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 engine listings!
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
3) Look out for sites that have tightly themed and
categorized links page.
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 additional information.
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 links.
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
Visit his site at: