Hi, does anyone have any opinion on the best policy for exchanging links? We've historically checked that the domain to which we link has a backlink located on the same domain. The idea was that we'd avoid the risk of being caught in a Google clampdown on reciprocal link "directories" (?). So we've been excluding those... in spite of the fact that they often have pretty good PR. Our policy has been: backlink from the same domain as we link to. Wise or should we reconsider?
After more reading much more on webmasterworld I am totally confused... the concensus seems to be that one-way links are good (?) and thus this suggests that exchanging links with sites that employ a third-party link site would be good (assuming that it has good PR and not spammy). Other opinions suggest that they're not good and the third-party link sites are usually employed by spammers or bigger commercial sites to embarassed to have link exchanges on their sites (too "mom and pop"). And then there's the camp who believes that g88gle has started completely devaluing "unnatural" links pages anyway. Others counter that and contend that relevant link pages are still at least reasonably worthwhile. This isn't a profession, it's trench warfare. Anyway, we are a small company and have a specialty travel site that generates $7m business a year. We rank reasonably well or very well for our keywords, we've done all the SEO basics but we're always looking to do better. We have a highish-quality recip link exchange programme with only related sites, spend a lot on Adwords, and do all SEO (if you can call it that) in-house (too many broken promises, and short-term successes that turn into long-term nightmares). One way links? Paid Links? Link exchange? Press Releases? Or just stop wasting time and increase our Adwords spend?!
I would say use a combination of all reasonable methods. If you already have a highly relevant reciprocal linking process in place, keep it up. Also consider submitting to directories, buy a few links if they offer traffic value (don't rely on PR), write some press releases. Anything you can do to market yourself online could be beneficial. If it is beneficial to the users of your site, the chances are good that it won't have a negative effect on SE Rankings.