Adding links to my site

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Hi everyone, I'm web designer and my portfolio is gradually improving.
I have now completed approximately 20 commercial websites, some of the
more recent one's being well known, high traffic sites in the uk.

Some of my customers don't mind me adding a link on the site (Site by
..), but some of the others aren't too keen and see it as free
advertising (Which I can understand).

Obviously, I would like top get as many incoming links as possible to
improve my site rankings on the search engines. Is there any way I
could add a link to a site so that the search engines can see who's
developed the site, but that it won't be visible to the site visitors?
For example: could I add a link to a new single html page in the root
of the site, which wouldn't be linked to from the site navigation? Or
is there something I could include in the sitemap.xml file?


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