SEM: Make the Right Connections
2. Build real business or personal relationships with the owners of other sites that are compatible with yours. There’s value in strategic partnerships. I’ve walked into local antique shops that carry maps in the entrance areas of their buildings showing all the other antique shops in the area. The stores have recognized that their visitors are more likely to stick around if they can make a day of shopping.
3. Instead of asking for reciprocal links from other Web sites, explore alternative methods of building links, by doing such things as providing testimonials or writing articles for other sites—or even guest blogging.
4. Create an application, tool, glossary or tutorial to which others will refer their visitors. Provide value to Web site owners in an area that is relevant to your site, and they may entrust their visitors to you.
5. If the site is a topical directory, provide useful information about the sites listed within. It should be easy to use and have the potential to send traffic to your pages from people who might be interested in what you have to offer.
6. Look at your competitors, and try to determine what information or services they aren’t providing that you believe you can supply. Just because you are vying with others doesn’t mean you have to meet the competition head-to-head in the information that you provide to your audience or the tasks you help visitors accomplish. Look for keywords that may be missing from other sites, or even simple things like a glossary of terms or how-to information.
Some things to look for in sites you link to from your pages:
1. Is there a real person (or people) behind the site, including an About Us page and contact information?
2. Is it the kind of site your audience will appreciate and consider bookmarking? Are you showing visitors the same care in providing a link to a site that you would in convincing them to return to your site on a regular basis?
3. What does it do to stand out from others? What about the site is remarkable? If you link to a news story on your pages, do you choose a version that’s run on a news wire—and is available on hundreds of sites—or do you link to a newspaper article that is local to where the event took place and provides details the news wire article may not? Or do you link to a large newspaper that provides exclusive information and a high level of credibility? Showing some discrimination in what and where you link is something visitors will notice.