A web site is known by the links it keeps

The evolution of a website is quite interesting. The various stages that a website goes through, right from when it was conceptualized, to when it starts receiving traffic, is quite insightful and exciting.

How does a web site get to a stage when it starts to get noticed and receives traffic?

Search engine robots crawl the web often and when they find new links they index it in their database. This happens pretty soon. Almost as soon as you launch your web site, you will find that the search engines have indexed your site.But, this is just the beginning, how will people find you? If they know your web site URL, they will reach you, or if they know the name of your company, they will perhaps type that in the search box and find you, but those kinds of searches will be very few. You want every possible relevant visitor to visit your site. Right?

That’s the time when you start working on the Internet marketing promotion plan for your web site. And that’s when you come across Link exchange programs and Link exchange sites. You will find emails from webmasters requesting you to exchange links with them. The internet is full of Link exchange programs that promise to boost your Website’s Page Rank and that in turn will help you secure better rankings on the Internet!

Experience tells me that link exchanges do not help. Unless, there is a purpose, it really does not help. Links are meant to help your visitors. Exchanging links with a site just because some amount of PR will flow into your site, is meaningless.

Overtime, this will harm rather than help your visibility on the internet.

There are many sites that have pages and pages in their web site devoted to 100s of external “links”, who is visiting these links? Are these links helpful for their visitors? Unless, the website is a web directory that lists web sites in categories, I don’t see any reason for any site to have pages with 100s of external links. However, if you are writing an article and you provide a link as reference so that your visitors get some value out of visiting that page, linking makes sense. These are purely one way links, you referred or mentioned a link because you think that will be helpful, but you don’t expect that site to link back to you.

By meaninglessly linking with a whole bunch of irrelevant sites, you may be doing your reputation more harm than good. Think before you get into such link exchange programs because your reputation is at stake here. You want to be known as a web site that cares for its visitors rather than a web site that just wants to fluff up its PR by any means possible. Sooner or later, you (web site) will get linked with the friends (link exchange sites) you keep, and if they do not have a good reputation, you will also be considered like them.

On the other hand, you do not have any control on who links to you. If webmasters decides to link to you they will. You can’t control that, and I think it is a good sign that someone wants to link to you. So this is all good. But what if a completely irrelevant site decides to link to you? You can’t do much about it, if you don’t feel good about being linked to that site, you can ask the webmaster to remove your link, but it cannot harm you because you have no control over that.

What is of major concern and what can eventually harm you is opting in to the strategy of obtaining incoming links purely for the purpose of increasing the PR of your page.

When you come up with an Internet marketing strategy, for every action item, ask yourself, what am I expecting out of this? Will this be good for my visitors?

Consider this, if you are visiting a site and you come across a page in that site that just has links on it, links without any specific purpose. Would you want to click on those links, or will you be put off?

Instead, if you focus on creating a web site with easy to use navigation that employs SEO best practices for internal linking, and for external linking, it will benefit you tremendously.Providing your visitors a good experience by making your website user friendly, and providing content that the visitors are looking for, should be your focus. When you are planning on an effective internet marketing solution for your website, please do not include link exchange sites in your plan.

The focus should be more on creating content and not on exchanging links.Overtime if your site is relevant and useful to your visitors, you will find that webmasters will link to you.

Some of the ways by which you can get quality incoming links is by getting your website registered in Industry specific sites that will bring you relevant traffic. You can blog about subjects that you know of. Get involved in helping people at the forums, and start generating goodwill, the rest will follow. Remember, this will not happen overnight, so keep at it. It will help you in the long run.

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