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How To Choose Your Link Partners.
by Donald Nelson  Copyright.

To link or not to link? That is the question we face when we 
receive e-mail from people asking us to make a link to their 
website, or when we are looking for link partners ourselves 
and find a prospective site. How can we decide if it is 
worthwhile to take the effort to make a link for such site? If 
we look at the fundamental reasons for making link exchanges 
in the first place, then it is easy to  decide which link 
possibilities we should pursue and which we should drop.

So what are the most important reasons for exchanging links? 
They are as follows:

1. To Get More Traffic To Our Websites

People just love to follow links on the Internet. They love to 
poke around and follow their interests and see where it will 
lead. I know this from my own taste but more importantly, when 
I look at traffic logs for various websites, I see that link 
pages are very popular on many sites. So, if your site is well 
placed on link pages around the Internet you can definitely
expect some additional traffic from these links.

Keeping this in mind. When you are reviewing the site of a 
potential link partner, take a look at how that site displays 
the links. Is the links page visible, and linked to the other 
pages of the website? Some people want to exchange links but 
they don't want people to leave their website through links to 
other websites, and they do not even provide a path to their 
link pages or make it very difficult to find. You can never get 
any additional traffic from a listing on a site like this, and 
if this is the case, you should just forget about linking.

Also, if the links are haphazardly arranged - 200 links on one 
page with no apparent order - your chances of getting traffic is 
also reduced. Will your link be buried in a huge directory, many 
layers removed from the main pages of the site? Look at the 
possible placement of your link, and judge it from the 
standpoint of visibility and its capacity to generate traffic to 
your site.

2. To Add Value To Your Website

Your website is valuable to your visitors if it provides 
information that they need. The articles, products and other 
content that you publish is your first source of material for 
satisfying the needs of your visitors, but the links you provide 
can also make your site an important source of information and a 
convenient place for people to visit and revisit.

Accordingly, choose your links from the standpoint of satisfying 
the needs of your clientele. If your site is offering web 
hosting, for example, then it is likely that your visitors will 
also be interested in web design, graphics, software, website 
promotion, etc. By providing a directory of links to such 
products and services you will be adding value to your website.

Just as you carefully consider what products you are offering or 
what your own information articles contain, consider the value 
that the various links offer. Do the products or services look 
shoddy or below the standard of your website? If so, then do not 
go after the link. Is the product or service completely unrelated 
to your website? If so, then it doesn't really add much to the 
site.

A well constructed directory of valuable resource links that 
complement your own offerings should be your goal, and you 
should judge potential link partners on how well they fit into 
that picture.

3. To Build Link Popularity and Boost Ranking in Search Engine 
   Results

Results in search engine queries are determined by the material 
you have presented on your web page, and by other off-page 
factors, such as, how many other sites link to your site. The 
concept of link popularity got a huge boost from Google whose 
PageRank system not only weighs the number of links that point 
to your site, but also the quality of those incoming links.

Indeed, if you make a query on Google as follows: 
link: www.yoursite.com  . You will get a list of sites that link 
to you. But not all the sites that link to you are in this list. 
Currently, they are only from web pages whose Google PageRank is 
4 or higher. From this standpoint, in order to increase your 
results in Google, you need links from sites whose main pages 
have a high Google Page Rank and whose link pages are similarly 
well ranked.

Does this mean that we shouldn't link to sites if their PageRank 
is less than 4? Not necessarily. Remember, a page that is 0 
today, can get higher ranking tomorrow. Also, just as you may be 
starting out from scratch, other sites are similarly beginning 
their life on the web and we should take this into account, and 
be farsighted.

Once you have weighed all the factors and considered the time 
you have available for linking arrangements, choose your linking 
partners. Work at your linking strategy diligently and carefully 
and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

================================================================
Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. He 
has been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently 
the director of A1-Optimization www.a1-optimization.com, a 
firm providing low-cost search engine optimization, submission 
and Internet marketing services. You can subscribe to his 
monthly newsletter, A1-Web Promotion Tips, by sending an
e-mail to subscribe@a1-optimization.com
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