I always get excited whenever I get a link from a reputable site. My traffic increases and my Google rankings go up.
Recently, I got a link to one of my blogs that surprised me. I had not really targeted the blog that linked to me. All I had done was leave a couple of comments. Also, I had linked to him telling my readers to check out his blog.
I checked out the post where he linked to me. On this post, he welcomed my readers and gave an overview of his blog.
This event reminded me of the effectiveness of linking to other sites to build links to your own site.
I’ll Scratch Your Back If You Scratch Mine
Linking to other sites, or “linking out”, works because of human nature. If you do a favor for someone, they’ll often return the favor.
Many bloggers understand the value of links. They know how hard it is to get links especially in the beginning, so they are appreciative whenever they get one.
Also, the web is now a social network instead of just a place to get information. The new PR for businesses is personal relationships instead of public relations. In this environment, a link is the equivalent to a compliment or a personal recommendation.
And just like in the offline world, if you compliment someone, you’ll probably get one back (at least in the long term).
I Thought Reciprocal Linking was Not Effective
You may have heard that reciprocal links are not as effective as one-way links. This is true, but what many people don’t realize is that a reciprocal link is better than no link at all. I’ve had one site that got a good amount of traffic and 95% of its links were reciprocal links.
Also, in the long term, reciprocal links lead to one way links because of the traffic and exposure you receive. Each reciprocal link is going to send you some traffic. Some of the people who follow the link to your blog have their own blog. If they like your blog, they may link to you in the future.
And don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. Each person that visits your blog may know a blogger. If you have good content, they will probably tell their blogger friend about your blog. This often leads to a link from that blogger.
With traffic and exposure being the key, you’ll want to link to sites that get a lot of traffic. I use these two simple methods to evaluate a site’s traffic volume.
If it’s a blog, I check to see if they have a consistent stream of comments (an average of 5 or more per post).
Looking at the site’s Alexa Rank also helps. Any site with a rank of 500,000 or lower will probably send a good amount of traffic. Alexa Rank is not the most accurate measure of traffic, but for the most part, I find that the lower the Alexa Rank of a site, the more traffic it will send.
Finally, reciprocal links are definitely easier to build. This goes back to my first point. If you link to a site, that site is much more likely to link to you than if you didn’t link to it.
Other Sites in Your Industry are Friends not Competitors
Think of other sites and blogs in your niche not as competitors but as friends.
Why do car dealerships build next to each other? Why are the food shops in a mall located in the same place? To share traffic.
The same principle applies for linking out. There are no physical food courts on the internet. However, if you link out to the blogs you want to be associated with, you can setup a “virtual food court” and share in their traffic as they link back to you.
Over to You
How often do you link out? Have you received any links?