Judging the value of a return link
I have been approached by a website which has a similar theme to my own, to exchange links. Normally I would be happy to do so, but I on this occasion I couldn't help but notice that the site to which I am being ask to link to is not the same site which will be linking back to me. The site proper (www.domain.com) is full of relevant content. The site I am being asked to link to (www.domainlinks.com) is basically just that - pages of links. So is it a fair exchange and if not, is it still worth doing?
I wouldn't, even if the sites got a PR if it's full of links the value of the exchange will be low. Say yes but only to the main site
Are you serving your visitors by leading them to that other link? From your remarks I would conclude not.
Does this look like a Webdesigner wanting to promote his own directory (or his most important client), but offering links from his other clients sites?
First, how does the links domain integrate with their main site.
Is this obscure linkage (main site and link domain) or does it integrate well so that there is a "fair" potential of possible visitors.
PR may be an added bonus of links but "traffic" (period!) is the ultimate defining line (gain or loss) of a good exchange. PR may help in SERP's, but one link isn't going to make any difference.
1. If link domain integrated well to the main site - do the link (and forward your own design -- anchor text to them).
2. If obscure -- request a link from their main site for the same from you (but likely they will not do this so is this occurence a loss to you or not).
[edited by: fathom at 9:27 am (utc) on Sep. 5, 2002]
Thank you for your replies. So would the general consensus of opinion be that an exchange of links should more often than not be an exclusive arrangement between only two participating sites? I have also been appraoched by sites which upon investigation are using sime kind of link exchange service, to these I have not even replied. But I can't help but wonder if a little bit of intentional link handicapping is going on when I see sites whose link page is buried two or more levels! or when you visit an offered link page only to find three hundred other links already there and you know yours will be at the bottom of the page.
Thank you Fathom, I didn't see your reply until I had posted mine. The site is in html and the link from the home page to their link pages is grouped with dozens of other similar links at the base of the page. ( I had to use an html search just to verify a link was there at all)
Doesn't seem too be "worth it". If their content fills a "content hole" I would still consider my last recommendation. We as site owners/webmasters etc., get lost in the "what do I get" and forget why we link at all.
Short of your site being an authority on everything, we all need links, and the best links either bring in new visitors that we couldn't reach before and/or make your site memorable because you provide exactly what the visitor wants.
In some cases, if other site owners wants to limit this ability, so be it, they are limited to only the merits of their content -- at your end, you are allowing visitors to see more content which you didn't actually develop, while limiting a permanent loss.
Consider all sides... repeat visitors are more important than a one click gone visitor.