The web runs on reciprocity, I link to you , you link to me. However there is a right way and a wrong way to do this.
Auto submit software that does not work:
Auto software is wonderful way to handle linking, however, check it yourself once in a while and make sure its working. I can not count the number of times, I have filled out the form, hit the submit button, only to find it does not work. Right way? Have software that works that is checked often.
Time to put the link up is nebulous or too long:
Many sites demand that you have a link up to them, before you submit yours, which is perfectly understandable, but, how long must they wait for the their link on your site ?
If they put the link up, as requested, but then you take a month or more to put up theirs, this is a bad business practice. If you only update once a month, you really should not expect them to link first, why should they give you a month of free advertising ?
Right way ? Specify a time limit on your link back, a week at most and stick to it. Then email them telling them you did so and where they can find it.
Have a link page, with no exchanges or updates taking place:
If you have a links page and want others to link to you, you have to exchange with at least some of them.We cant link to everyone who links to us, its not practical once we become a " popular " site, but none ? Yet many sites do this, have their link to me request, but their own links page is never updated, I saw one the other day that said last update, 1999 !
Right way ? Reciprocate at least a percentage and update often.
Note: All in and little or none out looks bad on your page ranking with the engines as well. As your a dead end. The web operates by hitting your site, then going on to other things. No other things ? Then your a " link sink" as its called and of little value to the web and will rank poorly as a result.
No way to link:
Have a directory, with no information whatsoever on how to add to it, not even an email addy. How can your resource grow if no one can add to it ?
Right way? Make it easy for them to add links.
If you require a link back to list someone, say so up front. The number of link submits I have filled out, only to find after the fact, a link back is required for it to show up is staggering. This is irritating. Most people have no problem with a back link, but tell them first they need to do so.
Right way ? Be up-front with your requirements.
Never answer the mail:
A lot of sites ask that you send an email with your information for a link exchange. However, many people never acknowledge the letter, or act on it. Even if its just to say, no thanks. I have sent countless email requests as stated on their site, only a handful ever reply. Some do list me, but they never contacted me. This is not good netiquette, if you ask that people mail you information for a link, reply to it.
Note: Make sure the email you list, works, don't make them send the mail just to have it bounce.
Right way? Answer all mail swiftly.
Ask for a link and have no links page:
Believe it or not, this is commonplace, a link to the site is asked for, but the site has NO links page to put a reciprocal on. This is unacceptable.
Right way ? Have a links page and add to it often.
Now in some cases this is due to the software used to build the site, especially a business site, as many " store in a box" software makers, don't take into account the need for a links page and its very hard to add a page to such sites. If this is the case, set up a free site somewhere, just for your links and link it to the store.
Have a links page that is not recorded:
If your links page is not listed in the engines, there is no reciprocity as the link does not count. Not sure if your links page is listed ? Easy way to check, copy the url for your links page and plug it into a major engine search box. If it does not show up, submit the page directly to the engine, as for some reason they have not cataloged it.
Right way ? Be sure your links page shows up in the engines.