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How Effective Are Link Exchanges?

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#1 DarrenC


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Posted 02 May 2007 - 06:28 PM

In my email inbox I have 185 emails from people wanting to reciprocate links.

On the domain I have 1 links page which has over 50 links.

I have another domain which has 4 link pages, with 60 links per page, but it's all looking a little overcrowded and it means I have links to the link pages in the footer of this domain and it looks messy.

What should I do?

- Scrap the emails?
- Create a new page on the domain and add all the links to this page
- Add the links on the other domain
- Another idea





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Posted 02 May 2007 - 07:36 PM

Read this at Matt Cutts' blog

#3 evolvor


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Posted 02 May 2007 - 08:00 PM

Spammy Link Exchanges Bad. EGOL advice good.

#4 DarrenC


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Posted 02 May 2007 - 08:56 PM

I knew you guys would help me out.

Thanks for the link, a very good read.

The example Matt gave though is a very spammy way of dealing with reciprocal link exchanges. Surely, if the links are in the same niche, and have a link and a description of the site, which is non spammy, this can only be good for your visitors?

Surely this would mean that directories are spammy ways of reciprocating links?




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Posted 02 May 2007 - 09:23 PM

I have never chased link exchanges and delete emails requesting them when they arrive. It is manipulation of the search results. Although it used to work the practice is rapidly becoming a waste of time.

I think that links in very good directories. Once that review the sites and reject most of them are the valuable ones. Any directory that will add any site that asks (or pays) will be of very little value to your rankings.

#6 Halfdeck


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Posted 03 May 2007 - 10:52 AM

Link swaps help to an extent. But comparing two sites of mine - one with 99% exchanged links profle and another with 100% organic - the lesson is simple: no matter what your TBPR may say you're going to have an uphill battle getting indexed and ranking high until you obtain a high quality link from an authority site. It could be a TBPR 0 link, it doesn't matter. If its from a site Google trusts, that link is going to do a ton of good for your site, whereas submitting your site to 1000 cheap directory may only have a slight impact. In fact, increasing the artificial/organic balance toward artificial is going to make your site less trustworthy.

You can get an idea of how much Google trusts your site by comparing the number of pages indexed to the number of actual pages and comparing number of supplemental results with the number of pages in the main index. If Google indexed most of your pages and if most of those pages indexed aren't labeled supplemental, you're on the right track.

#7 joedolson


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Posted 03 May 2007 - 12:00 PM

I think that it's very important to recognize that not all link exchanges are equal.

You need to look very closely at the site you'll be linking to and the _page_ which will be linking to you. There are some very basic questions you need to answer before considering any exchange:

1) Is the page linking to me a standard part of the site, or is it a directory page dedicated to reciprocal links?
2) What other links are on that page? Am I one of a few links out? Are there hundreds of them on the page? Are any of the links to questionable sites or site which I don't want to be associated with?
3) Is the page I'm linking TO one which I'd consider highly useful and relevant to my visitors?

If the link you're getting is something like this, for example, that's pretty sketchy, and probably not at ALL worth considering.

On the other hand, if the link you're getting is part of the page: a contextual link from an article, part of a highly relevant and useful resource directory, etc. , you're looking at something potentially useful.

Finally, the question you have to answer is how much of your time you want to spend winnowing the good from the bad. The good link exchange offers are probably less than 1% of what most people receive - because most people involved in looking for link exchanges are not considering the context of the link at all. It may well not be worth considering ANY of the link exchanges you're offered, because the work involved in finding the good ones may not justify those links. Even the good link trades aren't usually anything really fabulous.

#8 Ruud


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Posted 03 May 2007 - 02:27 PM

Purpose is another way of looking at it.

If a link exchange would never ever give you any SEO benefit at all, how would you look at link exchanges?

You would be looking for partners. For traffic. Targeted traffic. Conversions. Sales. Mindshare. Authority.

If you look at a link exchange from that angle, keeping Joe's tips in mind, you get a sharply defined view of what you should and shouldn't do.

#9 send2paul


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Posted 03 May 2007 - 02:49 PM

It's only recently that I've added a "Link Exchange" page on one of my more popular websites. And slowly, the requests for link exchanges are trickling through.

So, is my website now more "link worthy" because I've got a "Link exchange" page, or do the "link exchange" crawly programmes only look for websites with link exchange pages, and not for those with like minded content as your own? Or - why wasn't anybody asking me to exchange links before I put in the link exchange page?

Curious of Essex

#10 Ruud


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Posted 03 May 2007 - 04:33 PM

On that link exchange part of your site you're using the language people use in queries when looking for places to submit their site.

#11 DarrenC


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Posted 04 May 2007 - 04:29 PM

Great advice here guys!

I'm going to go through the emails and sift through the quality links and go from there. Would you go as far as to go through my links page and delete any sites which I don't think would be useful to my visitors?

#12 Ruud


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Posted 04 May 2007 - 04:36 PM

Would you go as far as to go through my links page and delete any sites which I don't think would be useful to my visitors?

Certainly. And I wouldn't qualify it as going "as far".

If you have a bulletin board in your shop, wouldn't you check what people pin to it? Remove messages of a certain nature?

#13 DarrenC


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Posted 04 May 2007 - 05:09 PM

Of course Ruud.

Just for those interested out of 180+ link requests received, I'm interested in linking to only 13 and these sites would be useful for my visitors

I'm going to use Joe's suggestions from now on.

#14 EGOL



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Posted 04 May 2007 - 05:49 PM

Today I received a very nice note from a person who had visited my site and looked carefully at lots the content. In his note he related a lot of what was on the site and it was evident that he spent a lot more than a few minutes there. He also commented about the town where I live, so had done some research there. In his message he said that he is linking to this page on my site and that page and these pages.... wow!

The message blew more smoke that I have seen in a long time.

Then it says... "By the way, Mr. Egol, if you would be so kind we would appreciate a mention of our site on yours."

I went to his site thinking that it might be something nice (the domain was a great Keyword.com). When I landed on the homepage the top 70% of it was adsense. I really like adsense but if you use it to cover the top 70% of your homepage you must not think very highly of your content.

After looking around on his site, I decided that I don't want to link to it because there is nothing there of relevance and not much there of value. It is a MFA site on a great domain with terribly little content.

So, do I write back to this guy or delete and forget.

I will say, that if I was not really picky about who I link to he might have gotten a link from me. It was one of the best attempts to get a link that I have seen. It probably works with lots of people.

#15 3rdeye5


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Posted 04 May 2007 - 10:16 PM

I equiped the contact form on my site with some Javascript code that checks for sentence parts like "exchange links," "reciprocal link(s)," "link(s) partner" and such. When the form is submitted, people get a note that my site doesn't do link exchanges, if they used such a phrase, and the e-mail isn't sent.

Saves a lot of e-mails.


Edited by 3rdeye5, 04 May 2007 - 10:19 PM.

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