We all know how critical inbound hyperlinks are for the success of your website. High quality relevant links from established sites or sites involved in aggressive SEO campaigns add the most value to your website. However, many websites lack a comprehensive partner linking strategy. Here are some basic elements which will help you maximize your link acquisition efforts.
Leave nothing to chance – Webmasters know that setting up a link from their site to your site increases the chances that you will accept their offer for a link exchange. The format of the inbound link is important! Having the other webmaster guess at the content means that most times the link will not have its maximum effect. Always provide link format instructions to other webmasters describing exactly how the link should be composed!
Provide contact information – Once a webmaster has identified your site as a potential partner, and hopefully puts your link on their site, they need to contact you. Providing an email address on the page is an invitation for spam. The best method is to provide a captcha protected email form. This also eliminates any automated link requests, which are typically very low quality. It forces the other webmaster to carefully consider whether the link exchange is worth the effort, and any requests you do receive will typically be good ones!
Monitoring – Websites come and go, and are continually being modified. A recent analysis of inbound partner links across 150+ domains that we manage found that over 5% of the reciprocal links no longer existed. Webmasters rarely keep the contact information for the websites that provided inbound partner links and in those cases it is often easier to remove to outbound link than to re-engage the offending webmaster. It is important to save the contact information of webmasters that provide inbound partner links and also to verify that inbound partner links still exist.
The complete solution – A quality link management application will typically handle all these tasks as well as managing the link pages for your outbound links. There are many good products available, though all of the free ones are deficient in one more critical areas. We developed our own application; LinkMgr which we license to other webmasters and SEO specialists. A good link management software application includes the following:
- Easy installation (typically only a single page added to the domain)
- Easy customization (preserving the domain theme)
- Easy configuration (for editing inbound link instructions, page titles, etc.)
- Easy administration (for adding/deleting/modifying outbound links)
- Categorized link pages (with sub categories)
- Inbound link instructions page
- Captcha protected link submission form
- Captcha protected webmaster contact form
- Email based link activation or decline process
- Inbound link verification (to ensure inbound links remain in place)
- Outbound link invitation process
Success at last – A carefully crafted link strategy combined with full featured software implementation will not only ensure that you get the most value for your efforts, but also will create self sustaining inbound link acquisition. As your rank improves more and more webmasters will find your site and request exchanges!