6.3. Making the Link Request
The very best way to get someone to link to you is to link to them! If your readers find their content useful, their readers will likely find yours useful as well. And because many sites pay attention to the sites that link to them, you may often get a reciprocal link without any further action. However, if that doesn't work, you may want to contact them by email.
You should be aware that a blatant request for a link is likely to be perceived as spam. Such a request is likely less effective than an email that lets the site owner know about your site, and why you think that your content might be of interest to his or her readers.
6.3.1. Finding email addresses
The first step in writing an email requesting an inbound link is to find the email address for the webmaster you want to contact. This can take quite a bit of poking around, but it is amazing how often you can uncover the right email address with a bit of persistence if you just look at all the pages on a web site.
If a web site has a contact form but no explicit email address, you can often find an address by viewing the HTML source code for the contact form's page and looking for a submission address. Another place to look for email addresses is within a syndication feed. If the site provides an RSS or Atom feed, the creator's email address is often included as part of the feed.
As you may know, you can use the Whois service of Internet domain registrars to find contact information for site owners, although with multiple domain registrars this information is more fragmentary than it used to be. In addition, some sites intentionally do not publish information about the real domain owners when they register domains, for example, by putting the domain in the name of the web host.
A good first stop if you want to try using a Whois service to get email contact information is Network Solutions (http://www.networksolutions.com), the "classic" Internet domain name registrar. Next, try Whois.net, http://www.whois.net/, which has one of the largest databases for Whois information.
If these two sources fail, do not give up. Go to Internic, http://www.internic.net/whois.html. The Internic service will not give you contact information, but it probably will tell you the specific domain registrar who registered a given site, and the address of the domain registrar's Whois server. You can then go to the Whois server maintained by the appropriate registrar, and usually find email contact information there.
If this sounds time consuming, well, it is. To justify the time, any sites that you contact should indeed be related to your site.
6.3.2. Emails should not spam
Generally, you should not send email that reads like spam. Don't send mass emailings to request links (it will probably get intercepted and marked for deletion by anti-spam filters, anyhow). Personalize each email with each recipient's name, something about their site, and information about why they should link with you.
It's OK to offer a reciprocal link in exchange for your inbound link. But the better approach is already to have a link to any site you approach. You can set aside a resource page for this purpose. Why bother with trying to get an inbound link from a site that isn't worth linking to? If it is worth linking to, then go ahead and do it on your own without requiring payback. You'll be surprised at how often the other party decides to reciprocate.
6.3.3. Comments, Trackbacks, and Discussion Threads
The easiest way to get inbound links is for you to post them, using a mechanism such as a blog comment, a blog trackback ping, or a discussion thread. These links do not have the permanence or credibility of a link from a stable site, but can draw considerable short-term traffic if posted on a popular site.
There's nothing wrong with adding a link to a comment on a blog, or in a discussion thread, or using a trackback mechanism, provided you have a valid hook for hanging your URL. In other words, it's OK to enter a discussion if you really have something to say, and it's also OK to link back to relevant material on your sitebut don't come completely from left field. It will undermine the credibility that you are trying to build. You should also be aware that many popular blogs use the "nofollow" tag on any links inserted into comments. This tag tells search engines to disregard those links. This means that they will help humans to find your site, but will not actually help with search engine optimization.
6.3.4. Keeping Content Fresh
Search engines look for fresh content, and for content that is regularly freshened. Observation indicates that bots visit sites with new content daily more often than content that is not updatedand vice versa.
The moral here is that you will need to find a mechanism that works for you to keep your content fresh. As I mentioned earlier, if constantly adding pages sounds like too much work, then you might want to consider prominently featuring a blog on your site.