Winning Approval for Potential Links

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Now that you have a list of Web sites you would like to be linked from, the next step is to determine from whom to request the link. Usually this can be found on the site. Titles such as [email protected] or any variation on that theme are usually a safe bet. If the site does not have an obvious contact, try [email protected] You can either send the request there or ask for the email address of the right person.

Generally, a short note with the appropriate information in the subject line is most suitable. Your note should be courteous; briefly describe your site’s content, and provide the rationale for why you think reciprocating links would result in a win-win situation. It doesn’t hurt to compliment some aspect of the site that you think is particularly engaging.

It is a good idea to develop a generic “link request” letter that you can have on hand when you are surfing. You should always keep this letter open on your desktop when surfing the Internet so that you can easily copy and paste the letter into an email.

Here is an example of a link request email:

Dear Web Site Owner,

I have just finished viewing your site and found it quite enjoyable. I found the content to be very valuable, particularly [customize here]. My site visitors would appreciate your content as I think we appeal to the same demographic group. My site, http://www.mysitename.com, focuses on [my site content] and would likely be of value to your visitors. I’d like to suggest we trade links.

Sincerely,
John

A typical response might say that they would appreciate the link to their site and offer to provide a reciprocal link. To facilitate this, you should either have the HTML for the link ready to send or have it available on your site, or both. Make sure you have your most important keyword in the text around the link to your site to ensure that you score as high as possible in the link relevancy category.

Make sure to follow through and follow up. If you said that you would provide a reciprocal link, do so within 24 hours. Follow up to make sure that your site has been linked from theirs, the link works properly, and it is linked to the right page on your site.

Then remember to send a thank you. Because they are doing you a favor by adding your site to their Web site, you should strive to develop a good relationship with them. This way they might be more generous with the link they give you. They might place it higher on the page, or even offer you the opportunity of having a small graphic link on their page, which would be dynamite for increasing traffic to your site.

Another way to get links is to ask for them on your site. You can use the ShareThis or AddThis button as reviewed in Chapter 5 on viral marketing. You can provide the links to Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and other popular social bookmarking and sharing services. In a prominent location on your site, you can place a link that says something like, “Would you like to provide a link to this site? Click here.” Link this message to a separate page that holds several options for links. You can provide viewers with several different sizes of graphics they could place on their Web site. You can also provide them with a thumbnail icon, the HTML, and your tag line, which they could simply copy and paste into the HTML code on their Web site. Again, remember to select appropriate keywords to include in the text around the link to increase your link relevancy score with the popular search engines.

Quite often, if you offer viewers these opportunities for links, you have a better chance of receiving these enhanced link features. If you make it easier for them to add the link, they will be more willing to provide it.

You might want to offer an incentive to people who provide you with a link. Include viewers who provide a link to your site in a drawing for a prize. You might run a contest such as “Provide a link to us and win,” where you include all those sites linking to you in a drawing once a week or once a month, depending on the size of the prize.

You might need to prompt sites to provide promised links. If you have made an arrangement for a link and find that the link is not there, it is appropriate to send an email reminder. When sending the follow-up email, include your icon, HTML, URL, and any other helpful information.