Everyone loves compliments. In your message you might compliment on something specific about
their site so they know that you've spent some time on their site.
You might also mention that your link to their site will be highly
visible to your visitors. On this site, for example, we devote
one of the seven major sections to reciprocal links. A
potential drawback in providing premium real estate (i.e., the
"Links" section) for our linking partners is that many of our
visitors will exit our site through the page. However, we
would not have it any other way. Most people will react
positively if they know that you intend to offer something substantial in return
for their favor.
Although it may not be prudent
to seek reciprocal linking with sites that sell the exact same
product or service as you do, many "borderline" competitors would be
willing to trade links with you if they think they can benefit from
the swap. We have successfully secured reciprocal links with
many other sites offering website promotion and search engine
optimization tips. No two sites on promotion are exactly the
same (unless one is a mirror or plagiary of the other), and there
are bound to be some aspects about one site to which a competitor would feel worthy of
referring its visitors.
When looking for reciprocal linking partners, look for high quality
sites that are well maintained. Ideally, you'd want to swap
links with popular, high-traffic sites, but they may not want to
swap with you, especially if your site is brand new and not
receiving many visitors. Although links from established sites
with high page rankings are worth more than those from less
well-known sites from a search placement standpoint, we feel it is
just as worthwhile to seek links from quality, content-rich newer
sites that are aggressively promoted. Although their links may
not be worth much now, your relationship with them will certainly
pay off in the future.
Avoid swapping links with link farms. These are sites
with little or no original content which are created for the sole
purpose of gaining traffic by swapping links with countless other
sites. The search engines are smart enough to recognize link
farms and penalize for associating with them. Since you have
no control on who links to you, the search engines won't penalize
you for a link to your site from a farm. However, the search
engines may penalize (or even ban) you if you link to link farms.
When considering a site to swap links with, pay close attention to
its directory structure, namely how the page containing your link is
connected to the main page. There should be a clear path to
the links page, and you shouldn't have to click more than twice to
get to the page (perhaps one click to the links page and another to
a category containing your link). Links from dangling pages
(pages not integrated into the main site) are not worth much and are
a scheme for unscrupulous webmasters to secure linkage from other
sites without making reciprocal links visible to their visitors.
After you secure reciprocal linkage with other websites, check your link page
regularly to fix bad links and remove those partners who no
linking to you. Some scam artists will link to your site long
enough to secure a reciprocal link from and then remove it later.
A general rule of thumb about reciprocal linking is to approach it
in good faith. Reciprocal means mutual-- it's a win-win
relationship. Both parties benefit from reciprocal linkage, so
there's no point to cheat or associate with cheaters.