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  1. SEO Freak
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    Finding thematic link partners


    Luke has an excellent thread where he describes the use of allintext: to find relevant results. I don't want that thread to go off in a tangent as I also have a way.
    I wrote an article over a year ago on how to find potential link partners. Having re-read it, the content fits nicely in with the new authority and thematic linking we are seeing right now. I'm amending it to bring it up to date.

    Below the article, originally published in German December 2002.
    ________________________

    Building Link Popularity Effectively and for Free
    By Alan Webb

    Never before have incoming links from similarly related or sites of the same theme been so important. Search engine savvy webmasters have been looking at effective ways to build up link popularity for a long time. For Google however it wasn't (and still isn't) just the number of incoming links that is important, it is also the quality of links. Quality after the Florida and Austin updates no longer means sites of a high page rank, but sites that are authoritys and/or are on the same theme.


    The best links as mentioned should be thematic and should themeselves do well in what is known as the 'Oldscore' meaning the sites ranked reasonably well before the Florida and Austin updates. These sitres generally had good link popularity and therefore a high Google PageRank. I do not think it is coincidence that so many top rankings have a Google category listing as well. Meaning they have a DMOZ directory entry. Google is however several months out of date with updating its directory so some dmoz entries are not going to show in the google directory.

    Below is a 5 point plan for building effective and free link popularity based upon the new thematic and authority linking google appears to be weighting so highly at the moment.

    1. Do a Google search for your own keywords and similarly related terms. Check the results for those that have a directory listing (Gray link on normal results). eg. for the ABAKUS Internet Marketing website a good category might be...

    http://directory.google.com/Top/Worl...nkingservices/

    For my english pages I might consider, apart from the obvious search engine optimization categories, something like http://directory.google.com/Top/Busi...esources/Tips/

    I could even consider a category such as http://directory.google.com/Top/Comp...ster_Resources

    As you can see there are plenty to choose from with a little lateral thinking.

    Once you've done your search, click the "Category:" link to land at the appropriate Google directory category listing.

    2. One of the great things about the Google directory is that it lists websites in Google PageRank order. Although PageRank has lost a lot of its weight, a high pagerank is a good indication still of an authority site.

    3. Open excel or notepad and create a list of all the websites that have a Pagerank of 4 or more. No numeric pagerank value is given on mouse over, however, you can tell from the graphical bar the PageRank value (center = PR5). Create a list of all PR 4+ websites, you should also add a column for the webmasters / contact email address.

    4. Create an "Other Resources" or "Related Sites" web page somewhere on your website where you list the links you have in your excel table. Even list competitors sites! Important is to get a link from a thematic website. Of course you dont just link to competitors but also those sites that are similarly related and are likely to have your main keywords sprinkled just a couple of times in their site. In the case of ABAKUS for example that would be web design and web hosting websites amongst others.

    Once you have created a resources page, link up to it from your home page and place it online. What you now have should be a webpage entitled "Other Resources", or "Related Sites" with all the PR4+ websites you researched in 1-3.

    5. You are now ready to request the link! Keep your email short and personal. Something like what I have below should work well...

    "Dear [Webmaster / Name],

    I was surfing the net and came across your website [url]. I noticed it was a quality site and decided to include a link in my [related sites / Other resources] list on my similarly related website [url von link list].

    I believe our websites compliment each other well and would appreciate it if you could link back to me. The way search engines value link popularity and thematic linking since the Google Florida and Austin updates, mean we should both benefit from higher rankings on Google.

    I look forward to your reply.

    [your name]"

    The above works quite well. DO visit the site and make sure you try your hardest to get a full name to keep the email personalized. Dear Webmaster simply does not have the same effect as Dear David Johnson...

    You must already have a visible link to their web site before you ask for a link yourself! This is important, a webmaster may well now feel obliged to make the effort for you. If after 1 week there is no reply or no link back to your website, send out another email asking if they received your last email mentioning that it is only fair they reciprocate the link otherwise the link space will have to go for a website that is willing to give a link back, and that the link will be removed within 3 days otherwise. The vast majority of the webmasters you contact probably wouldnt have heard of Austin or Florida and the need for thematic linking. Be sure to emphasise that their ranking will get a boost as well due to the link from your own website.

    You should be able, in the vast majority of themes, to be able to find good link candidates and send out emails to at least 20-30 webmasters/contacts. If even only 50% of them agree to link back to you, then you may well get enough to become an authority on your theme. It really depends however on the competition and keywords. In some cases you may well need in excess of a hundred thematic links.

    If your site does have very good content, you will get linked to naturally. The very best way to get linkpopularity / thematic links is to build sites that webmasters find of value and which they voluntarily link to.

    The above can also be carried out on other quality directories. Consider Yahoo, Goguides, JoeAnt and of course the smaller more thematic directories that most themes will have.
    _____________________

    The above article was actually first written with a view to identifying sites with high pagerank. Funny how things change :-)

    Anyway, don't understand estimate the use of the Google directory. Yes, it is severly out of date, there are however a great deal of authority sites thematically sorted in them. And that is ideal.

    Alan
    What is a website without traffic?
    ABAKUS Internet Marketing
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    I prefer to stay away from reciprocal linking. That article doesen't seem to me a hot tip. It's just an old fashion practice.
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    Reciprocal linking isnt as bad now as many believe due to the fact pagerank is no longer the factor it used to be. The article is over a year old and I guess can be considered old fashioned. It is however back 'in' and although perhaps not the hottest of tips, It might well make your site an authority thereby recovering from Florida/Austin. It may well be old fashioned but I bet not many have bothered to actually implement it (work is involved ;-) )
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    Thanks for the article Webby. Great step by step "old fashion" ;-) guidance. Allready copied it into my usefull tips file, like most of the stuff you write
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    Thank you Webby!

    I have also saved it to my tips file. (I should just start a "Webby" folder

    Caryl
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    Hi Alan, I want to add my thanks for the very well written and useful article. I use the Google directory pretty much as you have described and those “old fashioned” methods usually result in PR5 to PR6 with high SERPs for my new web sites. Thanks again
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    Webby I must compliment you for placing well thought out articles continuously

    You are the only one, I think, please excuse me if I am wrong, from the hierachy who continues to put forward ideas.

    Thankyou
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    Webby are you saying to remove the links if the reciprocity is not returned?

    For years I did not use reciprocal links and maintained very high ranks in Google. It was only after I begin using reciprocal links, a year ago, that I begin to lose some keyword positions. It could have been more related to competition though. I use a variety of links now and they really don't seem to have much effect one way or the other on position.
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    If the webmaster doesnt reciprocate the link then I would definitely remove it. Its believed that outgoing thematic links could also help you so imo reciprocating is not the no-go area it used to be pre-florida. Don't forget off page criteria is just one part of the new algorithm, the other is site size. I've tested a good many sites now and I'm seeing either very many pages indexed or very many thematic inbound links or both. This is not theory, I'm seeing it and I've tested it on quite a few keywords and sites.

    Let me give you an example of a florida keyword from the top of my head...
    ummm, 'real estate las vegas'. It is according to the scroogle hitlist a florida filtered keyword (86 got hammered).
    Top 3 results...
    www.greatlasvegashomes.com
    www.las-vegas-home.net
    www.lvrealty.net

    Now lets see how many indexed pages they have (in brackets)...
    www.greatlasvegashomes.com (166)
    www.las-vegas-home.net (1,380)
    www.lvrealty.net (1,930)

    Here at first you may think we have an anomaly as the top site has only 166 pages indexed. However, a google backward link check shows that it is the site with the most backward links with 95. In fact the others only have half that (note it also has directory listing).

    So you need either a very large site or more backward links with as many on the same theme as possible. Hence reciprocal linking with sites of the same theme or similarly related is a good thing.
    The truth is it is not so easy to get links without a reciprocation unless you pay for it. I'm saying reciprocal linking is an option. Although of course one way links are better.

    Alan
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    Webby,
    I did the same type of analysis over the weekend.
    Results of top sites:
    Ppages) Llinks) PRpage rank)
    1) P:527 L:10 PR:5
    2) P:6,680 L:7,600 PR:3
    3) P:1280 L:139 PR:5
    4) P:3,090,000 L:52,700 PR:0
    5) P:313 L:211 PR:5
    6) P:16 L:8,200 PR:7
    7) P:4,620 L:238 PR:5
    etc.

    Caryl
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    I have been using the following letter asking for a non-reciprocating link with excellent results:

    I am interested in trading links but not to any url with “link” or “links” I it.

    The latest Google update has really hurt many webmasters and small businesses like ours. We have found one way to combat those changes. Many people believe that Google does not count reciprocal links the way they used to. So, we will add a link to http://www.YourSite.com from http://www.MyFirstSite.com/partners.htm ( a PR 5 page) . In turn, we ask that you link to one of our other sites, www.MySecondSite.com on any comparable PR site, that is a PR4, or greater. You will be getting all the benefits of a one-way link and so will we. Please use the following when linking to us:

    Title (link text): My Second Site Keyword Phrase
    Description: Affordable but blah blah blah.
    URL:http://www.MySecondSite.com

    We hope that you see the benefit that this could bring to both of us. If you are interested let me know.

    Thanks and have a great day
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    Originally Posted by Just_in
    I prefer to stay away from reciprocal linking. That article doesen't seem to me a hot tip. It's just an old fashion practice.
    Reciprocal Linking has infact helped my site to remain on top even with all that Google updates.

    It depends on what kind of sites you are linking to.
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    I agree I do not think Reciprocal Linking hurts they might not weigh as much and that THEMED linking is the key...Reciprocal Link or not the key is Reciprocal Linking ...I think people are targeting the one way link now when I looked at some of the top sites they have links going both ways...I truthfully dont think anyone really knows for sure and all is specualtion....This is what I am seeing and how to get ranked in google
    1. Themed links
    2. Well organized site with many pages and site map for spiders. CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT
    3. Hilltop/Authority sites rank real well
    4. Long gevity seems to be playing minor part.

    Again this is just my 2 cents
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    OptWizard,

    Your 2 cents worth is worth a lot more than 2 cents.

    When we consider that Google rewards pages that are linked to other pages competing for the same keyword, then reciprocal linking is in, BIG time.

    But the linking must be very precise, otherwise it is a waste of time.
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    >>But the linking must be very precise, otherwise it is a waste of time.<<

    Very true...in my opinion every link helps...but themed helps that much more....

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