Getting found online - part 1 - 24th Jun 2009

One of the ways that search engines evaluate your website is by counting the number of links to your website from other websites that have similar content.  For most websites this means that if you can get a link from any of your suppliers to your website then this will help things along.

Your first reaction might be to send out a mass email to everyone you can think of asking for a link to your website, but before you do that here are some things to think about.

What kind of websites do you want your link to appear on?

For example, if you are a shop selling baby products (like Miracle on St. Andrew St), it would make sense to approach all of your suppliers.  In addition to this, have a think about the kind of websites that might have visitors who are interested in your products.  A good example of this is any websites that deal with pregnancy, parenting or childhood.

Check the target website first to ensure that there are no nasties on it

By this I mean things that won't offend your target audience or discuss topics such as politics where things may be one sided or controversial.

Have a template email ready - but customise it

Hopefully you're going to ask a lot of people to place a link on their website.  Don't send them all an email that is the same.  Feel free to have a template to start with but customise it to appeal to their good side, their sense of vanity, or anything that will give you a chance to get the link on their website.  Find out their name and use it in the email - if finding out is tricky, call someone in the company - maybe a different branch and ask them who it is.  Also, in the email explain that you will reciprocate with a link back to their website and this will send visitors - and potential sales - their way.

Sniff out your competition

This is a clever trick, and perfectly above board.  Think of the search terms that you want your website to be found with, e.g. "baby clothes".  Search for this on Google and see who comes up on the first page.  Now, go back to Google and type in "link:websiteaddress.co.nz" (where websiteaddress.co.nz is the website you found on the first page of the results).  This will give you a list of all website that link to that competing website.  These websites are the ones from which you should ask for a reciprocal link.

Here is a template that you can use to ask for a link, customise it as you see fit.

    Dear Joe,

    I'm writing to you to you to request a reciprocal link between our websites.  This will help both of our businesses by sharing visitors, but also by increasing the rank of our websites in the search engines.

    I've had a look at your website and I really like the article sections.  We run articles on our website as well which have been very popular.  We will place a link to your website on our articles page and maybe you could do the same on yours.

    Here's a quick paragraph of text that will describe our website to your visitors:

      The Acme website is a great source of news, tips and tricks about using Acme products.  We have a large range of products in our showroom and our friendly team of people are more than happy to help you build your next project.

    Our website address is: www.acmeshop.co.nz

    If you would like to talk about this, please call me on 03 456 7890.

    All the best,

    Bill Thomas.

Finally ...

You might be interested in finding out what web sites are already linked to yours, go to Google and type in: "link:www.mywebsiteaddress.co.nz".  Are those links doing you justic?  Are they well placed on the site?  Do they have your logo?  If not, there's an easy place to start by sending your website description to them.

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