trade Content for Links Instead
Here's how it works...
Instead of offering to exchange links on your links page,
write a short notice that you will write a few hundred
words of original, exclusive content (300-500 is plenty)
that the other site owner may use on his or her site. In
exchange, they must post a link to your site on either
their home page or another important page that is linked
directly from the home page. Make it clear that your link
must not appear on their links page, where it would just
share space with many others. For the value to be equal,
your link should get special handling in exchange for that
great page of new content.
Now, expect not to get too many takers at this stage. The
link exchange notion is pretty ingrained in most site
owners. That being the case, there's another part of this
strategy you should definitely pursue.
Be proactive! Seek out related sites from which you'd love
to have a link, and approach the site owner or webmaster
with an offer to write a page of high quality content in
exchange for a return link. We've been following this
strategy for months with our network of sites and the
results are impressive! You can expect a much higher rate
of agreement from this approach than the tired old "I
love your site! let's exchange links!" routine, which
is increasingly too time consuming to be worth the effort.
Some Important Points
First, follow through and write truly excellent content.
Don't just dash off a quick article that doesn't convey
useful and interesting information. Savvy web site owners
will quickly refuse to post your link if you abuse the
situation in this way.
Second, make the content you give away original and
exclusive. This is your 'hook' - your best selling point.
If you try to give a site owner the same content that
appears somewhere else, you'll lose a wonderful
opportunity to get a great one-way link.
Perhaps the most important point of all is to use this
strategy only with closely related sites that have high
quality content. Be picky! Start by checking out the top
ranked sites in your niche. Search Google or another major
search engine to get a list of the top sites, then visit
each one and, if you deem it worthy, find their contact
information and send a short, polite inquiry to see if
they are interested in an exchange of content for a link
back to your site.
When other site owners approach you from the notice on
your links page - again, be picky. You'll be spending some
of your valuable time to write them a page of high quality
content. You will want a high quality link in return. If a
site does not meet your high standards, take a pass. In
all cases, if you agree to the content-for-link exchange,
always request a link from their home page. It's the best
possible place for your link and, at worst, the other site
owner will refuse and suggest a different page. It can't
hurt to ask!
Ultimately, the real long-term value in following this
link-building strategy is the return on your investment of
time. The relatively short amount of time you invest in
writing the content you give away may produce dividends in
traffic and higher search engine rankings that last for
years. Viewed from that perspective, doesn't this make
ę John Schwartz http://www.web-article-writer.com
(all rights reserved)