Feature Article (Pub:April 04) Link Affiliation - Some simple tips by Paul Rudman

Exchanging links to other websites is a beneficial method of increasing traffic to your own site. Say you are a real estate firm focused on selling property within a specific County or State, you could provide links to local solicitors, house movers, and offer links to local businesses that all revolve around the purchase of a house in your area. By exchanging links to all the local sites you are also going to get increased traffic from their websites, benefiting by receiving targeted traffic if they are popular sites.

Another key benefit to having sites link to yours is the effect on search engine rankings. Although Search engine optimisation is commonly believed to involve 'optimising' your web pages to be search engine friendly, it is also crucial to have links to your site to attain good ranking placement. The more links there are to you, the more you are regarded as an authority on the chosen subject of your website.

I've put together some key points to consider when planning your link affiliation strategy:-

Create a "links" or "recommended resource" page on your website
If you consider link exchange you need a page to put the links you add (These could be broken down into service/ product or demographically for example).
Sell your website in link exchanges
If you receive 10,000 visits per month, make sure that whoever you are approaching is aware of this - it will encourage them to exchange links or banners if they can expect a good number of referrals from you.
Use search engines to find link affiliates
The best place to find partners for link exchange is using search engines and online resources such as local directories and local newspaper websites. If you can find them using Google or MSN for example, then Internet users will also find them. Remember, the more links to your website the better!
Make sure that when a site links to you that the URL to your website is actually hyperlinked
Search engines will not follow text links, and so they will not count in your favour in terms of improving your search engine rankings.
Consider different exchange options
For example, you should have some common-sized logos that you can provide to other websites. Pictures of a beautiful location providing visual stimulation may encourage users to click on them, perhaps more so than just a plain text link.

Good luck with your link affiliation strategies. They are a cheap but important aspect of your web marketing campaign and can provide the dual benefits of increased targeted referrals as well as increasing your search engine rankings, which will also generate more traffic for your website.


Paul Rudman is the director and head of optimisation at CommerceTuned, he's been involved in developing search strategies and search engine optimisation for 7 years.

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