Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Building Link Popularity

How to Start Building Link Popularity

Given all the attention link popularity and reciprocal linking get,it's not necessary to go into the philosophies behind starting alinking campaign. However, it's important to mention that followinglinks from other sites is the second most common way Web sites arefound. This alone should make them a very important part of yourmarketing strategy!

So let's start at the beginning...
Looking at the main page of Nobscot's site, I immediately notice theydon't offer a links page. Chances are in today's cyber game, no onewill link to you if you do not offer to reciprocate. Trading links isa powerful promotional strategy used to drive qualified traffic andimprove link popularity. If Nobscot wants to play ball, they'll needto create a links (or resource) page, and trade links accordingly.

I used the words resource page as an alternative to links page,because I think it's a better fit for the Nobscot site. Whatever youdecide to call your page, be sure it's clearly labeled as such, and isalso located within the first two levels of your site. Make sure tooffer detailed information on your linking criteria, right on thispage, and also an HTML coded link that can be copied. You want tomake it as easy as possible to swap links with other sites.

A quick check of Nobscot's current backlinks shows most of them to beinternal links, with only a handful coming from outbound sources.They'll need to increase the number of quality hyperlinks pointingtoward the Nobscot site if they are to benefit from a boost in linkpopularity,

Web site traffic and spider-crawling frequency!
Nobscot needs to start the search process by asking themselves a shortlist of key questions:

1. Who are their top three competitors?
2. What are their top five-keyword phrases?
3. What associations/professional organizations do they belong to?

Armed with the answers, Nobscot can begin the search process byreviewing the sites linking to their competitors. Usinglink:// they will be able to find all the siteslinking to their top three competitors in Google. There are also anumber of free link popularity tools to find sites linking to a URL.My favorite is at MarketLeap. (QueriesAll The Web, Alta Vista, AOL, Google, HotBot and MSN.)

After carefully reviewing those sites, they should bookmark the*keepers* and move on. The next step would be for Nobscot to researchtheir top keywordphrases and the professional organizations. I use a couple of Metasearch engines, directories, and Google to do this. (Google, becauseit uses link popularity as a part of its ranking algorithm, plus it'smy favorite!) Again, Nobscot should carefully review each site thatthey find, and bookmark the ones with potential.
And now for the challenging part! Once they've accumulated a lengthylist of potential link partners, Nobscot should write a customizedemail to each site. In it, they should include a standardized list ofinformation about their Web site (URL, email, name of the owner,contact information and URL of the page their link would go on), andexplain their reason for contacting them. It shouldn't be a longemail, but needs to include the key information and ASK FOR THE LINK!

Whenever I start a link campaign, I create a spreadsheet outliningeach Web site I send an email to. It's important to keep track ofmail dates, responses, URL's, follow-up emails, etc. It's veryimportant to stay organized in the process in order to project apositive image for your company. This organization also helps you tobe able to respond quickly and accurately to questions and requestsfrom the site owners.

Some dos and don'ts for linking campaigns:
* Consider offering an incentive or free trial of your service/productin your link request. Get the link and showcase your product!
* Send a second, follow-up email 14 business days after the first oneif you have not heard from a potential site you felt was a greatpartner. You don't want to send a follow up email too soon or toofrequently, because you stand a chance of alienating the site for goodif you do this. They may have good reasons for not responding rightaway. Move on.
* If you can't find the name of the Web site owner, direct your emailto the Sales Department. Sales people know an opportunity when theysee one and will usually respond!
* Don't link to Free For All (FFA) pages or "link farms." Period.
* Employ netiquette and common sense to your approach. Remember thegolden rule, "Treat others as you would like to be treated!"
* Don't launch a link campaign if your site is under construction orhas any part not working.
* Check your links every 30 days to see if they are still in place.If they aren't, send a short, polite note asking to reinstate them.And conversely, check and remove broken links on your site.
* If you outsource your link-building project, be sure to discussyour expectations before the campaign begins. Start off on the rightfoot and you'll hit a home run with your link campaign!
* Say "thank you" when someone adds your site to his or her site.

Are there other avenues to search for potential link partners? Youbet! A quick list Nobscot could focus on would be their vendors,customers, suppliers, topic specific directories, communitydirectories, webrings, employment agencies and industry consultants.

The Nobscot site has tremendous potential as a link partner and willbenefit from a link campaign by gaining search engine ranking,credibility and terrific content!

source : highrankings

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