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Is link exchange a bad idea now, after Penguin 2.0?



5:28 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

My site was hit by Penguin 2.0. Keywords on my main page hit the worst. No SEO activity for the last 2-3 years... except for some passive link exchanges with relevant sites (using same anchor text).

From what I've read so far, would you guys say link exchange is now a bad idea (unnatural) in Google's eye?

Thanks in advance..


7:54 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I use link exchanges occasionally and the sites that I've used it on are still ranking fine.

I've always been VERY picky, even if the prospective link partner is ranking. Even if the site looks a perfect fit, if they have one dodgy or irrelevant looking link partner (SEO company, overseas business, low quality directory) I pass. If they're a member of a link trading network I pass. If they're doing anything 'aggressive' or poor quality on their site (over-optimised perhaps, or too many pages or too thin content) I pass.

And I'm and very careful to mainly use the brand or website name for the link, with the odd keyword as part of the anchors.


11:50 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Are you doing a link exchange to boost Pagerank? - Bad idea

Are you doing a link exchange because the traffic is likely to convert - Good idea

Are you doing a link exchange to boost your rankings - Bad idea

Are you doing a link exchange because it provides a relevant resource useful to your audience - Good idea

Most people that do link exchanges are using an outdated seo mentality from 10 years ago. They can't accept that things have changed and will continue to change. Links are still valuable (just look at how much referral traffic comes through relevant links) but Google is no longer a simple formula that is easy to trick. You need to be careful and make smarter business decisions. Not every link is a smart link but there still are many good opportunities.


9:00 am on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have seen a practice of websites having a recommended section where they list their peers, of course its an exchange. How would Google view it?


9:45 am on May 31, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I haven't engaged in link exchanges for myself or clients for at least eight or nine years. My only linking that may appear unnatural to Google is reciprocal linking between my site and a client's site (site credit link on theirs, link from a portfolio page on mine). And even then, I've been cutting back on doing that, because it won't appear "natural" to Google.

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