Taking part in a backlink exchange can be successful, but only if you do it correctly. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time. Understanding how to use them to your benefit is a great step in improving search engine positioning through your SEO efforts
What are Backlinks and Backlink Exchanges?
You may be enticed by offers of free backlink exchange, but do you really know what this means? A backlink is a link that a consumer can click on that will take them back to your website or other page you would like them to visit. The page needs to be relevant to what they are looking for. If they want information and that is what the links says they will get, don’t redirect them to the buy page.
Backlink exchanges involves you putting links to other websites or pages on your pages. The joint venture partners that you are involved with will do the same for your website or pages. It isn’t recommended to so with a direct competitor. However, it can be a good idea with partners offering products or services that are going to compliment what you offer.
Make sure where they place those links though is going to be something you are happy with. When you exchange them, you need to have a give and take relationship. You can’t ask them to give you premium placement and then not do the same for them when it comes to your website.
Limit the Number of Free Backlink Exchanges
It may seem like engaging in exchanging links with as many joint venture partners as you is a great idea. However, too many links like that can cause more harm than benefits to you so limit them. If you have all of these links to other locations on your website pages, it is going to be a distraction for readers. It also increases the risk that they will leave your page to go see what someone else offers. That may have just cost you a sell.
The search engine robots may classify your website as SPAM if you have excessive links exchanged. In order for you to get a great ranking within the various search engines, you need to have your information properly indexed by the search engines. From a customer point of view, they may be hesitant to work with you if you exchange links with a company that they aren’t happy with.
Tips to Avoid Excessive Backlinks
You need to be very selective about who you exchange with so that there is quality within those links. Spend some time finding out what that business offers, their ethical views, business practices, and what consumers have to say about them. It is better to have fewer backlinks but to ensure they are with trusted companies than to have tons of links out there with shady business owners.
Careful placement can be the best way to reduce over using backlinks. Develop a strategy for the best locations to place them so that it will maximize the choice of consumers to click on them. You may need to have some testing in place to determine what gets you the best overall conversion rates. Remember, effective SEO practices are always an ongoing work in progress. Test the links periodically to make sure they aren’t broken.
When it comes to reciprocal link building, there is lots of conflicting information. Some of it says that they are good for your website ranking in the search engines. Other information though tells you that it is bad for you. The truth is that when you have a reciprocal link exchange done correctly it will help but if you don’t have the right methods in place then a reciprocal link can create problems.
What are Reciprocal Links and How does Reciprocal Linking Work?
Consumers that shop online love the convenience of clicking on a link and being redirected to that particular webpage. Without such links, they would have to go hunt for exactly what they are looking for. The idea of reciprocal links is that it is free and it involves trading links with other website owners. They will place your links on their pages and you do the same on your pages.
Pros and Cons of Reciprocal Links
There are plenty of benefits with a link exchange when it is done right. The biggest one is that when you have such links out there they will be indexed by the search engines. The more that those links are clicked on, the more that you will move up the ranks. There are so many unknown variables that influence overall ranking but doing what you can to give you the edge is important.
When the links are exchanged with a reputable business that has plenty of traffic, it can bring plenty of new business your direction. This is just one more way to get your business recognized, to increase sales, and to boost profits. Since this type of give and take exchange doesn’t cost money, it won’t increase your overhead for marketing.
The common pitfall though that many businesses engage in is too many of these links in place. Then their own webpages are cluttered with links that are potentially going to be taking customers away from them and putting them into the hands of the other business. You need to carefully select who to exchange links with. Remember, consumers will associate you with that other business. If they don’t like the ethical behaviors, customer service, or quality of that other company they will likely shy away from your business too.
Should I Exchange Links?
The lesson to be learned here is that you should exchange links. It is a great way to boost traffic and search engine ranking. You just have to really invest time in deciding who you will work with and who you won’t. Spend time finding potential businesses to make that exchange with. They should be established, have quality business practices in place, and have a target audience that is similar but not the same as your own.
Communication is a key part of deciding who you should exchange links with. Come up with a checklist of what criteria you are looking for with those you do a joint venture like this with. If you are contacted to exchange links by anyone, ask them to give you details and then tell them you need time to think about it. Do your own investigating about the business and decide from there. Don’t feel rushed to make a decision or obligated to say yes.
Link exchange can be an effective part of the overall formula for SEO that a business uses to gain ranking. However, it shouldn’t be the primary method and it certainly shouldn’t be the only method. An efficient SEO strategy has to have many angles to it that continually drive new traffic and get the search engine robots to index materials.
Why Consider Free Link Exchange?
Keeping overhead costs low should be a primary concern of any business. The overall profits of the business aren’t what matters, it is what is left after all of the expenses have been paid. Free link exchange, as the name implies, won’t cost you anything. It allows you to place links to your business on the websites of other businesses that offer similar but not the same products or services.
In exchange for them doing so, you agree to do the same thing for them. Keep in mind that you only want to take part in this on a limited basis. Too many links can be distracting to those looking around on your website. You also want to be very selective when it comes to the overall quality of those other businesses. They need to have a good reputation, reliable product or service, and plenty of traffic.
How does SEO Link Exchange Promote more Traffic?
When someone clicks on links that you have out there, it improves your power in the rankings for the search engines. Yet you can’t just rely on the fact that people will stumble upon your website. When someone clicks on yours though from another location through SEO link exchange, the search engines take notice of this. It improves the overall ranking placement you have within that search engine.
The traffic that site has coming their direction is going to be possible or you to gain too. A percentage of those viewers are going to click the conveniently placed on that site and be redirected to your site. This is fast and easy for them and since there is no cost to you, every conversion from it is an increase in overall profits.
Link Exchange Can Be Effective
You can’t spend your time trying to guess the overall formula and design for SEO criteria within the search engines. They are all a bit different and they change often to keep people from manipulating them. When you have a great SEO link exchange in place as part of your overall strategy, you continue to get better placement. It also means that when you are placed high, you have a better chance of staying there.
SEO efforts should always be moving forward, never being stagnant. The overall strategy should include many streams of effort. They should include keywords, article directories, adding new information to the website regularly, press releases, and free link exchange. Combined, such efforts can make a huge impact on that placement within the various search engines.
Has it Worked for you?
What is your own experience with the use of free link exchanges for SEO purposes? Have you taken part in using reciprocal link exchanges? Sharing your information about how it worked for you is a great way to help others. They can learn from your mistakes and also find value in your success.
Link exchange sites were popular in the 1990s mainly because search engines like Google used the quality and quantity of the websites’ links in their rankings. These sites were a collection of websites with a central organization running the exchanges. The webmasters registered their sites and then received HTML codes that can be inserted into their web pages, said codes of which caused the display of banner advertisements.
Benefits of Link Exchange Sites Then
The arrangement worked for the benefit of all members as their advertisements are displayed on more websites, thus, increasing the visibility and credibility of the member websites. This is, in effect, using a cost-efficient and results-effective SEO link exchange program with specific benefits including:
• Bringing in targeted readers to the website since all the members in the link exchange websites have similar purposes;
• Increasing the website’s link popularity; and
• Providing a relatively stable method of creating hyperlinks, the most important part of all hypertext systems such as the World Wide Web.
Basically, membership in the link exchange sites was part and parcel of an effective and efficient SEO plan since the website was perceived as more visible and credible by the search engines and the target audience.
But with the constant changes in algorithms made by Google, link building may just be a dying art for SEO purposes. This seems especially true with the recent rollout of Penguin 2.0, Google’s algorithm update in relation to web spam; said update occurred on 22 May 2013. Or is it?
What then will happen with your SEO link exchange plans considering the Penguin 2.0 update? To understand its impact on SEO, a few things must be discussed about the changes including:
• Authority. Considered as the biggest change in the algorithm, Google wants the websites to be authorities in their niche instead of just spam websites and the like. Tip: Use the Author Rank feature. Use social sharing, Google+ and rich snippets.
• Anchor text. Google will look closer at the website’s anchor text to determine relevance. If the anchor text is rich in keywords, the search engine can deem it unnatural and, thus, lower your webpage’s ranking; your website will not be affected per se. Tip: Diversify your anchor text. Focus on branded variations on the link exchange sites.
• Advertorials. These are places where the links were clearly neither sold nor earned by the company. Keep in mind that Google will not condone selling links because this is akin to tricking the bots.
• Hacked CMS. Content management systems have been used for hacking purposes, which will lower the website’s ranking. Google now provides its webmaster the opportunity to resolve the issue before being penalized.
With these changes in mind, here are the tips to taking advantage of the Penguin 2.0 updates and, thus, proving that link building and link exchange are not dead in the SEO universe:
• Perform a link audit. The links that should be removed such as links from domains absent in Google’s index, links with malware, and links to unrelated websites can be identified and removed/disavowed.
• Keep the links relevant. Google ranks websites according to the relation and relevance of the links.
• Start using white hat tactics instead of black hat tactics. Not only will the website escape penalty but it will also rank better and longer on the search engine results pages.
So, should you still avail of the services of link exchange sites for SEO purposes? Of course, you should but be sure to adopt the right techniques!
During the early days of the internet, reciprocal linking was considered a great idea. Owners of various websites would exchange information and would create a reciprocal link URL to help each other. Back in 1998, this was known as a web ring and both websites would benefit. Over time, link farming and other black hat tricks to boost your website were attempted and Google put an end to it.
Reciprocal Links : A Little Background
Today, reciprocal linking is still used and while it can help to boost your online visibility, having a reciprocal link that involves you and an unrelated website, can actually harm your ranking in your niche. Google is regularly changing their algorithms to weed out irrelevant websites linking to each other and catch suspicious reciprocal links. This can cause a penalty on a website, whereas good solid links can actually help to increase your visibility.
The important thing to understand is that Google now looks at reciprocal linking as having little to no authority. When determining the popularity and value of your website, it will not consider most backlinks that take place. The exception to this would be highly regarded digital authorities posting a link to you in a particular article and you linking to that article on your website.
Not All Links are Bad
This latter version of the link to your website is often called a resource link. In this section, they are referring back to your website for more information. In this section, the individual who is posting information about you has a link that goes back suggesting that you are an authority on the topic. This helps to build placement and can actually help you to increase traffic and web results.
Keep in mind that while this type of reciprocal linking can help you, the relevancy is still important. If you are selling diet pills and the link lists you as a resource on how to make cabbage soup, the impact won’t be nearly as strong.
What Does the Future Hold?
Of course, with more people finding the loop holes, Google there will be new requirements in place, when the next Google Algorithm is released. Knowing that it can have a negative impact on your business, it will be important for you to take a few moments to think about the stance that Google has already taken in the past and focus on building your online presence. This includes not only toning down on reciprocal linking, but also slowing down on the places you leave your link.
Keep in mind that the third party search engines that people have never heard of paid directories that no one uses and even posting comments on hundreds of websites all at once are going to hurt your rankings in the long run. Knowing this now, the best approach may be to continue to build your website and increase your visibility as an authority in your niche. As people link to your useful pages, you may just find that the boost you have been looking for is found in your own personal knowledge and expertise.
So what do you think about the current state of reciprocal linking? Do you feel that Google is going too far in policing the internet, or are they keeping everyone honest? Sound off in the section comment below.