Linking - what a mess if you don't know what's going on. Either linking is "IN" or it's "OUT" according to what you read these days.
Here's the good news: Linking Works.
Here's the bad news: HOW It Works Has Changed!
The good thing is you are going to pick up a linking tip today that will put you light years ahead of most webmasters who think a reciprocal link directory is all you need to gain link popularity in Google and traffic from other sites.
Link directories are still ok, but the key is moderation. Directories with thousands of links are a dark ages website promotion tactic.
Today there are many people focusing on content again, thank god. And that means you have a lot more real estate than just a home page and a link directory to work with.
People have written to me to completely disagree with me on what I am about to show you, but believe the expert, it works!
Say you have 500 pages of article and resource content on your site. If you are publishing articles on several categories you could have many more pages than that.
But even if you only have a 30 page site right now, it should be growing all the time and will be large eventually. (If not, forget about Google staying excited about your site if it never changes.)
Each of those articles and resource pages is a link to your site waiting to happen.
There are two ways to get links to your site here:
1) Ask for a link to your main page in exchange for a link on one of your relevant article pages to the site you are requesting an exchange with.
2) Deep Linking: Ask for a link right back to the specific page on your site you are going to link to them on. Again, find relevant pages of content to the sites you are going after. People respond well to this, especially if you say you are limiting your outgoing links to "further resources" to 5 per page. (The number is up to you.)
What does this do for your site?
1) It gets webmasters WAY more excited about linking with you because you are putting them ON your site, not in some cobweb-ridden part of your site that no one ever visits.
2) It lets other site owners know you have ACTUALLY taken the time to review their site enough to know where they would best fit on your site according to the topic of the page you want to link to them on. Again - this is a way different message to them than the "Let's swap links" letter we all trash these days.
3) You start building link popularity and traffic direct to pages within your site other than your index. (If you choose to direct swap with them.)
4) It gives you leverage to ask for a better link from other sites than just being thrown in their link dump (link directory) where, again, far fewer people ever visit. You command the power to ask for a similar link of importance from the pages their visitors actually see. Win-Win.
5) You increase the value of your links page because you are not loading it down with any and every person who will link with you. You can go back to old school linking to sites that you HONESTLY do recommend and that list can be far smaller and really fit on 1-2 pages. All the sudden you have traffic to your links page again and can truly reward webmasters who are on it with some traffic.
6) The links you get this way are going to be some of the first links you have probably ever gotten that actually send you significant traffic. The same goes for your link partners.
"But Jack, I don't want to send traffic away from my site!" Yes you do, in fact. Because you are asking your link partners to do the same. Links like this are just as profitable in the long run as Google Adsense ads because you are finally engaging in a real traffic exchange and leveraging your eproperty for what it's really worth. Trust me - this works. Send some traffic out and see what happens to your referrer stats.
Never give more than you get. Many people won't understand this form of linking for another year or so. They will try to shove your link in a dark hole on their site. Don't let them do it!
If someone doesn't understand the power of deep linking from their content pages, send them this article as a last ditch effort and tell them Jack said so. Otherwise, move on, take their link down, and find someone smart enough to see where linking is headed.
Overall, you are going to find it is much easier to get links this way, even from sites bigger than yours. Telling people "I want to link to you as a recommended resource on (name of article) page..." tells them that you are a pro and not some schmuck who has a linking program that spits out cookie cutter emails.
Too much work? Hire someone and pay them per link they secure in your name. Write the letter and have them fill in the blanks for specific sites. Teach them how to go through your site, learn the content, and go out and find RELEVANT recommended resources for each page.
You'd be surprised to find out how cheaply you can get good work done these days on Elance.com and other "for hire" sites.
Sit back and watch your incoming QUALITY links soar from month to month!
Copyright 2005 Jack Humphrey
Jack Humphrey is the author of Power Linking 2: Evolution at http://power-linking-profits.com and marketing consultant for http://webfoxmedia.com.