Link Exchanges - Friend or Foe Keyword Discovery
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Link Exchanges - Friend or Foe

Posted by Michael Lawrence on: 2006-03-30 00:02:51

Self SEO > Online Promotion Articles

The world of search engine optimization is filled with websites and services that provide incomplete information and flat out lies about what their services can do for you and your search engine rankings.

Link exchanges are a controversial topic in search engine optimization that produces a lot of discussion in SEO forums mostly from newbie webmasters wondering whether a particular exchange has any value to provide their website.

As webmaster's begin to learn about search engine optimization the importance of acquiring backlinks to their website becomes apparent fairly quickly.

Building links to a website can become a time consuming affair and once a link building campaign is started the urge to acquire backlinks faster and more easily soon follows.

Websites advertising "thousands of backlinks instantly" or "let us automate your link building tasks" are plentiful on the internet.

What needs to be understood is that these websites are set up to attract newbie webmasters who are inexperienced with link building by feeding on the human instinct to make work that is not fun easier.

They claim that they can make your link building tasks hassle free or automated which sounds great on the surface but in actuality there a number of pitfalls and misrepresentations rampant on these websites that can actually hurt your site's rankings if you are not careful when using these services to exchange links.

Link Exchange Advantages

  • link exchanges are hub sites where other webmasters who are actively interested in exchanging links can meet and broker an exchange
  • link exchanges are categorized allowing you to access a targeted list of potential link exchange partners from your industry or related industries
  • link exchanges make the process of exchanging links fairly easy and automatically verifies the existence of your link on the exchange partners site prior to issuing you an exchange request

Link Exchange Disadvantages

  • the use of automated software to acquire links or automated links pages created for the purposes of inflating your rankings is against Google's Webmaster Guidelines (if a link exchange requires you to install code or files on your website, steer clear. These files and codes leave a footprint which the search engines are good at picking up on and penalizing you for once this type of exchange is discovered by them. These types of link exchanges are a form of link farm)
  • Websites in an exchange are generally lower quality websites. Established websites do not need to perform exchanges to acquire backlinks and you will not find many authority sites involved (if any)
  • Links pages for sites in the exchange are nothing more than search engine SPAM (uncategorized, stuffed with hundreds of links, links are not related). Often these pages are only created to provide a dumping ground for link exchanges. The pages have no user value and hence no value to you in an exchange.
  • Link Exchanges will generally accept any site that applies which removes their editorial credibility
  • You will receive hundreds of exchange requests from novice webmasters who will trade links with any website instead of seeking out partnerships with sites that provide complimentary, relevant information
  • Link exchange sites provide misleading information about the value of their service to your SEO campaigns in order to lure you into signing up with them.
  • Your email inbox will be filled with link exchange request SPAM from the link exchange site (emailing exchange requests to you can be disabled on some exchanges)

In the end, are Link Exchanges worth it?

If you are prepared to wade through a lot of junk you can find golden nuggets hidden in with all of the low quality websites.

It may make sense if you have a newly registered domain to sign up for one of these services and send out some link exchange requests of your own to sites you judge to be high quality and relevant to your site.

After sending out your initial link exchange requests I would not remain actively involved with the link exchange.

Only use it when your website is brand new in combination with a directory submission campaign to get those first few free links to your website. For an established business, steer clear of link exchanges as they will not be worth your time.

-- About the Author:

Michael Lawrence is the webmaster for SEO Web Guide providing Search Engine Optimization Services, news and tools

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