The Ten Commandments of Linking
Posted Friday, November 12, 2004
I’ve been teaching people the virtues of linking the right way for a long time in my book, “Gorilla Website Marketing”. However, there are many people out there that just haven’t got it figured out yet. It seems that we are in the middle of a “linking crisis” and it’s time that I did my part in helping to stop it before it gets out of hand!
Right now, I’m getting about 20 link requests a day from webmasters that haven’t a clue about the right way to link! So I decided to write the “Ten Commandments of Linking” to cover all the basics for effective linking. If somebody told you to read this article, you just might be violating one of them! If you are, don’t worry about it, you’re not going to go to hell or anything. But you might just get banned on Google and that’s almost worse than going to hell! Your website’s search engine rankings and traffic ALWAYS go up when you do linking right so study them carefully and figure out if you’re doing anything wrong!
#1) Thou Shall Always Put Up A Link BEFORE Asking For A Link
Putting up a link to someone before you ask them for a link is proper linking etiquette and is much more effective than the alternative. If you’re going to ask somebody for a link then don’t waste their time unless you’ve already linked to them. This shows that you are serious about linking with their site and haven’t just spammed the universe asking for links! And if you tell somebody that you’ve linked to them, be sure that you really have. Otherwise, you’ve just lost your credibility. By the way, always tell your prospective link partner exactly how to link to your site. I do this on all my sites. For an example of how I do this, just go to one of my link info page here:
#2) Thou Shall Not Build Link Farms
I’m seeing this commandment being violated more all the time. Some people are in such a rush to get links that they try to link to EVERYBODY. They don’t have any type of cohesive theme to their link directories. They are just a mish mash of totally unrelated websites thrown together – in other words a “link farm”!
Think about the types of sites you want to link with and build a useful directory that is complementary to what you are offering. For example, my website, 5 Star Shine, sells a unique type of car wax that lasts for 5 years. If you look at my Automotive Link Directory on this website, you’ll notice that I have built a nice directory about anything related to cars. Since I sell a car related product, the people that will find useful information in my directory are also a great source of potential customers. I’m building a useful resource and that’s why I’ve been so successful with this directory. Pick some kind of a niche that is complementary to what you are offering and build a great themed directory. For example, if you sell merchandise, you might build a gift directory. That’s what I did with my website, 5 Star Closeouts. Since the people that are in my “gift directory” on this site are also potential buyers of my closeout merchandise, it’s a great way to build a useful resource AND let potential customers know about my website. This seems to be working really well.
#3) Thou Shall Not Hide Thy Link Directory!
This one really makes me want to smite somebody! Some guy will ask you for a link, but when you go to his home page, you look around for 10 minutes and can’t find a way to get to his link area from there. Most of these jokers are just trying to be sneaky and not let their customers ever find the link directory. My general rule is that I require a link to the link directory be prominently displayed on the home page. If I can’t find it in 15 seconds or less, chances are nobody else will and it’s of no value to me!
#4) Thou Shall Have No More Than 50 Links On One page.
Actually, 50 links on one page is really pushing it in my opinion. If you have more than 50 links on one page then you are doing something wrong. Google now ignores most web pages that contain more than about 50 links because many are just link farms. When I see the 4th Commandment being broken, it’s usually because somebody is trying to have just one page of links. Of course, there usually violating the 2nd commandment also because the site is usually a link farm too! It’s very important that your links are broken up into relevant categories and that each one isn’t over 50 links. To do this properly, you can use a program like Zeus to organize your links properly. This is the program that I use on all my sites and it’s been the key for my own number one rankings. If you’d like a discount on Zeus, be sure to get a Gorilla Marketing membership at (http://www.gorillawebsitemarketing.com/membership.html)
#5) Thou Shall Only Ask For a Link When It Makes Sense For Both Websites!
This is a pet peeve of mine actually. I can’t stand when some idiot wants me to add their Thailand hotel website to my 5 Star Shine automotive directory! I don’t know what planet these people come from, but they need to get a clue! Remember, you need to be building a valuable resource with your link directory. If you are marketing a hotel in Thailand, then build some kind of a travel theme into your link directory, or maybe a link directory of all the things to do in Thailand perhaps. Be creative but always keep this in mind. Your goal is to build a resource that will attract the kind of people that would be interested in what you’re offering. If you do this right, your business will pick up dramatically because your link directory will always be attracting potential customers.
#6) Thou Shall Always Tell Others Where Their Link Is
Don’t make someone hunt for 10 minutes on your website to verify that you posted their link. Just give them the URL where you’ve put the link or tell them what category you posted them in. Everybody’s time is valuable and nobody wants to hunt for their link for very long.
#7) Thou Shall NOT SPAM For Link Requests
If you send email to unrelated web sites in your link directory just because you want to possibly get a link, then you are spamming in mind and spirit. The webmaster who receives this kind of email is not going to be a happy camper because your web site does not remotely match their web site and has nothing to offer their visitors. The webmaster is most likely just going to delete your email but if you catch them on a bad day, he might report you to the spam police. Either way you lose! Make sure you only send email to sites that match your chosen theme and tell them exactly what page you’d like to see your link on in the letter. That way the person that gets your email will know that you’ve actually been to their site and that cared enough to tell them where to stick your link!
#8) Thou Shall Keep Thy Link Requests Short And Sweet!
Don’t tell people your whole life story when you ask for a link because they really don’t care! When I get a link request, I’m looking at these factors.
Is this site somewhat related to my site and does it fit in my link directory theme?
Has this person already linked to me?
Can I easily find their link area from the home page?
Does this site have a coherent theme or is it just a link farm?
Is the page that my link is on have less 50 links or less?
Does at least the home page of the site have some Google PageRank? If not, then I’ll probably let it slide if the site is fairly new.
So in your link request letter, just tell them where their link is and where in their directory you’d like to be placed. Also, give me them the description that you’d like to use for your website’s listing too. That’s all they need to know.
#9) Thou Shall Always Keep Thy Word
If you tell somebody that you’re going to upgrade them to link partner status then make sure you do it right away or let them know when they can expect it to be done. Update your link directory promptly and always keep your word to your link partners. They did give you a link when you asked for it and therefore deserve your respect.
#10) Thou Shall Not Take Down Your Link Partner's Link
If you give somebody a link then don’t delete it when you think nobody’s looking! I’ve seen people try to pull one over on me by getting a link then deciding to delete their entire link directory a few months later! These people must think that a link directory is just something that do for a while and then delete when you have some links or something. Linking is not just something you do for a bit and then throw away - it’s a total way of life dude! When you’re doing linking right, you’re building a valuable resource that will get lots of traffic.
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Give Away This Article And Help Stop The Linking Crisis!
If you’re a webmaster, you’re probably sick and tired of people doing linking wrong and wasting your precious time too. Well, here’s your chance to do something about it! Just give this article away to anybody that you see violating any of the 10 Commandments of Linking. You're free to give this article away anyway you wish. With your help, we can stamp out the current linking crisis in our lifetime!
Wishing You Success!
About the Author
Glenn Canady teaches fellow entrepreneurs how to get traffic to their website with his course Gorilla Website Marketing.