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Gettin’ Jiggy With the Link Requests

August 31, 2011

I run several websites, one of which is focused on Distance Learning. You may recall I wrote early last year about a method for trying to sell the site through LinkedIn Groups. The result of that excursion was fruitful in the sense that I did get many leads, but in the end I passed on selling the site as I wasn’t satisfied with the highest offer received.

I still own the site, and these days I now get regular requests for link trades. But I’m not a big fan of link trading, 3-way link exchanges, or the sort.  My personal opinion is that one needs to be prudent about link-trades and that the practice ought to be applied sparingly.

While backlinks are super-important for SEO, I’m certain that the Google algorithm is advanced enough to see through most thinly veiled link-tradery. The last thing I want to do is give a spammy semblance to a site that I took good care to build and nurture.

So what do I do in these link-request situations? I get creative.

To give you two concrete examples below, here are actual responses that I sent out this morning to incoming link-trade requests …

But FIRST! 😀

Okay, back to our examples:

Example 1

Hi Harry,

I am looking for links from social media.  I will publish your link to my site only if you can either send out a tweet with a link to my site from the ______-______.org Twitter account or post my site on your ______-______.org Facebook wall.  let me know. thanks

Note:  In this case, their Twitter account has 754 followers, and their Facebook page has 363 likes.

Why I like this: I think the social media mention to a large group of followers is much more valuable than just a link from a page on what is usually a site of low-authority.  Remember that the social media mention is still a link, too, and will get crawled by the search engines, AND it also shows that your site is being talked about and gives it a dose of popularity/credibility in the algos.  With any luck a tweet also has the chance to be retweeted and seen by many more followers.  It’s really a double-bonus.

Example 2

Hi Simon,

Thanks for the offer.  Unfortunately I’m not too interested in a link from the site you mentioned.  However, here’s what I’d be interested in.  I will place a link for up to 3 of your client sites on my website, and in exchange, what I would like is for you to include a blurb in your upcoming Newsletter about my website’s “Life Stories” section – [Link]

I can write up the copy to include with the link in your newsletter.  It won’t need to be much,  just a brief highlight of maybe a few sentences.

What do you say?

Why I like this: Although it won’t get you an actual crawlable, indexable link in a search engine (unless the newsletter publisher posts their newsletter archives online, which some do), I know that email marketing is still considered to deliver the highest ROI of any online marketing.  Depending on the size and quality of their subscriber list, this could give your site some great, targeted exposure.

At the least you should get a spike of traffic, and while this is great in itself, what I think this particular strategy is really geared best for is to try to funnel the recipients into some specific actionable goal on your website (i.e. conversion).  In my case, the “Life Stories” section I referenced is a place that I’ve created for distance learning students to share their experiences with online school.  This is a section of the site that has struggled to gain traction, so I’m hoping the newsletter mention will generate some interest and some new story submissions.

I hope this has given you some good ideas about how to get jiggy with link requests.  If you have any other strategies feel free to drop a comment.  Thanks!


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