You are Being Lied About Reciprocal Links!
© 2004 Vishal P. Rao
Exchanging links has been an important part of generating
traffic since the concept of Internet marketing was first
established, but at least 90% of people looking to trade links
don't understand the real benefits and, therefore, fail to make
the most of them.
The vast majority of web site owners think that exchanging links
is only helpful because it can boost their rankings in search
engines such as Google.com. They are however, useful for this
purpose since the number of links back to a site is figured into
ranking calculations. But according to WebSideStory's StatMarket
Web site optimization service, search engines account for only
little more than 13% of an average web site's traffic.
The most important benefit of a link exchange is the traffic
resulting directly from these links. That same StatMarket
research found that 21% of site visitors get there via links
which means the links themselves are more useful than the search
Search engines are highly unpredictable. They keep changing
their algorithms every now and then. Your site is on the top 10
results today but it may not be so tomorrow.
I don't say you should neglect search engines. However, your
main concern should be getting traffic from direct links. Search
engine ranking should be your secondary concern.
Furthermore, your links page can serve as an excellent resource
for your visitors. As any Internet marketer will tell you, it's
the content that makes a successful site. When you provide
useful links for your visitors, your site becomes more credible,
more helpful, more likely to be bookmarked for future visits.
All of which adds up to a steady stream of traffic.
So how do you identify sites that can send you more of direct
traffic? Here are some pointers to consider while exchanging
1) Look out for sites that have good content.
Content is the #1 reason people go online. If a site has good
content, more number of repeat visitors it'll have.
2) Look out for sites that display a prominent link to their
links page on their home page as well as on the rest of the
When I say prominent, I don't mean a link with h1 font size!
What I mean is that the link should not be less prominent than
the rest of links on the site.
Many web masters, particularly those who want links to help only
their search engine ranking, will hide their links page or place
it only on their home page, some where at the bottom with a -1
font size. The most common reason for doing this is a fear of
losing visitors, but that fear is absolutely unfounded when you
really understand how the Internet works.
Say your web site has a 1% conversion ratio. That means for
every 100 visitors that visit your site, you make one sale. Now
what about the rest 99. They are looking for something else,
isn't it? So what do they do? They have 3 options:
a) Go back to the previous site.
b) Visit your links page (if you have one), hoping that they
would find the information on sites listed there.
c) End their browsing session.
So which do you think is the best option? I would definitely
want my visitors to go to my links page and visit my link
partners rather than go back. Because I know that my link
partners would send some visitors in the same way to my site.
Now this exchange would only happen if we had a prominent link
to our links page on all the pages of our site, should our
visitors decide to leave us any time.
-----Side Bar----- There are some sites that have their links
page designed for link partners rather than for their visitors!
They'll use the following texts to link to their links page:
"Let's Trade Links", "Trade Links" and so on... Such sites are
more interested in finding link partners than providing
information to their visitors. The end result is link partners
visiting each other's site. -----Side Bar-----
3) Look out for sites that have tightly themed and categorized
Sites that trade links solely for search engine rankings have
links to sites on almost all the subjects on their links page.
Typically ranging to hundreds of them on a single page. These
pages are never going to be visited by those looking for
Whereas sites that have their links categorized are more user
friendly and are more likely to attract visitors.
There is no point in looking for quality sites when YOUR links
page is designed without keeping the interests of your visitors
in mind. Only when we start thinking of our links page as a
service to our visitors rather than a tool for higher search
engine ranking, we'll be able to make the most from reciprocal
About the author:
Vishal P. Rao is the editor of Home Based Business Opportunities
- A web site dedicated to opportunities, ideas and resources to
help you start and run a home based business. Visit his site at: