One of the best ways to get traffic while waiting to be listed by search engines is through link exchanges with other quality sites. This will also help you to get better search engine rankings.

You can easily go after your target market by trading links with sites that relate to your offer. How do you find sites willing to trade links? You can go directly to sites that interest you and see if they offer reciprocal linking. Review the site and contact the site owner or administrator by email and asking.

You can also conduct a search using “directory of link exchanges”, “reciprocal linking”, “banner exchanges” etc., to find sites that might be willing to trade links themselves, or provide a list of other willing sites.

Many of your requests for a link will probably meet with a negative or no response. The reason why is simple. It’s back to the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) principle, the most basic of motivators in the human psyche. If you approach a well established site to link to you, there has to be a good reason for them to do so.

I have received a number of emails simply stating “link to me –”. That kind of promotional strategy gets you nowhere.

Here are a few hints and tips for site owners as to how you can persuade an established site to link to yours.

1. Most Important! Be Polite.

When you send your email for a linking request, make sure that the tone of it is extremely courteous and not demanding.

If English is your second language, run your request note by someone who is familiar with the complexities of the language. The way you word your note is the most important factor as to whether another web master will even bother with taking the time to take a look at your site.

2. Grammar and Spelling

Your request note is your official representation. If you don’t take the time to spell correctly, other web masters may believe that your site will be of the same quality, and discard your request immediately.

3. Ensure your site is complete.

No one will link to a half finished site.

4. Respect that many web masters are busy people

Don’t expect an answer straight away and harass the site owner with countless follow up emails. Leave it for at least two weeks before your second contact and ensure that the second note is equally as polite as the first.

5. Read the site

Ensure you take a good look over the site you wish to link to you. Be familiar with it’s content and mention some of the content in your request for linkage. Identify the common theme between the sites. If the site has a “Submit your URL” page, use it. Be sure to read the guidelines for submission carefully.

6. Appeal to the web masters WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) motivator.

Experienced site owners can pick a new web master or site a mile off, so don’t misrepresent your site or it’s traffic levels if you propose a reciprocal (swap) links agreement. Point the web master to a section of your site where you provide content or tools that are original and would be of use to their site’s visitors.

If you have a banner rotator, you could offer the site owner a few thousand impressions as a sweetener for him in linking to you. Very few web masters will give you a link if they receive nothing in return, especially if they are earning money or gaining traffic from the links they already have in place. Even just making an offer of an exchange of services, no matter how small, will motivate the web master to at least consider a link.

The link request note.

There are a number of examples of link request emails on the Internet, but my advice is that if you are going to use them, make sure you modify them each time they are sent to different sites so they at least appear original. I receive a certain template note regularly and disregard it, as it appears to me that the person sending it has not reviewed my site properly and really doesn’t take the process seriously. If another web master points towards a certain article or section of my site, it motivates me to review what the web master has to offer my site visitors.

Bearing that in mind, here’s a sample note that you can base your requests on:

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