(Gerald) I have a number of people asking me to exchange links. I have read that this is good, but can’t find anywhere how to do it. Any suggestions, or is there an article you have that would help me. Appreciate it.
Good question, Gerald, because we really don’t hear as much about link exchanges as we did in the past. I think the big reason for it is it’s effectiveness (or lack thereof). Search engine spiders are much smarter than they were 2 or 3 years agos. And most will recognize a “link exchange” rather easily.
For those who don’t know what a link exchange is, it is when you approach another website (usually with similar content to yours) and ask them to place a nice, keyword-rich anchor text link back to your website. In exchange, you will do the same for them. Remember that an important part of SEO is backlinks (i.e., receiving links from other websites pointing back to you). A few years ago, a lot of this “linking power” was represented by a Page Rank. Getting high Page Rank websites to point back to you effectively will increase your own page rank.
Personally, I think Page Rank is a bit of a farce these days (at least the public one). I do think the major search engines (like Google) have there own ranking system based on popularity, but it would not be public. Still, getting links from “authority sites” with relevance (to your niche) is always key.
Now getting back to the question…I think link exchanges (or “reciprocal linking”) is really not going to help or hurt you. Any backlink (in most cases) usually will help you. But if there is a reciprocal link, the spiders will usually recognize this and probably not give you proper popularity for it.
Again, like everything SEO, this is speculation, but I know there has been a lot of abuse of link exchanges over the years (like link farms, paid text links, etc.) to draw a lot of attention to it. I used to do it quite a bit. I don’t really do it any more (unless I am quite friendly with the website and we exchange primarily for the traffic, not the SEO). I think your efforts would be better suited to article writing/submission, press releases, even directory submissions.
You can also consider n-way link exchanges. For a 3-way link exchange example: Site A links to Site B, Site B links to Site C, and Site C links to Site A. You can do this rather deeply, too. But still, the search engine spiders are smart and may start recognizing the linking footprints. The larger the “n”, the better off you are…but of course, this is a hell of a lot more work and requires some skillful coordination.
Personally, I have become somewhat of an a-hole about link exchange requests. I don’t get as many as I used to, but when I do I usually ignore them.
P.S. If you want to know more about Getting Backlinks, check out SEOExciter.com. (There are 10 free videos over there that shows you how!)
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