Most website developers are now spending a lot of time and often
money to appeal to Search Engines. Many pay the $199.00 review
fee that is optional now at Yahoo!, or employ specialists to
tweak and tune their metatags, keywords and titles. Search
Engines are certainly still vital to the success of your site,
but trading reciprocal links with other sites may now be of
increased importance as the intenet grows by something like a
million sites a day.
The designers of the newly popular Search Engine "Google", which
gets its raw search data from "The Open Directory Project" have
designed a system where the "rank" of your site when called up
by a search is now determined by its link relationships and also
by how many times your site is mentioned or referred to on other
sites. To put it simply, Google wants to know that your site is
linked to many sites whether they are directories, competitors
sites, Message Boards or whatever
The logic of this is that if your site is worth linking to or
referring to it must be of interest. Not only does Google's
system rank how many times your site is mentioned in link pages,
but it also checks to see how "linked" the sites that carry your
reciprocal link are. Sound complicated? It is, but what the
searcher gets is a better shot at finding what he or she wants
precisely and quickly.
There are some oddities to the Google system. If you type the
phrase "more evil than the devil" into Google and then hit the
"I'm feeling lucky" option (a button that brings you the most
likely page Google can find) you get, believe it or not, the
homepage of the Microsoft Corporation. Why is this? Because so
many pages on the net have referred to what they perceive as the
evil side of Microsoft. Thats a powerful, but unintended effect
of all the links and discussion boards out there on the net.
But, back to your site, lets talk about how you can use links to
your advantage. Do you maintain reciprocal links on your page?
Perhaps to client's pages, supplier's pages, or pages that would
be of interest to your visitors? I would advise you to create
and or expand such a page. Then, send an e-mail to each of the
sites you have linked to, mention that you have given them a
link, and ask that they post one for you in return. Many sites
will return the favor. Sites that may charge for banner
advertising will give you a link for free.
Have you surfed the web and located sites that you would like to
provide a link to you? Spend some time contacting them: the
worst they can do is say "No" to your request.
As more sites give you links you will find that more visitors
get to you this way, especially if what your site deals with is
specialized . Creating links is a way of finding your "target"
audience. And of course, Google will rank you higher, and
hopefully not as a demon.
At artsiteguide, which is off to a good start without Yahoo!, a
single free link from a major art site sends me one-third of my
traffic. How do I track this? I would recommend that you get
Stattrack (http://www.stattrack.com). This device will tell you
which of your links is bringing in the traffic. You will be
suprised as you build up links to find that they may out-do the
search engines by quite a margin.
Finally, one more idea. Create an award that you can give to one
or more of the websites that you would like to link to your
page. I have an award called "editor's choice" with a small but
handsome banner. When I have given this to other sites (with
real selectivity) they will often fly the banner with a link
back to artsiteguide. That amounts to a free banner ad, possibly
from a site that may not have linked to you before.
In the future of the crowded internet, link relationships are of
increasing importance and the apearance of search engines like
Google and Clever may underscore this development.
About the author:
John Seed, Editor http://www.artsiteguide.com