Time and time again, I see people on multiple webmaster forums I lurk around mention to do link exchanging as a backlink method or to get traffic. There is nothing wrong with that suggestion but people go about exchanging links the wrong way or just don’t know how to recognize a poor website page that could potentially have your link on.
With all the Google zoo animal updates coming out of the woodwork and getting improvement updates, all website owners need to reconsider their link building strategies and exchanging links is a big thing to make a decision on. Do you do it or not?
Google has made it clear in their webmaster guidelines about linking to poor neighborhoods and other linkschemes.
Google On Link exchanges
Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
Basically if you decide to do a link exchange with another website owner, you need to first review the page/spot that your link could potentially be on. I am not a SEO expert but if I was to exchange links with a website owner, I would ask myself the following questions:
- Is this page/website keyword stuffing there keywords on the page? (ex. excessive keywords in footer, meta description and meta title)
- Do the anchor links on that page even relate to the websites niche?
- Is this website domain banned by Google or got hit with a penalty?
- What is the traffic stat’s and rankings for this one page?
- Is the content on the page quality content or just rubbish as in duplicate content, spun content..etc?
- Will my visitors benefit from clicking on this website owners link or just see a poor design, link farm type of page?
- Is the anchor text links keyword stuffed/make no sense?
Those would be some of the questions I would want to get answers for before I think about doing a link exchange with another website owner. Again, I have mentioned this before that I do not and never will do link exchanges with other website owner’s. This is mentioned on my CONTACT US page and still I get people asking me to do link exchanges. I just block those people’s email address’s as I know they used a program to submit to a bunch of blogs contact us pages and never read anything on that page. I rather have people link to my content because they feel it is valuable to their visitors. I do link to other websites in some blog posts because I feel that the website would be valuable to some of my visitors or that website has better information on a certain topic that is being discussed.
Use Common sense when exchanging links
You don’t have to be a SEO expert to do link exchanges, just use common sense and maybe use the questions I mentioned above to narrow down if that website would be a potential link exchange partner. Remember, you don’t want your website listed on a page with nothing but anchor text links and no real valuable content on that page. You just asking for Google to take a closer look at your own websites backlink building tactic’s. Don’t take any shortcuts when building backlinks.
Sometimes an easy way to get lots of quality backlinks is to write excellent blog posts or articles and people will mention your blog, website or article on their own websites or even in forum’s. These are free backlinks to you or just free traffic to your website. To be honest with you, just don’t do link exchanges.
Check Your Partners page
The hardest part about link exchanges is yourself having to check every few days or once a week to see if your link is still listed on the page it is supposed to be on. Some people ask to do link exchanges and once you put their link on your website, they will remove your’s or even modify the anchor text link to words you didn’t want to use.
Like mentioned in the Google webmaster guidelines, stay away from these automatic backlink generating program’s. The spammers or fake “SEO experts” tend to sell packaged deals on webmaster forums for getting mass amount of backlinks from web directories and they use automated programs to do this. They can schedule a certain about of submissions each day or week to make you think they is doing it manually but in reality, these fake SEO experts is not reading the directories editorial guidelines nor checking the directory to see if it is a quality one. Heck, they might have submitted your website to a ton of dropped domains that became a directory in which will lose all there rankings and PR come next Google update. Then those links have zero value but the SEO made money off of you and that is all they want from you.
My Final Thoughts
My advice would be to ask questions on webmaster forums before engaging into any link building tactic’s that you is unsure of or not know enough about. You will get a general idea on what to do from the replies in these threads. Plus in these threads you will know who is posting the wrong advice and who is posting the right advice. It doesn’t take much to spot someone talking bunch of B.S.
What is your take on link exchanges?
Do you still do them and has it helped your website out in any way?
Thoughts more than welcomed on this topic.