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7. Provide an easy way for webmaster to copy/paste code along with a sample of what link will look like on their page.
8. In each text link, make sure your major keyword is in click-able part of link text. Many search engines use click-able part of link text for links on other sites to determine appropriate keywords for your site.
9. For banner links, make sure "Alt" tag contains your keyword. This is what will be displayed for surfers who are surfing without graphics capability (or who have turned off their graphics capability). It is also what visually impaired will hear when they "read" page with their equipment. It is also what some search engines will use to determine topic of your site.
10. Also include a text link below each banner with your major keyword. Many webmasters will delete this part, but some will keep it. Text links receive a much higher click-thru rate than banners. You want to give every opportunity for webmaster to give you a text link... without forcing issue. You don't want to give up a banner link if that's all webmaster is willing to offer.
11. Have a simple form to request a link on your site. Ask minimum amount of information you need to provide a link. The example asks for URL, Title, Description, and Category. If you don't need any other information, don't ask for it. Some webmasters will turn away if they are faced with a daunting form asking for a bunch of nonsense information.
12. EXCEPT: Ask for their email address. This is important. You want ability to contact them if your link disappears from their site. You also want ability to send them a reminder to link back to you if they haven't already.
13. Add link right away when you receive a link request from your form. Send a confirmation email letting them know that you added their link and where they can find it on your links pages. Some webmasters have dozens of sites. They will submit your form for just one site. When they see how fast you add their link, they will be back to exchange links with perhaps dozens of other sites.
14. Check links you receive in this way periodically to ensure that they are still linking back to you. If not, send them a friendly reminder. Often dropping your link will be a simple oversight during a site redesign. Don't assume otherwise.
15. Never use their email address for anything else. Trying to sell your product to your link partners is NOT very effective and will likely annoy them. You may lose your link on their site or worse. Be responsible with their email address and only use it to communicate about your link exchange.
That's it. If you follow all of these steps, you can start receiving inbound links without doing any of work to go find sites to exchange links. Of course, you will have to do that work in beginning to get enough traffic to your "Add URL" form, but then you can rest a little and reap rewards of your hard work.
James D. Brausch, is the Vice President of Marketing for Target Blaster, Inc., an Internet Marketing firm specializing in targeted traffic. http://www.TargetBlaster.com