The ‘Favorite Links' section of your Ruby Lane or Ruby Plaza shop is an important component to selling successfully online. Utilizing high quality, reciprocal links is one way to increase the rating of an individual web page in Google and other search engines. Your shop rating influences the rank of your shop in a search result for important keywords relevant to your shops content – the type of items you sell. The higher your page rank, the greater the visibility of your website at the top of a search result.
In simple terms, page rank tells the viewer if the site is ‘worth their time" to look at or to link with. Search engines use page rank or something similar when calculating where a page should be in a line up of similar type pages, such as page 1 or further down in a search return, like page 250.
What is a Reciprocal Link?
A reciprocal link is a two-way link between two websites with the goal to increase traffic to both sites. For example, a website links – points to a your website (your Ruby Lane or Ruby Plaza shop homepage) and your shop reciprocates by linking – pointing to their website. The link acts as a referral by one website to another website. Links help search engine "crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility" – in other words, it puts you closer to the front of the line in a specific search result.
What is PageRank™ - Link Popularity?
Link popularity is a measure of the quantity and quality of other websites linking to a specific site on the Internet. PageRank™ is Google's system for determining link popularity. It is Google's "view of a page's importance" – an indicator of the value of an individual page. Google interprets a link "from page A to page B as a vote, by Page A, for page B" but Google is "concerned with more than the number of votes, or links a page receives. Votes cast by pages that are themselves important weigh more heavily and help to make other pages important."
To determine the Google PageRank of a site or to check the rank of your own pages, you must download the Google Toolbar to your computer, which includes the PageRank display button.
To down load the Goggle Toolbar click one of the following URL's or copy and paste the appropriate one in your browser.
Google Toolbar for Fire Fox http://www.google.com/tools/firefox/toolbar/FT3/intl/en/index.html
Google Toolbar for Explorer
Building a Good Reciprocal Links Program
The process of building a links program is relatively simple and the only cost to you is your time. There are several factors to consider when searching for pages to link with:
- The relevance of the website – is the content relevant to what you sell
Look for complimentary websites, sites that have something in common with your site. These could be industry groups, trade associations, professional organizations, suppliers, editorial or content related blogs, customer websites, and yes, competing websites. Some folks believe linking to the same type of site as their own is a mistake, that it will cost them customers, but this is not the case. If you know of a quality site that sells similar type items then link to them. The link is a referral from your site to theirs and vice a versa. Sharing quality-shopping sites with your customers is a good thing. They will appreciate you for it.
- Does the website you are interested in linking with have a links page and if so, is it an actual reciprocal links page
Some sites do not have a links page, these sites you bypass. If you find an interesting site that meets your qualifications with a links page, you need to verify the links are true reciprocal links. Go to the site home page, click on the drop down box on PageRank Display from the Google toolbar, and select ‘Backwards Links' from the drop down menu. If a list of links to other websites show up, then the links page is reciprocal, and a good candidate for linking, but if you get something that looks like this:
Your search - link:http://www.sitename.com/info/shop - did not match any documents.
Then don't waste your time, the links are not reciprocal, move on to the next site. You may get referrals from having a link on the site, but it won't help your page rank.
- The quality of the website – the sites popularity or page rank
As discussed previously, check the Google PageRank of the site homepage. If the website is ranked at a three or greater then this is a good site to consider as a reciprocal link partner. Remember, when you are first starting out with a zero rank yourself, you may have to be less selective and consider websites with a 1 or 2 rank.
- The quantity of links – how many is too many
Too much of a good thing is well too much. Although you can have unlimited links here, we recommend staying under 100 links on your Favorites Links page for optimal external search engine indexing. This also applies to your link partner's page because if there are over 100 links, the value of the link exchange is very low.
- Don't participate in link schemes
Some individuals engage in link exchange schemes, sometimes referred to as a ‘link farm'. These sites are an attempt to manipulate the ranking system, viewed as "bad neighborhoods" by search engines. These sites do not concern themselves with the "quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on ‘a' site." This practice benefits no one and linking with a site that engages in this type of behavior will have an adverse affect on your shops ranking. We suggest you do it the old-fashioned way: do it yourself – avoid having other websites do the work for you.
Before requesting a link to a website you must add their link information to your Ruby Lane or Ruby Plaza Shops Favorite Links page. You will gather the needed information from the prospective link exchange website. Why do this first? Because the site you are contacting will want to verify you have a link to their web pages before they expend their time and energy to add a link to yours.
Before you can add links to your Ruby Lane or Ruby Plaza shop Edit Favorite Links page you must sign into your shop. You can access your Favorite Links section from either your Shop Owners Home page, in the Edit Shop Info section, click Edit Favorite Links, or by clicking on the Favorite Links button on your Shop Home page and then clicking on Edit This Page once you are on the Favorite Links page.
The Favorites Links page requires you complete several fields of information:
- Name of their site: Insert in the name or title of the website you wish to link with.
- URL of their site: Insert the URL of the homepage of the website (not the links page URL).
- Their page that links back to you: Insert the URL of the links page where your link information is to be added on the link exchange site. If you are unsure where the exchange site will post your link then leave this space blank and once your link is added to the website, then come back and complete this field. This field is set up to automatically check to for a link to you on their site.
- Description: Insert a brief description of the website.
Next, you will prepare an email asking to exchange reciprocal links with a website. The following is an example of an email link request:
Subject: Reciprocal Link Request
We would like to exchange reciprocal links with your site. We feel good reciprocal links improve SEO page rank and increase site visibility and relevance. We are also committed to enhancing our shoppers experience by providing a list of good resource sites where they can find what they are looking for including industry services and valuable reference information, which is why we have chosen your site.
In order to facilitate the link process we have added a link to your site, which you may view here:
Insert your Ruby Lane shop ‘Favorite Links' page URL.
Example: http://www.rubylane.com/shopnickname/mylinks.html or http://www.rubyplaza.com/shop/nickname/mylinks.html
Our link information is as follows:
Site Name: Your Shop Name – Example: Mary's Vintage Treasures
Site URL: Your Ruby Lane Shop URL – Example: http://www.rubylane.com/shops/shopnickname
Site Description: Describe your shop. Shop descriptions should be one to two concise sentences using 200 characters or less, contain appropriate and relevant keywords, and should not include the shop name.
If you decide to exchange links with our site and if your time permits, we would appreciate an email confirmation indicating the URL address of the page where our link is located. In addition, if you would like us to make modifications to your link description, we are happy to do so.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sign Your Name
Final Comments on Linking
Linking is a slow process, we suggest adding three to five links a week or bi-monthly, whatever is manageable for you. The point is to do it. Remember, people are extremely busy, you must be patient, and it could take 30 days or longer before a Webmaster decides to tackle adding more links to their web pages.
They may not respond to your email immediately or at all, do not take it personally; it is part of the process. It does not necessarily mean they did not add your link, it may mean they are simply too busy to get to it right away. Sending a follow up email is also not a good idea. If a site wants to link with your shop, they will, but according to ‘their' time schedule, not yours.
After a reasonable amount of time you will need to check for links, by returning to your Edit Favorites Links page, and using the tool provided, check to see if your link is added, or visit the website and look for a link to your shop. If needed, complete the link information by adding the URL of page where a link to you is located.
If you want to improve your standing in search engines then setting up links is necessary. Increased visibility will increase the number of visitors to your shop, and the result may be an increase in sales, a requirement for success.