Link Trading - SEO - Reciprocal Linking - Search Engine Optimization - Increased Page Rank - Page Ranking - Organic Search Results - Link Swapping

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Added: July 25, 2007

Dos and Donts of Link Partner Requests

Trading links is a common method webmasters and search engine optimization specialists use to increase their page ranking and improve their positions in organic search results.  Link trading is a simple concept.  Webmaster A posts a link to Webmaster B's site, and in exchange, Webmaster B posts a link to Webmaster A's site.  Search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, and use the number of incoming links a site has to calculate that site's importance, so while reciprocal link trading is not the only tactic used to optimize a website for search, it is an important one.  Because reciprocal linking is so important, you want to make sure to be a good link trade partner.  If you are attempting to manage your site's link trades personally, there are a few rules of etiquette to be followed.
First, make sure you have looked over the website with which you would like to trade.  Make sure that the content on that site is related to the content on your site; links are more valuable when they appear on related pages.  Additionally, most webmasters prefer to trade with similar sites.  For instance, an online window blinds store may work out a link trade with a home furnishings blog or a lighting store.  An auto insurance site might exchange links with a home or life insurance site.    

The next etiquette rule for link swapping is to follow the directions that are specified on the potential trade's web site.  Some sites include automated forms that allow trades to be managed without directly contacting the webmaster.  These forms, otherwise known as trade scripts, generally provide rules that govern where and how their reciprocal link must be placed.  Some common requirements are a similar page rank and the placement of the link on an index page rather than an internal page.  Even if you are swapping links directly with another site's webmaster, the site may have posted rules about trading.  Save your time and theirs by following them!

The third reciprocal linking rule involves page rank.  When requesting a large number of link trades on forums and other webmaster venues, consider your site's page rank when asking for links.  It is impolite and ineffective to ask for links from high PR sites when yours is a PR0 or PR1.  While some webmasters may be generous enough to offer their high ranking pages anyway, many will be turned off by a request for high ranking swaps only.  Be open to link trading with all sites; from an SEO perspective, it is more natural looking to have a diverse selection of incoming links.  

The fourth etiquette rule of link trading is to be prompt.  Once your partner has agreed to trade links, make sure to post their link promptly and as requested (many webmasters will request that a specific anchor text and description be used for their links).  Notify the webmaster as soon as you have their link up so that they can verify all the information for themselves and keep track of the links they have received.  

Finally, once you have completed a trade, do not remove the reciprocal link from your site without notifying the webmaster with whom you traded.  Most sites keep careful track of their trades and will be upset to see a link removed without notice. This could cause you to be blackballed from future trading, a bad fate for your site.

Networking for search engine marketing purposes can be fun and challenging.  Following the rules of etiquette for link trading can ensure that you receive many valuable trades, boost your site's ranking, and improve your presence on the web.  You may even find that you make some friends along the way!  
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