SEO Tools: Links, Web Rings and Banner Exchanges
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Does a web site have any use for reciprocal links, web rings and banner exchanges?
Yes, it does, as SEO tools. With SEO, the more links to your site, the better. But these SEO tools probably won't get you the traffic/ranking you want unless you plan carefully first.
Web rings and link exchanges used to be a good way to promote your web site. But that was in the pre-Google days. The Web was smaller back then. Online communities were closely-knit neighborhoods. One could actually browse a Yahoo category and realistically expect to visit all the sites listed there.
Since then, the neighborhood became a densely populated planet. The god Google came down to earth and became THE oracle to consult for the best web sites. Web rings and directories became useless since it was easier to type keywords in a search box than to browse site listings. Most of all, search engines like Google gave better results.
Today web rings and link exchanges are lesser SEO tools. At best, they add to the sites linking to your site. At worst, they clutter your site and distract visitors.
WEB RING AS AN SEO TOOL:
Is a web ring any good for SEO? Often no. People who browse web rings are often "just browsing around." They aren't really looking for anything. If they were, they'd be using a search engine! So how can they find your site useful and eventually link back to it on their own sites, if they don't even know what they're looking for?
To use a web ring as an SEO tool, be as targeted as possible. Join a web ring with a specific topic. A web design ring is too general. But a free web design templates ring is specific. So you have more chances of reaching your target audience. You'll get links. They'll click on your ads (if relevant). And they'll tell their friends about your site.
LINK EXCHANGE AS AN SEO TOOL:
In our experience, a link exchange is useless if the topic is too general. Banner ads with nice animation can work, but only if they are really targeted. If not, it'll only get you hits from the wrong people, if any. Check your page stats for proof. When people click on your banner, they load the first page and then leave. What does that do other than eat up your bandwidth?
SEO isn't just about getting people to find your site. You want the RIGHT people to find it. It's your target audience that counts!
WEB DIRECTOR LISTING AS AN SEO TOOL:
If you use a directory, find one that's popular and specialized. For example, The Online Books Page is a free directory of free books online. If you list a free book of yours in the right category there, you can get hits from people who know what they're looking for.
Finally, when your targeted people do find your site via web rings or directory listings, they can appreciate your site better than others because they have the same interests as you do. This "human" factor is a better SEO tool than "machine linking" like in web rings and exchanges. You get links from people who find your site useful, and not because you're a ring member.
As you can see, one has to be thoughtful when using web rings and the like to draw traffic. Ultimately, it's still your web content and your reputation that will get you the links and hits you want. Rings and affiliations are just secondary SEO tools.
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