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Reciprocal linking is an inevitable part of the life of any webmaster. Incoming links are valuable because the rankings in Google depend in large part on the amount and quality of these links, and because incoming links provide a steady stream of traffic.

While most discussions on reciprocal linking deal with the problems of getting links and finding partners, an equally big problem is how to manage a link directory and handle the numerous requests for reciprocal links sent to you even after you have ceased trying to get new links.

There are many webmasters who just delete these requests, in the same way that they delete other unsolicited e-mail. Handling link requests manually takes a lot of time. You must first go online, look at the site that has sent you a request.

Then, if you want to link to them you have to edit the html page where you keep your links, upload it and finally write an email to the person who has requested the link and inform her that the link is now active. If you get three or four link requests in one day (as I got today), processing them could take up a good part of your morning.

I hardly ever deleted these requests but put them in a pending folder which I never got around to dealing with, until I finally decided to find an automated way to handle this work.

I shopped around and found a site that provides a link management service for the price of $20 per month. They set up your links directory, and once it is in place, all link requests must come through a form placed on your site. When someone fills out the form you get notification.

You go online and look at the request, and if you like it you "press a button" and approve the link. The link is automatically placed on the proper page of your directory and an email gets sent to the person who requested the link. It would take just a few minutes to handle a link request in this way.

However, I wasn’t ready to pay $20 a month for this service and looked around for another solution. There are software programs which, when installed on your own server, do the same kind of directory management but at a far lower price. I found one such software, a PHP script that uses a MySQL data base. The price was great, free of charge. However I had trouble installing it, and wanted to try one of the low cost link management programs that I also came upon during my search for a solution to this problem.

Finally I settled on Reciprocal Link Manager ( What tipped me in favor of the program is that the owner himself uses it on his own sites. I paid $67, and got a PHP script. The directions for uploading the files, changing the file permissions on the server and setting up a MySQL data base were very easy to follow and I set up the directory on a few of my websites without any problem.

The Reciprocal Link Manager produces static pages that are search engine friendly. It is also easy to customize the directory to look like the rest of your site. In addition you can import your old links into your new directory.

The program provides all the functionality of the more expensive online services and gives you a system which enables you to handle several link requests in a very short time. In addition, one component of the program helps you to find new link partners, add their site details to your directory and send reciprocal link requests to them.

Now whenever links are sent to me, if they fit with the theme of my site I add them immediately, instead of deleting them or stuffing them in a folder that I will never get a chance to deal with. If you would like to save time, but also continue to build your site’s link directory, I recommend that you go for an automated solution to the task of link management.

This Web Marketing article was written by Donald Nelson on 3/22/2005

Donald Nelson is a web developer, editor and social worker. He has been working on the Internet since 1995, and is currently the director of A1-Optimization (, a firm providing low cost search engine optimization, submission and web promotion services.