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Exchanging links is very important, but are these claims really true.
Anyone here get more traffic from links then search engines?
If so, how many thousands of links does this take?
I get several very high quality referals per day from links on theme related sites. My opinion only ... but I don't think there are any "quick and easy" ways to gain traffic other than finding really good quality sites which are directly related to what it is you are selling and where your targeted traffic is likely to surf.
Others here may be able to offer a different viewpoint. Just my thoughts.
You're better off scouting out a directory to get listed in. The Open Directory Project is a good place to get listed (and they might list other directories for your regional area, or area of expertise.)
Also, I estimate a good link exchange visitor worth about four search engine visitors in terms of targeted value.
I'll coin a term Link Exchange Optimization (LEO). You have to work at learning to trade links with the right sites to get targeted traffic, just like you have to work at learing to get targeted traffic from search engines. You can't just get any old links slapped on any old site and expect the concept to work. Like SEO used to be, LEO is much more an art than a science. You have to dig in and learn what works for you.
I've got a few links that send me 10-20 visitors per day, and that's pretty good considering that they're coming from the "links page" of some reasonably popular sites that get several thousand unique visitors per day. But those few links, are luckily located in prominent spots on their links page, at the top. I only got those positions, by politely asking for them ( and my content is on-topic).
The vast majority of incoming links send zero visitors, and the minority send 1 to 2 visitors per day.
Get your link near the top of the links page. This can happen by accident but I think I'll find a way to start asking to be near the top, especially if my site really deserves to be there.
Start thinking in terms of how the surfer navigates a site when they are not finding the item he/she wants on that site. Where do they go? They go to the site map if its easy to get to. So look for exchange partners where the links page is listed prominently on the site map (or better yet, on each page, but this is not likely).
I've watched surfers run all around my site and they go to the site map much more often than to the home page, even though I offer a link to each at the bottom of every page on the site.
Consider asking your exchange partner to deep link to an especially relevant page on your site rather than your site's home page.
Don't try to cheat your partner. Do what you can to send them the visitors that aren't finding what they want on your site, or that might be interested in something on a complimentary site. It's a lot of work getting good link exchanges so don't give your exchange partner a reason to give you the boot. Rather, give them a reason to appreciate your link. Let them see your site show up in their referral logs. They'll think twice about removing your site the next time they do housecleaning.
Work the averages. Don't be upset if you don't see much traffic coming from an exchange partner. That could change as they grow. You'll have some sites send you more traffic than you deserve and some send you less. So just work the averages. Link exchange traffic is a game of averages.
Most link exchanges use long lists of links, and they are not usually well themed, and they dont usually include a review - even a one liner. I really dont bother about them so dont particpate in any link exchanges nor recripocal links, unless the recriporcal link includes a review and is not in a page full of other links, but in the body proper.
On theme obviously is good. You are getting people who are more likely interested in your subject matter.
But also off theme can be good. For example we get a nice anount of referrals for our glossary from links and reviews from glossary/dictionary sites. Thanks Woz! The same may apply to other directories that review sites not via theme but by the way data is origanized. (glossary sites, news sites, blogs, diary sites, review sites, web design review sites, if you have a good example of using a particular web design, or technology technique etc.)
I forgot to mention ... provide a suggested one-liner to your link exchange partner. Makes their job easier, and more accurate.
I agree that long lists of links usually aren't that good. By looking for highly themed sites to trade with you're more likely to find sites with those short lists of links.