Most days my inbox includes at least one ‘link exchange’ or ‘text link purchase’ request, often camouflaged by an inaccurate subject line. Emails relating to link swapping and link buying come in various shapes and sizes, from the aggressive to the ever-so-slightly embarrassed.
I always ignore these emails as I don’t sell text links, and I don't think much of reciprocal linking, but also because the messaging is so poor. There are probably 10 common email templates in circulation, as many of these sucky 'link requests' look very similar. They tend to be a combination of bad science, fake charm and dodgy grammar.
Here are some real world examples of ‘link request’ emails so you can see what I mean...
VERGING ON THE LAME
The dubious charmer
“I’ve greatly enjoyed looking through your site…”
The relevancy fail
“I find your website quite relevant to my partner's websites, so I'm really interested in knowing if you would agree to place a simple link on it. In exchange, I could offer you a link at: www.awebsitetotallydifferentfromyours.com.”
Blinded by PageRank
“I've found your website with the ‘reverse google pagerank algorithm’ which indicates that we both would get better google rankings, when we exchange links.”
Taking liberties (with grammar, too)
“I've already gone ahead and added your site to our link directory, could you please verify the description before it will go life at.”
“As you know, reciprocal linking benefits both of us by raising our search rankings and generating more traffic to both of our sites.”
“Si usted coloca un enlace en su pagina yo colocaria un enlace en la home de la siguiente URL.”
Meanwhile, in a land of unicorns…
“*******.com is an information rich website about fairies, pixies, and other mythical creatures.”
Not exactly ‘upfront’
“I'd like to pay a fixed price upfront for a full year of advertisement placement; once the link has been placed I pay you by your choice, either PAYPAL, or by check, whichever you like.”
Is that a fact?
“These links will improve your site's visibility in search engines like Google and Yahoo.”
Copy and paste sucks
"I've just visited your music website http://www.awebsitetotallydifferentfromfromyours.co.uk/ I was wondering if you'd be interested in exchanging links with my website."
The massive, shouty spammy caveat
“PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A SPAM OR AUTOMATED EMAIL, IT'S ONLY A REQUEST FOR A LINK EXCHANGE. YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS HAS NOT BEEN ADDED TO ANY LISTS, AND YOU WILL NOT BE CONTACTED AGAIN. IF YOU'D LIKE TO MAKE SURE WE DON'T CONTACT YOU AGAIN, PLEASE FILL IN THE FOLLOWING FORM: emailsnomore(dot)com; PLEASE ACCEPT OUR APOLOGIES FOR CONTACTING YOU.”
VERGING ON THE ACCEPTABLE
“I’m writing to you on behalf of a client who is interested in purchasing a text link advertisement on your website…”
Take it or leave it
“Our offer is 250 USD for a 12-month placement.”
Dominant and direct
“The desired text link is intended to be appear at Resources / Sponsors / blogroll section at home page and/or across the site. The purpose is 1- to have a backlink from your site, and 2- the link must be do-follow.”
Old posts FTW
“I was wondering if you would be interested in hosting a text link for an affiliate of mine, possibly in a past post? It would simply need to be a keyword that is linked, not their company name. We'd be happy to compensate you for your time!”
If you're going to request text links then I think a direct, personalised approach is key, which is why I prefer these four examples to the ones listed above. What do you think?