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education directory
Ed the Webmaster

 Webmasters' Education:
Start here - Why me?
What you have to know
2 keywords = 1000 phrases
Bad titles, low traffic
Free meta tags
Speaking in tongues
Slow pages equal more traffic
Free and Easy
Yahoo for free
Master of your own domain?
Spiders cannot fill in forms
Good and bad doorways
Order the engines around
Do you use frames?
Are you a magnet?
Visitors by default
Lasso your lost visitors
$100 = 10,000 visitors
Others work - you earn
Ads - Don't click here?
Invite the competitors over
E-mails and warnings
Infectious or immunized?
All the best submission tools
100s of search engines
The "must have" web tools
Free for all sites
Pressing the editor's button
Legal or e-legal?
Where do I start?
A to Z index

 Finance Partners:
Cover Base Life Insurance
Finding Life Insurance Cover
Annuity Comparisons
Aviva Annuities
Buy To Let Mortgages
Commercial Insurance
Inheritance Tax
Pension Misselling
Annuities Comparison
Enhanced Annuities
Pension Annuity Answers
Annuity Office
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Open Market Option
Capped Drawdown
Mortgage Comparisons
Hidden Mortgages
Barclaycard PPI Claims
PPI Claims
PPI Complaints
PPI Refunds
Barclays PPI Claim
Lloyds PPI Claim
RBS PPI Claims
Wrongly Sold PPI
PPI Justice

  Web Guest Writers:
Web kiosks for the poor
Online Price Mistakes
Thesaurus Ranking
HTML or text e-mails?
ALTered Images
Renaming your Images
Free tools to create your site
Invasion of the Amazons
Advertising v. PR
Will content be profitable?
Responding to spam
What is spam?
Pay for position
Web host tips
Webmaster beauty
Bad web design: Animation
CGI: What the heck is that?
Long live banners
Great press releases
E-mail Sigs - 7 Key Items
Ad tips for affiliate marketing
I want to keep my frames
Creating Doorway Pages
Measuring Link Popularity
Domains and hyphens
Why have a domain name

 General Education:
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 Special Features:
Essays - Full Writing Course
What is Bullying?
Stress in Teaching
Online Education

 Guest Contributors:
The best Dad?
You're an Idiot!
Slave Caster of Freedom
Out of the mouths of babes
The Right to Life?
The Nostradamus Hoaxes
Explaining terrorism to a child
Internet 2 a scam?
Break a Rule, Bad Girl
Britannica near extinction?
The 1st time I really lied
Nigerian Scam Letters
Singular turns plural
English Writing
In debt?
The Secret Shopper
Too busy at work?
Bullying... Our Stories
Start to live your dreams
Recognize your potential
Stop worrying, please!
Public speaking
Elegant resumes
In praise of black sheep
Ritalin - Straight-jacketing?'s full list of pages

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Kate the Webmistress

Sleeping with the enemy

Links from other web-sites to your site are extremely important; you should trade links with as many sites as possible. Some search engines take link popularity into consideration when ranking sites (page as well as site level, and quality of link as well as quantity.)

One link from a well-known quality web-site is often more effective than several links from low traffic sites with few external links. It is probably better to form reciprocal links with a complimentary site rather than a competitor, although many sites achieve success with both methods.

When the spider of, one of the world's busiest search engines, visits you, it will not index your site until you have at least one other site linking to it. A spider is a small software program that visits servers (machines that store the web-sites) and automatically requests documents from them for indexing.

Building the spider's web

If the hyper-links on other sites that point to you contain your important key-phrases, this will also help your ranking in search engines. If the spider finds other sites that are listing your hyper-link using a particular key-phrase - and that key-phrase matches the content of your site - then this is more likely to return a relevant result for the searcher.

Reciprocal links and identifying potential alliances

    Route 1:

  • Search the major portals using your main keywords. Directories, as opposed to search engines, are best because their top listings are usually more permanent
  • Contact the web-sites that appear first in the results.
  • E-mail them to ask to trade links.
  • Repeat the process using your secondary keywords.

    Route 2:

  • Search the major portals using your main keywords.
  • Record the resulting domain names of competitive and complimentary sites.
  • Type into to see which sites link to them.
  • E-mail them; they may be also interested in linking to you.

    Route 3:

  • Type "Add URL" into
  • Only sites with an add URL link should be returned in the results. This usually negates the need for a reciprocal link.
  • Submit your site using the "Add URL" link.

    Route 4:

  • Type your main keywords plus "Add URL" into
  • Only sites with an add URL link should be returned in the results. This usually negates the need for a reciprocal link.
  • Submit your site using the "Add URL" link.

If a web-site is near the top of the results list, then it's a fair bet that they are attracting a decent amount of traffic. If you add them to your site before you ask for a reciprocal link, it will increase your chances of success.

Some webmasters go one step further and create a whole page or even section dedicated to the other site in order to assure a link back. This is of course only really worthwhile if you are targeting a high traffic site for your reciprocal link or have permission to use their content for free. If you click here you will see an example of how I use Pupiline's excellent content. It not only acts as leverage for a reciprocal link, but as a relevant high quality addition to

See who your competitors are already sleeping with

If you come across a public statistics button on a web-site similar to yours, click on it to investigate which sites are supplying the most traffic. Ask these sites to trade links with you.

If links to other sites seem inappropriate to your main pages, then create a "friends" or "alliances" page to list them on. List the page on their site that includes your link. When the search engines crawl through your site they will not only index you, but also index your allied sites. The more people who see these pages with your link on it, the more will click on your link and visit you.

Pooling resources

Some of your competitors might even be interested in building an alliance with you to help with traffic or fulfilment. Some may share content, marketing tips, trade leads or even partner with you to offer package deals. Certain businesses might foresee conflicts of interest arising from such partnerships, others see it as an opportunity for specialism.

Some of's (and its sister site's) best advertisers are in fact its competitors. The internet is such a huge place that there's room enough for all of us to work together without treading on each other's toes too often.

  • Swap Resources Search Engine

    Cooperation with your competitors to create efficiencies, close capability gaps and cut costs is an attractive path for some companies, but remember, fundamental offline business principles still apply. Collusion to fix prices is likely to be spotted by other competitors and you risk being reported to your country's trade commission.

  • Office of Fair Trading UK
  • The European Commission
  • Federal Trade Commission FTC US

    Find the sites that already link to you

    Check your referral statistics or type your web address or a phrase peculiar to your site into the search boxes at all the major portals to find the sites that already link to you and include them on your "friends" or "alliances" page. Be aware that if you have a LOT of linked traffic, your search for these sites might be timed out during high traffic periods and the full list of your linked sites may be truncated. Try again at an off-peak time.

    Submitting other webmasters' pages

    If you find your link on another site's webpage, you might be tempted to submit that page as well as your own to the search engines. After all, the traffic which that webpage receives correlates to the percentage of people that click on your link on that page.

    Some webmasters would not thank you for this, because it may interfere with their own promotion regime. These webmasters believe that certain search engines penalize multiple submissions of the same URL on the same day. Many others believe that the majority of search engines have stopped this practice in response to unscrupulous webmasters spamming them with their competitors URLs (Uniform Resource Locators / web addresses) in attempts to get them banned. The search engines had no way of knowing which were legitimate requests and which were not, and innocent sites were being punished unfairly resulting in numerous complaints.

    Many webmasters are willing to take the chance for you to promote their site for free. Send an e-mail to the referrer, thank them for their link, and ask if they are happy that you add their URL to your list of regular submissions. I have been asking permission to do this for many years now and invariably receive a positive response.

    Let your referrers know that web sites get dropped from search engines as a result of servers being down, unreliability of the server that hosts the site, timed out operations, software bugs etc. Tell them that this not only makes regular submissions essential, but it also serves to maintain up to date indexing of the content of their site. This will help them appreciate the importance of what you are doing for them and will encourage them to keep your link on their site for the long term.

    ...and future linking

    In the future when you ask other sites for reciprocal links, always ask if you can add their sites to your submission database. This will be seen as a benefit by most webmasters and you will stand a better chance of forming the alliance. I would say only about 1 in 100 of my reciprocal links have said yes please, we want a reciprocal link, but no thank you to submissions.

    Their success is your success. The more people who see their page with your link on it, the more people will visit your site. It really is a win-win situation.

    Flattery gets you everywhere

    If you find sites that you really like, offer testimonials that the owners can use on their sites. Ask the webmaster to link back to your site from the testimonial.

    On your virtual travels, you should also sign (place a comment in) every guestbook that you come across and include your web-site URL address with your signature.

    Are you the master of your own domain?

    Rankings based on reciprocal link popularity may suffer if you use a subdomain ( The major ISPs, such as Freeserve, who use these type of subdomains, would be unlikely to be included in ranking criteria. Although Freeserve is one of the most popular web-sites on the internet it would be improbable for all of its free space customers to benefit from its overall popularity. Visit domain name generator sites for advice about finding a suitable (and lawful) domain name for your web-site.

    Please feel free to copy and edit the reciprocal link request letter below:

    I would suggest you take the time to visit the other site's contact/about us page to find out the name of the webmaster. This will help to increase the chances of a positive response.

    You could also suggest that they link to you using a code that opens up your site in a new window when their visitor clicks on your link. You could explain to them that when their visitor finishes looking at that window and closes it, their original page will still be there in the background. This gives their visitor the opportunity to remain on their site for longer, therefore increasing the chances of them winning a sale.

    Add the tag target="_blank to the end of you HREF tags as in the example below:

    Did you know that e-mail marketing is one of the most powerful ways of not only increasing your visitors, but also getting your sales message across to them? Click here to find out the many ways it could apply to you... plus a warning...

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    An Ed-U-Kate production. This page was produced 28 January 2001 and last edited 9th June 2015.
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