In an article I wrote recently, called Five Point Plan for
Promotion, I suggested swapping links with people already
linking to your competitor's sites and this generated a few
questions about how to do that specifically, which is what I
shall attempt to explain here.
For the benefit of those of you who have come in half way
through this conversation, swapping links benefits you in two
significant ways. Firstly in generating highly targeted direct
traffic from those links and secondly in making you "popular" to
the search engines' algorithms, thus improving your rankings.
Don't worry about the technicalities of this, just know that the
more links you have back to your site, the better off you are
with some of the engines. They all work differently, they all
change their way of working - develop - so it is impossible for
those of us who come under the heading of "average" to keep up
with the finite detail.
Don't get me wrong. It would be a mistake to go out on the net
with the attitude of beating the competition into submission
with unfair tactics. That is not what this game is about. The
net has opened up the possibility for more bartering, sharing
and cooperation and in the long run that will get you further.
It is a method especially suited to low-budget marketing.
By all means study who is popular at what you do and strive to
be better than them. The top reason I suggest linking to those
who link to your competitors is because, intrinsically I am
lazy! I am assuming that it will be less work to persuade those
people - who are already in the business of linking - to do so
Nuts and bolts ...
So how do you do this exactly? First, find out who comes up at
the top for the keywords you use to find your site. Do this by
searching several search engines at once using WebFerret or
Copernic2000. You'll soon see who keeps scoring again and again.
Now you want to find who links to them and those will be the
people to whom you write requesting a link-swap.
One way you can try it is by using the little add-on that Alta
Vista provides. That kindly adds an option (in Internet Explorer
5) to the Tools along the menu, called "Find pages linking to
this URL" - thus go to your's or your competitor's page and hit
the button. Download the tool here:
There is also specific syntax you can enter into each search
engine's box, which will make it look for a URL, rather than for
keywords. They all seem to have different requirements.
Many of those are listed in an excellent article, Web & Search
Engine Facts You Need to Know to Win the Marketing Game, By
David Gikandi. The article has a lot of information on each of
the major search engines and how they work, including "How to
check how many pages link to your site". David is a programmer
at SearchPositioning.com. (www.searchpositioning.com). A copy of
the article can be found at:
Also, there are several of these specific syntax requirements
listed in Boogie Jack's Webmaster Tips program, FREE download
and well worth it, from: http://www.boogiejack.com ipaday.html
Once you have found your targets, visit the sites, find the
webmaster's email address and write offering a link swap.
Personalise the email, stress the benefits to the other party -
it will benefit their traffic and search engine rankings too -
and you should have a reasonable success rate.
One quick boost, following along the principles above, is to
participate in a simple system called Search Engine Beater
About the author:
Pamela Heywood is webmistress of http://www.tucats-design.com -
Building Your Online Business Instinctively. Subscribe to the
weekly TuCats Mewsletter (sic)
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