Make the Move to Power Linking
by Rick Hendershot
So far in this series of lessons we have focused on reciprocal link exchange -- exchanging links with other websites that share your area of interest, and are likely to send you traffic. We've pointed out how exchanging links with other websites will not only generate direct traffic, but will also enhance your online presence, and will usually improve your ranking with the search engines.
But, the truth is, while reciprocal links are relatively easy to get, they're also usually a kind of "poor man's" link. If you look carefully at most link pages, you will see that these pages often have no real content other than the links themselves. This means these pages get very little traffic, and do not have much chance of impressing the Search Engines such as Google with their relevance or importance. These pages are too often what I call "spammy, content-less link pages".
*** The Power Linking Alternative ***
In order to have an really effective link program you must move beyond ordinary reciprocal link exchange to what I call "Power Linking". In the next few lessons I will outline several power linking strategies — and with a bit of effort you will easily come up with new ones of your own. Each of these strategies share the following characteristics:
1. A reciprocal link is not usually required.
2. Each strategy requires creating some web content and strategically taking advantage of that content.
3. You can create literally hundreds — even thousands — of powerful, relevant inbound links this way.
In the next four chapters I will discuss four of the most important power linking strategies, but before doing so I want to mention an important "hybrid" technique that is half-way between reciprocal link exchange and power linking.
*** The Power Exchange ***
This is what I call a "Power Exchange". A Power Exchange requires that you open your webmaster's mind to exchanging links on pages other than your typical "spammy content-less link pages". This means you have to break out of the straight jacket of only putting links on "links pages". It requires that you go looking for partners who are prepared to trade links on actual content pages — like your home page, for instance.
In other words, you find a website with a high PR page and you make a specific offer to the webmaster to exchange links with your equally high (or higher) PR page. The most obvious candidates for such an exchange would be the home pages of the two websites.
In my experience, many webmasters are hesitant to do this, because they seem to think this implies they are specifically endorsing the sites they are linking to. And since they have no control over the content of those sites, they have no way of knowing if the sites are worth endorsing.
To my mind, the obvious way around this is to consider links of this sort as free advertising -- see http://www.small-business-online.com/free-advertising.html — as "text ads" rather than endorsements. We don't think that the editors of the New York Times or The Toronto Star endorse every product listed in their classified sections, or even the products of the advertisers who place ads on their front pages. Ads are not endorsements. Advertisers are just renting space, and everybody knows it.
And so it should be with link exchanges — at least with "power exchanges".
*** Developing Pages for Power Exchanges ***
Another way to approach the Power Exchange is to develop content pages specifically for the purpose of (eventually) using these as link exchange pages -- what you might call "link bait". An example of this is my own Linknet Pages. Go here http://www.sbo-linknet.com/linknet-index.shtml to see some examples. You start by building a series of pages with real content. Then you work on developing as many inbound links as you can — links from other sites pointing to these pages. And eventually your link exchange pages will develop a healthy Page Rank of their own. This makes them a valuable commodity for you, because they have become candidates for valuable link exchange with other high value pages on other sites.
This takes you well beyond what I have called "spammy, content-less link pages". These are content pages that have value, are worth reading, and are a resource that will gain traffic of their own. This moves your site to the "next level" where other webmasters consider it a resource worth paying to advertise on — if not with money, at least with a link from one of their own valuable pages.
*** Problems with Power Exchanges ***
There are at least three problems with this kind of "Power Exchange", which probably explain why they are not all that common. First, it is relatively difficult to find webmasters with quality pages they are prepared to put links on. This makes finding useful power exchanges a relatively difficult and time consuming process.
Second, developing content pages specifically for link exchange purposes seems to be relatively rare among webmasters. Many webmasters — especially the ones with valuable content developed over a long period of time — see their websites as reflections of themselves, and are not interested in turning them into "advertising media".
Third, since many of the more active websites change quickly and often, it is hard to count on your link remaining in place for any length of time. By their very nature, link exchanges tend to be informal arrangements. So there will no easily found record of the agreement that resulted in a specific link ending up on a specific page. You many find your 'reciprocal" agreement turning into a one-way agreement more often than you think. The link you thought you had coming in from that high value site may have been removed many months ago.
My advice is that you keep this "power exchange" strategy in mind as a technique you can employ when the right opportunity arises. I think it is easier, and usually more effective to use the "Power Linking Strategies" outlined in the next few chapters. But it never hurts to develop a number of pages that have valuable content, and that you can use to attract potential link partners.
If you are interested in learning more about Power Linking Strategies to energize your website, then you should consider signing up for my free course "SuperCharge Your Website with Power Linking" at http://www.small-business-online.com/courses/link-exchange-signup.shtml
Better yet, the easiest and possibly most effective power linking strategy is to become a Linknet Partner. As a Linknet Partner you are guaranteed multiple links from highly optimized pages with steadily improving Page Rank. Go here a href="http://www.sbo-linknet.com/products.html for more information.
For more event and display marketing resources and information, go to
Rick Hendershot is a marketing consultant, writer, and internet publisher who lives in Conestogo, Ontario, Canada. He publishes several websites and blogs, including
Trade Show Tips at http://www.trade-show-tips.com/interactive
Web Traffic Resources at http://www.small-business-online.com
Marketing Bites at http://marketingbs.blogspot.com and
SuperCharge Your Website with Power Linking at http://www.sbo-linknet.com
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