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Reciprocal Linking in a Nutshell

By Alan Grissett
Posted Saturday, October 16, 2004

As you probably know, one of the main differences between Web media and traditional print media such as books, magazines, etc., is the ability to jump to topics of interest through hyperlinks in the documents you read. From a marketing standpoint, this can create very targeted traffic.

For example, a visitor to a medical reference site who is reading an article related to diabetes management would very likely click on a link to another site specializing in blood glucose monitoring systems. It would be in the best interest of the site providing the blood glucose monitoring systems to try to solicit a link from the reference site. Vice versa, by providing a link to the reference site, the site offering the blood glucose monitoring systems would provide a valuable reference source to its customers. Similar benefits could be imagined from the perspective of the medical reference site as well. A common linking arrangement would be for both sites to provide links to each other. This is known as reciprocal linking, and it can be the source of very targeted, well-qualified traffic to your Web site.

The key to successful reciprocal linking is based on two things: finding the right sites to solicit links from and the positioning of the link within each site. You must first find sites that are somehow related to the product or service you are offering, and contact the owner or Webmaster of those sites to arrange a link trade. (Posting their link first is a sign of good faith on your part.) In positioning the link, make sure that it is located in an accessible part of your site - but not too accessible; You don't want your traffic being diverted by the red, bold-faced, "Click Here for My Friend's Amazing Site" link on your home page. Likewise, make sure that the link you receive from the other site is in a decent location.

About the Author
Alan is the lead developer for InfoServe Media, LLC (http://www.infoservemedia.com/), a Web development company that specializes in Web site design, hosting, domain name registration, and promotion for small businesses.