I’ve already recommended using a database to manage your links directory. Whatever you decide to use it should come with a tools to do the following tasks. However if it doesn’t then Xenu is fantastic. It’s free and it’s fast.
Checking recipricol links
It’s not unheard of for sites to create a link and then remove it later. This is because of the misguided belief that every link out is bad. But no site is an island and the search engines are distrust a site that people link to but which don’t link out. I doubt you can find a quality site with high PR which has no outbound links.
Sites will tell you where your link is but over time that location may change. Directories get reorganised, the software gets changed, mod_rewrite is applied. If the recipricol link is broken don’t automatically assume the site is ripping you off. Use Xenu to scan the site and see if there is an external link to your site and from which page. Update your information with the new location.
If you can’t find the link then you need to either
- Delete the link
- Contact the site owner (and remember to follow up).
- Keep the link anyway as the site is an “authority”
Take a look at the site, does it look well run or is it a bit of a mess? Do they stick to the same sorts of rules as you do (or I recommend)? How is their PR? Is it worth hassling for the link?
Checking duplicate links
This should be as simple as a query on your database and should be available in your software. If not you can use Xenu again to see if every external link has only one page listing it. That’s not so easy with Xenu but it is doable.
Checking dead links
Nothing worse than a page with broken links, I haven’t seen hard evidence that search engines penalise for this but it makes sense doesn’t it? Run a frequent check to ensure your links are live.
Breaking categories up
If a page has more than 20 listings you should consider a second page. If a category has more than 3 pages then you should consider creating subcategories and grouping sites together according to their common theme – it may be geography, the type of service they offer. Consider it from a human perspective, if a person did use your links directory, how helpful would it be?