Linking Strategies for beginners

Developing a linking strategy and building a logical structure and design for your linking directory is a bit difficult and time consuming. Sure, you know linking is important, but how to start? In the following article I will try to give some tips and advise.

Let’s suppose you have a brand new website up and running. You have the original content, your structure is ok, your have optimized your site for some interesting keywords, you are confident that there are no irritating html errors and your spelling has been checked. You have put some advertising and some news feeds and you are ready to promote your site.

You want to promote your site through search engine optimization (SEO) and linking. The best part is that both can be done for free and you can get a lot of help doing it. But when you start linking, most advice will tell what NOT to do and it will not help you in any way how to get your first links. Actually, it is impossible to do it right from the start, so we will have to find ways to bend the rules a bit and to find the permissible limits.

Should you use a link manager or linking software?

I would strongly advise against starting with those. Linking software and managers are all very pre-fabricated and not very easy to personalize. Of course it is easy if you have a scripts that allows visitors to send their link request to you, but when you still do not have a lot of traffic that will not mean a lot. And when you still do not have a lot of links (less than 100) you can easily manage them yourself. Use the advantage you have to build your own system and build your own pages. It is very important that your linking pages look the same and have the same design your content pages have: it shows your dedication and you can optimize them more easily. The only advantage you have when you start is that you can invest quite some time to get your links and take a personal angle and approach.

Now let’s see what you SHOULD do when you  want to start linking and that is in your own hands to do.

First of all: your linking directories should be themed. If you can put the links to your themed directories on your home page, that would be great! But most people already have a lot of links on their home page and it is not wise to exceed 50 links per page, so most of us will have to create a links directory page. Give it a descriptive name (friends, partners, interesting sites etc), but do not use the “reciprocal links” or “theme index” names because some search engines don’t like them. Your linking pages should be 1 or (at the most) 2 clicks away from your home page. A “search my site” box should be added to further help visitors because most people hate it when they cannot find their link easily.

Think a bit about those themes before you make your pages. What kind of themes would interest your visitors? What kind of sites would be willing to link to you? Find some competitors and complementary sites and take a look at the themes they have in their linking directories and use those to build your own themes. Of course these themes should be related to the content of your site. Mostly these theme directories have names reflecting the BIG keywords like “web hosting”, “work at home” “freebies” etc that target those sites, but that of course depends on the content of your site and your target group.