Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Finding Good Link Exchange Software

As part of the Linknet Services I offer, one of my objectives is to get the PR, traffic, and SE ranking of all my Linknet websites as high as possible. As you can tell from the subject matter of this blog, I consider getting inbound links an important part of my traffic and rank building strategy.

As I have outlined in various places, I try to pursue a "three tier linking strategy", with the first tier being Reciprocal Link Exchange. I consider reciprocal links of only marginal value, but as I have said in other places, exchanging links with other webmasters has other side benefits that are hard to quantify.

The bottom line is that it would be foolish not to develop an intelligent and efficient link exchange system for any site you want to enhance. Having said that, the important question is "What system?".

On some of my sites I have a manual entry system. Someone requests an exchange and I just enter it into the appropriate page. On several others I have been using LinkMachine. This software has some good points, but the biggest problem with LinkMachine is that the developer is completely uncommunicative. This is not unusual for software developers. But in this case I had some very specific questions about using the software on multiple sites.

In at least three emails I asked the developer to clarify his very unclear policy on this matter, and his response was complete silence. Now, six months later, after setting up numerous installations on the assumption that a reasonable licensing arrangement would be forthcoming, many of my installations have been shut down because I do not have sufficient licensing to go around. No notice. No email telling me what is going on. Just a page telling me I can't continue using the software until I license it properly. I have no idea if I have been properly credited for the licenses I have already purchased. Somehow I doubt it.

This is particularly aggravating considering the basic program is now being given away FREE, and the free version contains all the features I want. So because the developer has changed his licensing policy I assume I will have to uninstall the paid version and reinstall the free one, risking the loss of my previously constructed directories. Is there a way to just downgrade my current installations? I don't know, and I'm not interested in waiting another six months for a reply from the developer.

There are other problems with LinkMachine too. The biggest one is that it is too slow. Saving time is one of the advantages of an automated system over a manual one. But I often think my manual systems are quicker than the automated ones. Another problem is that LinkMachine installations seem to be fairly tightly integrated with the developer's own site -- at least for licensing and updating. This means you are at his mercy. Given the history of independent software developers, this is not terribly reassuring.

Is Link Management Assistant too good to be true?

I had put this entire issue on hold for a week or so, but since the link exchange requests continue to pour in and I cannot access many of my old directories using Linkmachine, I thought I'd better look for alternatives.

It did not take long to latch onto Link Management Assistant created by Duncan Carver of OnlineMarketingToday.com. Wow! A developer who actually has a name!

After a couple of installations I think I like this program. It is very straightforward and seems to be pretty fast. A word of warning though: you will need access to a MySQL database, and you may find the installation procedure a bit mysterious. It comes with a number of simple templates which are fairly easy to modify to give you a site directory that integrates nicely with your own site's look and feel. The two installations I have up and running are here:

Tradeshow-Display-Experts.com
CanadaDisplayGraphics.com

Neither of these are finalized yet, but they will give you an idea of two completely different looks. You can also go ahead and enter your site's URL, to get an idea of how it works.

Another feature of Link Management Assistant is its ability to import whole categories of sites from DMOZ. Say you want to develop a directory of "Business Opportunity" sites. According to the documentation you should be able to import the entire relevant category structure (along with all the links of course) from DMOZ. Not only does this give you a valuable directory of potential interest to your website visitors, but it gives you a fruitful base of potential link exchange partners. The program also contains instructions for exporting the link information and emailing potential partners with a request for a reciprocal link.

Best of all, this interesting little program is FREE

2 comments:

Build Page Rank said...

I have read and experimented alot with link exchanging. From what I can see the more links you trade with the better your site does. But if you want to see your Page Rank increase, get your site on a few sites with a very high page rank. My only issue is no one can truly explain how google measures this and what real importance it has because some sites appear in the top of google search results with no pr. So any information would be great or input. reciprocal link exchange

Build Page Rank said...

I have read and experimented alot with link exchanging. From what I can see the more links you trade with the better your site does. But if you want to see your Page Rank increase, get your site on a few sites with a very high page rank. My only issue is no one can truly explain how google measures this and what real importance it has because some sites appear in the top of google search results with no pr. So any information would be great or input. reciprocal link exchange