Digging for Links
This article goes into some of the legitimate strategies for dealing with link exchange programs, getting people to add a link to your site on their page, and increasing your Google Page Rank, by gaining links from other sites.
A better Google Page Rank (PR) will improve your search engine ranking, and thus deliver increased traffic to your site.
If you don't have the Google Toolbar installed, you should definitely install it now.
Method 1 - Link Backtracking
Instead of looking around for nice sites, and then asking if they're interested in a link exchange with you, just scout around and look at where other people are getting links from.
- Visit a site that's similar in topic to your site. (I do this with many Photoshop sites.)
- Go to Google.com and type "link:www.nameofyoursite.com", or, on the Google Toolbar, click the i symbol, and select "Backward Links." (This will list all the pages that have links pointing to the current page.)
- Click on every link, opening each one in a new window. Close all the pages with Page Rank less than 5. (They're not worth bothering with.)
Voila, you've just bypassed a whole lot of work. This process takes you straight to the Links page of a number of reasonable sites. ...and because they link to other sites, they'll probably link to you too!
I have come across a number of juicy pages this way.
Method 2 - The Mass Production Line
Once you've done lots of backtracking, you can move onto an easier (but less nutritious) source of links.
- Do a search for these phrases - "add url" "submit url" "add a site" "submit a site" "add a link" "link exchange". (You can put a term that's relevant to your site in there too, like "Adobe Photoshop.")
- This should provide you with a big list of pages that have a simple link exchange feature. (Though most will be over-populated link site or banner farm sites.)
- Use their "Add URL" feature, and have your site's description pre-written, so you can just paste it into the box. Your browser should "remember" the rest of the information. If it's not a simple case of filling in a few boxes, or they want a link back from you, just leave it and go to the next site.
Method 3 - The Link Exchange Box
The best way to get links is to have people do it for you. Using a server-side language (hard) or a Microsoft FrontPage form (very easy), you can ask people to fill in their site's details, and link to you. If you have FrontPage, just try putting in a Form. It's unbelievably easy.
I have this system implemented on my site, and it's used regularly. The form emails their details to me, I check that they've linked to me, and I add them to the appropriate links section of my site.
Method 4 - Using Abnormalities to Search for the Pot of Gold
It usually takes months or years of work and link exchanging to get to Page Rank 7. Getting a link from a page with Page Rank 9 will probably take you there overnight.
- Do a search on Google for a short term that's relevant to your site, and have a look through the results. Major corporations and well-known websites will probably fill up the top twenty positions on the list.
- Keep going down the list, until you find a site with a long address. (Any site with a long address is probably not a major site, or is a subpage of a larger site.)
- If the site has Page Rank 7 or higher, but doesn't look like it's a major site, use the Google Toolbar to look through the site's Back Links.
- If the site has several hundred, or thousands of back links, nothing is amiss. Try another site.
- If the site has very few back links, there must be one very juicy backlink in there somewhere. Find it, and see if the place will give you a link too.
I found a few very small-time Adobe Photoshop sites with Page Rank 7. Upon further examination, I found that they all had a link from a page at Adobe with Page Rank 9 (Adobe is one of only 50 or so sites to have Page Rank 10).
I'm prodding Adobe (very hard) to give me a link. :)
Method 5 - Following the Rainbow
In the above "Pot of Gold" method, you track down a page that has somehow got a very high-PR link pointing to it, and see where it comes from.
The method I call "following the rainbow" is the opposite of the Pot of Gold method. You start at the top, and follow the links down until you find a page that will give you a link.
Think of the flow of Page Rank as being like water flowing from one puddle to the next.
The 50 or so Page Rank 10 sites exude Page Rank like a massive torrent.
You'll never get right to the source of all that Page Rank, but you only need to get close to that torrent to get a very good flow.
Go to one of those Page Rank 10 sites (e.g. Microsoft, Adobe, Nature.com, Amazon etc).
They will never give you a link from that page. Don't even bother asking.
Follow a link leading from the main page of that site to another site. For instance, there could be a little link to the company that designed the website. The site receiving that link would probably have a Page Rank of 9 due to that link alone.
On the site that you come to, check if they have a links section. If they do, ask for a link - their links page may have a Page Rank of 7 or 8, which would give you a huge boost if you were on it.
If there isn't a good links page, you can always keep following the links, but remember that every time you follow a link, the Page Rank will probably be one less each time.
Once you get down to Page Rank 6, you might as well go back to where you started, as the torrent has become just a small stream.
This is the most entertaining method of link-hunting in my opinion. I've found some real corkers doing this :)
Method 6 - The Puffer-Fish
Once you start moving up the Page Rank food chain, you'll find the only way to make significant progress is by getting links from pages with high Page Rank (e.g. 8). It's worth doing, but it's not easy.
Everyone wants links from major sites, but those places aren't interested in you unless you're really big... or you LOOK and ACT really big :)
You'll basically need to write them an online letter... but not just any letter. The following letter is based on the template I use.
- Start by being complimentary, and telling them how you found out about their site.
I found your site through the resources section of Bob's Web Resources, and have found your tutorials to be most valuable.
(Even if you haven't read their tutorials.) It's a good opener. Do check that they have "tutorials". :)
- Introduce yourself. Give your name, and a lofty title. Ask politely. Don't say "my site" - you want to give the impression that your site is a commercial enterprise, not your weekend hobby. :) Don't mention "link exchange" or "link to my site", or anything blatant like that.
I'm Oswald Anklebiter, Administrator of Oswald's Emporium (www.oswalds-emp.com). I would like to submit the site for consideration for your resources section.
- Give some figures. It's up to you how much you want to exaggerate your site traffic. 2000 visitors a month is better put as "thousands". This is the bit that will really interest them.
Oswald's Emporium is visited by thousands of prospective customers each month. I could certainly direct many of those visitors to your site.
- Make your signature look professional.
Thank you for your time.
These are all methods I employ, and will hopefully help you in your quest to get traffic to your site.