20 Nov, 2008 in Link Building by

Building Effective Link Relationships

As you build your website to attract readers and potential buyers, you will want to consider the content that goes into each page

For an author selling a book, naturally there should be material designed to entice readers to purchase: an excerpt of the book, glowing reviews, and the necessary call to action in a means to make an online purchase

Oftentimes, to enhance a site’s relevancy on a particular topic, outbound links are included for visitors to sample after they have browsed the site

“Outbound” here refers to links leading the visitor off the website

While it may helpful to provide outside information to visitors, it is a combination of the quantity and quality of inbound links that better determines your site’s ranking in relevant search

Note, in the case of website seeking attention from Google, Yahoo, and other major engines, that quality is the key word

Is it better to have a website linked from a thousand mediocre, irrelevant websites, or from fifty strong, relevant sources? Search engine optimizaton methods have long been debated since SEO became a legitimate industry, but the fact remains, regardless of what is effective, that link popularity is one of the most important elements of site optimization

More so than proper META data implementation and URL submission, strong link popularity lets search engines know which websites are the most reputable and relevant to various searches

That said, for an author or musician, or online retailer seeking to build quality inbound links, it is necessary to research and sift the wheat from the chaff

Building good link relationships can be simple or challenging, depending upon the nature of your website

As you look into this type of site promotion, take care to consider a few things:

1) Organic links always trump reciprocal links

It is said that you know a site is truly relevant to a particular subject when many websites link directly to it without being asked

These are known as “organic” links

Websites for major news sources and companies like CNN, Yahoo, and ESPN may enjoy high popularity through constant linking via news sites, weblogs, and sports sites

Amazon

com may benefit from association with many sites relevant to books and music, while social sites like MySpace and YouTube offer cultural relevancy to weblogs and entertainment sites

Unfortunately, not every site can be an Amazon or MySpace

However, if your website offers a niche it is still possible to attract other site owners for a link relationship

An author I knew who wrote Christian fiction, for example, managed to establish linking relationships with various Christian organizations and ministries

By sending a few complimentary copies of her book, not only was she able to have the sites link to theirs, but she also procured favorable endorsements for the work

Take advantage of the niche your book brings to the community

If you write about sports, seek out websites related to your topic

If you write romance, find those websites

Connect with webmasters and readers, and offer samples of your work if necessary

2) Link farms and FFF sites may hurt more than help

Used to be (and to some extent you still see it) there were a number of services that offered to submit websites to thousands of search engines

To the novice webmaster, that may sound like a promising venture into search engine optimization, but at the end of the day the only search engines that make a difference are the ones used most by Internet users – Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other minor engines like AOL Search and Ask

The majority of these so called “engines” may turn out to be nothing more than pages using “parked” domain names (that is, a purchased URL not officially in use) to support coding full of search mechanisms drawn from other engines

Other sites may actually be link farms or FFA (free for all) sites, where anybody in the world can submit a site to attempt good link popularity

A closer inspection of some sites reveals they can do more to harm a site’s relevance in Google than help

FFA sites in particular are a haven for pornography portals and sites of dubious interest, while link farms might require a reciprocal link in order to be included

If the link in question is not relevant to your site, it wouldn’t make sense to engage in such a relationship

Tempting as it may be, it is recommended to avoid such sites

3) Webrings may not always be the answer

Many authors I know tend to sign up for webrings – which are strings of HTML code designed to link together sites of a given theme

Authors of romance, mystery, science fiction and other topics may join a webring, place the code on their website, and allow visitors to jump from site to site in the “ring” by clicking on this code

While the concept of the webring offers good intentions – the increased opportunity of visitors, for one – there are also disadvantages

Webrings are usually maintained by a single person, who must approve of each new member

A lax “ringmaster” may tend to neglect the ring, particularly if sites involved become defunct

Ring links leading to dead sites may also discourage visitors from using webrings – this often poses a problem for webrings that include hundreds of members

If you are considering adding your site to a webring, take care to explore the ring in question first

Check for dead sites and the quality of the sites involved

Some webrings, too, require bulky logo images with their code and placement on a particular page

If you are concerned about your page’s design, you may wish to look to other methods of link popularity

So how does one build effective link relationships for popularity? It is as simple as 1-2-3:

1) Build a fresh site of relevant content – information about your books/products, with content relevant to the topics

2) Research of quality websites with linking potential

3) Establishing a good relationship with webmasters of relevant content

As an author, your site need not be limited to information about the books you write

Expand the topics to include supplemental articles of interest to would-be readers

For fiction authors, offer free stories furthering the adventures of your characters

When approaching site owners for link consideration, be polite and detailed

Offer incentives wherever possible

If you write sports biographies, why not approach a collector or memoribilia retailer, and offer gift certificates to the shop in a monthly drawing for readers? Take every advantage you can think of to market your work, and if there is a possibility another site owner can benefit, make sure you emphasize that

As you meet other people on the Internet, you may find more avenues open to website promotion

Make your approaches armed with courtesy and knowledge, and you just may find your traffic and sales grow

– Ciniva Web Agency

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