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Link exchange tips

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday August 2, 2006 )

Exchanging links is an important part of search engine optimization, but like anything else to do with boosting your search rankings, if you go about it the wrong way it can do more harm than good.

The biggest mistake I see site owners make is going about link exchanges using the “shotgun” method. For example, if you have site related to marketing, there’s not much point in trying to gain links from a site that sells baby clothes – unless of course that site is about marketing baby clothes.

When the major search engines are calculating rank, they not only look at how many links are pointing to your site, but the quality and relevance of them. If you go into overkill with your link exchange strategy, your site may be labelled a link farm and you’ll wind up actually *losing* ranking.

Focus on quality rather than quantity for the best long term results. Using the shotgun method may gain you some brief ranking increase, but on engines such as Google, it may backfire on you after a while.

Something else to watch is the speed that you gain links. If you go from having just a few links to your site to having several thousand in a few weeks, that may also throw up red flags to some search engines.

Another important point when exchanging links isn’t just who links to you; but how they link. Anchor text, the text that is used for for the actual link should be relevant to the theme of your site, rather than just linking the site name. For the best results, vary it a little with your link partners. Using the marketing site example, linking text could be:

Marketing resources
Articles on marketing
Marketing tips and tools

You get the idea :).

Consider link exchanges as only a part of your optimization strategy; not the whole box and dice. The most powerful links are those that are gained naturally from quality sites that link to you purely because you have have great content :).

Pick up some further tips on link exchange etiquette and anchor text optimization.


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