Do you get emails from people you don’t know, asking you to do link exchanges with them? If you do, before you decide to do the exchange, please consider the following very carefully.
Link Exchanges: A brief overview
The reason people want you to exchange links with them is simple: The more links pointing to a site, the higher it will rank with Google and Co.
In fact, the number (and quality) of links pointing to your site, is the single most important part of your SEO (search engine optimization). So, SEO companies regularly send emails to thousands of people asking for links, hoping to increase the number and quality of links that point to their customer’s websites and blogs. Usually, the higher your Google Page Rank, the more requests you will get.
Link exchanges: The risks
Link exchanges and the old “Switcheroo”: Increasingly, people are building what look like regular websites and asking for link exchanges. Then, after a set number have been gathered, the site is transformed into a scam site.
This switch tactic is starting to gather pace and as I will explain in a moment, it’s not a good idea for you to link to sites, which Google considers “spammy”, as they call it. If you HAVE already offered links to people you do not know, it might be worth checking their site out again.
Link exchanges into bad neighbourhoods: Linking to the wrong kind of sites can also see YOUR site penalised (see below.) Bad neighbourhoods exist on the Internet, just like they do in the off-line world. In online terms, a bad neighbourhood is a site that is considered by the search engines to be spammy or dubious in some way.
Google does not like link exchanges: If you want to attract visitors from Google, you need to know that Google considers link exchange schemes as a violation of their guidelines and that they will penalise sites, which they believe are involved in them. You can learn about Google’s policy on link exchanges here – Along with a link that you can use to resubmit your site, if you are already being penalised.
Why is Google so strict on these exchanges? It sees them as a way of deliberately trying to manipulate their page ranking system. This system is how they deliver search results, and those results are what keep people using Google – and allows Google to make the BIG advertising bucks!
The general consensus is you should link to people, when appropriate for what YOU want to achieve. If you want to share other sites, posts, articles or online resources – link to them.
Where do I stand on this?
I get link exchange emails at least half a dozen times every day and I delete them.
Because I refuse to associate my name or reputation with someone I don’t know. I don’t really care what Google thinks about my blog, but I DO care passionately about the 15 years I have spent building my business and my brand and I won’t risk negatively impacting that.
Ultimately, you need to do what you believe is right for what YOU want to achieve. I just think it’s useful to have some additional info, so the next time you get a link exchange request, you can make the right judgement for YOU – NOT the other guy!