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CRAFTER'S CORNER - ADVICE AND TIPS  

Thank you, Barb from Sundance Designs, for this great article on Reciprocal Links. Check out Barb's site via the link above!  If you have an article, tip or advice you'd like to share with other crafters, please e-mail me the text and I will add it here. Now, on to Barb's article!

 

RECIPROCAL LINKS

   

The most important factors for search engine placement are: consistent theme, relevant text for your targeted keywords, AND your network of links.

 Use logic when choosing which sites to ask for reciprocal links.

        Contact sites with a personal e-mail.

        Optimize your link pages.

        Create a good link – make it valuable.

        Avoid participation in “Link Farms”.  

 

Site Popularity and Search Engine Placement

Link to sites which are compatible with your site’s content and visitor’s interests.

Your site needs to be linked from quality sites with quality content on RELATED subjects. The more links the search engines find to your site from related sites, the more relevant your site will be perceived; and the more chances you have at a higher ranking. A high percentage of reciprocal links on your site will also help. Quantity of links may help, but QUALITY is more important.  And text links carry more value than a link from a banner. Make sure your site has no errors, and has content that is appropriate and relevant so others will want to link to you also.  

Link Etiquette  

The best way to get quality links is to search for sites with similar content and keywords related to yours.  Visit the site to determine if it would be a good link to add to your site. 

    Put their link up on your site, and check to make sure it works. Most sites will have link exchange information where you can copy & paste their text to your site.

    Send them an e-mail putting something like “link exchange” or “exchange links?” in the subject, so it won’t be mistaken for spam. Be polite and not too assuming.

    Start out by telling them you visited their site and mention a particular product you liked or comment about the site design – something to let them know you DID indeed visit their site and are not just sending a form letter out to get links.

    Ask if they would like to exchange links and tell them the page where you have put theirs – make it a clickable link (put “http://” before the address) so they can easily access it.

    Give them you link information: Site name, description & URL. If their links are divided into categories, let them know which you would prefer to be included in.

    Ask them if there is anything they would like changed with their link on your site.

    Thank them for their consideration and wish them luck with their website.

    If you don’t get a response from them (within a month or so) indicating they are favorable to the exchange, check to see if they may have put your link up, but neglected to let you know.  If it is there, thank them.  If not, take theirs off of your site.

     If you get a request for a link exchange and do not want to add it, be considerate and e-mail them explaining why you chose not to reciprocate.

Your Link Pages

Don’t just name your pages “Links”. Consider putting your links in categories, so your title and keywords can reflect the theme. You may want to have links to: craft sites, craft business, craft resources, craft directories, specific craft categories, etc.  Use good descriptive text and keyword phrases for the theme categories of each link directory page. 

Creating a Good Link

Some sites will only use your actual name as the link, but for others you can create a link that has more value to search engines.  If it has the keywords you want to be found with as part of the link, it will have more value than just a link with your name.

For Example:

“yourname.com : Handcrafted angels by My Company.”  This link will only help if people are searching for your name.

“Handcrafted gifts by My Company : Personalized wood angels.”  This will help if someone is searching for handcrafted gifts or your company.

“Personalized wood angels, handcrafted by My Company : Wood angels in various sizes and designs for family, friends and occupations.”  This will help if someone is searching for personalized angels, wood angels, handcrafted angels, personalized wood angels, or your name.  Try different combinations using your keywords and put your most important keywords at the beginning of the link. Try to keep the linked part of the text to around 75 characters.

Link Farms

Don’t create pages of links just to increase the number of links pointing to your site. Avoid participating in “link farms” or reciprocal link services (as they prefer to be called) for the sole purpose of increasing your ranking.  You become a member and upload a links page to your website that contains links to loads of sites that you’ve never heard of and most of which will not be even relevant to your website theme. Every member has an identical links page-the same links to and from their site with little or no other links. Search engines recognize this tactic and can penalize or ban those involved. 

There has been much discussion regarding participation in Zeus Directories. Zeus is an automated robot directory, which actively searches out sites to exchange links with.  There are many Zeus directories that are tightly themed, and have high quality relevant listings that include a large percentage of link partners. But there are also many Zeus directories that have categories for every subject or theme on the Internet.

You don’t need to respond to e-mails from Zeus owners regarding link exchanges – they are sent automatically from the Zeus robot.

I can’t give a recommendation concerning these directories, but if I have linked to a Zeus Directory, which is TIGHTLY THEMED, I feel relatively safe doing so.

Creating site popularity by linking can be very time consuming. You will need to spend time researching, e-mailing, and updating your links pages, but it WILL pay off!