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Should I Link Exchange?



3:59 pm on May 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have a small gift idea site that has done okay in the search engines for nearly six years. But not great. My site sits on page two for most competitive terms and page one for others.

I stopped doing link exchanges in early 2008.

Since the beginning of 2011, I have made big internal changes. I am beginning to see my ranking improve in competitive and long-tail keywords.

However, I am tempted to start link exchanges again using a legit link building company. Since I am an e-commerce, it has been very hard to get one way links. And I do not have the budget for paid links. (After Panda, happy I did not.) I want to give my site a SE boost plus get the word out about my site via the exchanges. The exchanged links will only be related to my niche.

But I have heard no link exchanges.

Would love the hear what you think about link exchanges?

Should do I this?

(it is not too late for me to back out and cancel the service)


3:38 pm on Aug 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Reciprocal links can be just as natural as any other sort of link. As Cain said:

So linking to another authority website because they published an article about your business and linked to you would make perfect sense. And therefore would likely count.

It also makes sense for a fishing guide to put up a couple of pages on his site of places to stay and things to do in the area. If the bed and breakfast he lists has a page for attractions, it's natural that they might be willing to link back and could be very useful to their visitors (web and actual).

Google knows that, understands that, and rewards it. I've heard Matt Cutts say plenty in support of reciprocal links where relevant.

Should reciprocal links be the main thrust of your link building campaign? Of course not. Link diversity is important both in sources and types. But reciprocal links can be an effective way of attracting traffic and have a positive impact on SERPs.


3:41 pm on Aug 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lame_wolf is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

If you want to link exchange, donīt do it in a reciprocal way.

What a load of tosh.


7:41 pm on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Have you looked for personal 'hobbyist' sites about these items you sell?

I have found a few of these that are well established sites that have a ton of backlinks.


10:50 pm on Aug 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are 2 reasons why people linkswap:

1. To improve search rank

2. To promote a website faster using established websites

this can be done quickly or slowly - the slow option means using low-ranked webspace on low-traffic sites for free, this has disadvantages of being a slow route of getting traffic, sales ROI etc. The fast route to returns is to buy links, which is basically advertising. I dunno how much is spent on PPC, but its got to be in the millions, and so this must work well for many or they wouldnt be doing it.

I find the more 'Corporate' a business is, the less they trust unknown websites, and thus wont buy. These large corporates dont usually swap links, they do buy adspace and tend to pursue highly targeted sites. But they are very selective about this, so wont just use any old site eg: blogs, unknowns, personal sites.

Getting links is an art - there are some amazing sites out there, but many are so deep in the SERPS (eg: page 300 and beyond), so these cant be actively promoting themselves, so as good as they are, these should be avoided. The best links are on sites that display credibility, active promotion and uniqueness - although high content sites are likely the best candidates, but also the toughest to get links on.

I'd suggest you must get yourself into a position that makes you 'link-attractive' and that means providing masses of content.

Best way to do this is create an authority website, but its not an easy task as you need that good idea, and its such a tough thing to do and get right. But if you do, the rewards are high! and others will link to such respected, credible sites.

Credibility is like Gold dust... but I dont think any old website will work, you'll need the media involved and you'll only get that if you got a brilliant idea. Media driven sites tend to get good one-ways links, and usually end up with authority status and tons of traffic.


4:11 pm on Aug 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

@ Frost_Angel:

Hello, and welcome to the forums!

This post is actually in response to your post in this thread:


Which the moderator had closed to comments while I was in the middle of writing this post (so when I hit submit, it said, "This thread has been closed.")

So now I am starting over. I am building links myself.

Good. That is what you should be doing.

I am happy to create a real link exchange page on my site and give do follow links - but it goes against what everyone says to do.

To be honest, it might be better to create reciprocal links in content on relevant pages instead of having them on a links page. Personally, I would not exchange links with someone who links to me from a "links page."

I would go for quality over quantity - I would make sure that their topic is relevant to mine, and I would look at their backlinks. I've seen too many sites with a high PR that was based almost entirely on backlinks from free directories or other low quality links.

If they have good quality and good backlinks, then I would contact them. If not, then I wouldn't bother. A handful of decent quality reciprocals from relevant sites CAN make a difference in ranking.

I spend most of my link building getting One Way links. But I realize that some will ask for reciprocal links. Fortunately for me, I only request links from sites that I would be happy to link exchange with in the first place (should they request it).

If it isn't a site I would feel comfortable reciprocating with, then I wouldn't bother requesting a link from them in the first place.


5:07 pm on Aug 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

A handful of decent quality reciprocals from relevant sites CAN make a difference in ranking.

Except you'll never get decent quality, never mind significant numbers of links. Dont you think by now, that these "high traffic" websites know what you're upto? Your little blog isnt on their radar - trust me on that.

Get real, they know all the sad little, small-time tricks used by the kiddies and wannabees, and the big cheese site owners will just block you out automatically.

You wont get links this way, never mind all these thousands of free links that are somehow available for free. The blogs are wise to it, Directories are wise to it and the authority sites will have spam link request filters set up to stop you.

Basically, you aint getting in for free, so... if free linking is your only marketing weapon, you wont even get off the ground and you'll waste much time bothering hassling websites and begging etc.


5:35 pm on Aug 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Link exchanges should certainly not be the primary method of obtaining links, but there are plenty of quality sites that are actively interested in exchanging links.

Savvy webmasters do provide link pages that have worthwhile content -- in other words, they are not simply a list of links in a Title: Description format -- or they provide links on content pages.

Yes, these are tough to find and few and far between, but they do come along if you look for them. I do find some in the links of the competition, but I find most of them through relationships I've made with webmasters and SEOs over the years. I do like to know who I am dealing with because I have seen a lot of recips disappear over the years.

Not every quality site has a big cheese blocking you, but you do have to have something to offer. One site I just exchanged with, has a block of content toward the bottom of every page that is available to webmasters who can provide relevant quality content with a link. They approached me in an email. I usually delete those approaches, but this is a top site, so I listened.

Just my two cents. It's worth more than you paid for it, but I can't say how much. ;)


6:17 pm on Aug 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

A top site? a quality site/portal - nice terms, but usually NOT media-recognised entrepreneurs nor sites with 100k of backlinks or oodles of content, so you need to demonstrate what exact type of site means "quality", as there's a number of criteria involved in such top sites.

Yuck! - Top sites, what a crazy title, who invents this garbage talk lol.

Content sites with the title of "Quality" have earnt that right with years of hard work behind them. Few true quality portals exist at this level, and those that are usually have won a ton of biz awards and gained media recognition.

Now I've seen many good websites, great content and useful, yet will never get critical mass as the following is too small. Yeah, great sites, but bugger all visitors and that's what counts in the end.

I could make a list easily to prove my point, but fact remains 'doing the web thing' is tough and it takes years to accomplish. Few will achieve this 'top site' status, and with status comes power - and this power says who gets in and who doesn't - know what I mean.....


7:00 pm on Aug 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I suppose I should have qualified what I mean by a "top site." In this case, the site has national name brand recognition, high volume traffic and placement above the fold on Page 1 Google SERPs for every relevant term across the United States - and more important for my use, in my specific market. I wouldn't normally check Alexa, but the site is under 1,200 in the US, and under 3,200 globally. Does that qualify as a "top site?"


8:01 pm on Aug 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

the site is under 1,200 in the US, and under 3,200 globally. Does that qualify as a "top site?"

Depends, but I wouldnt rely on Alexa as a measure on how great websites work - nor what they offer clients in value. Such "Top" websites should be able to back up and provide visitor stats, and since most dont I'd take what they say with a pinch of salt.

A site may look great, but it doesnt mean a thing really. But what is results, what defines decent traffic-flow, and you cant be assured of this just by viewing a website.

Content, uniqueness and evidence of self-promotion is what counts.

never settle or accept any old link, advert or paid placement and check each website thoroughly for evidence of success. Lots of content-filled sites claim a No1 spot or rank - but the real ones have evidence plastered all over their sites and thats the difference.


3:59 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As I said, I wouldn't normally check Alexa, but it is an indication of traffic. Do you have another more reliable way to check a site's traffic?

The metric I can check and do find reliable is whether a site appears in the #1-5 positions of Google's SERPs for its keywords. The site in question competes in every major tourist market in the world, and in every query I've made, both nationally and internationally, the site appears above the fold. That's the plaster of success, as I see it.


8:23 pm on Aug 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, I see no traffic estimation tool in SEO Centro's arsenal, but I am willing to try anything.

You know, I am not an Alexa fan, but it does give a rough idea of the relative traffic of a site. Is it entirely accurate? No. And it's not a tool I use for my own assessment of a site's value. I think that where a site appears in the SERPs for the keyword terms I am targeting is a better indication of value for me.

I stand by my label of this site as a 'top site' and reiterate to the OP; there are established, high traffic sites that are *seeking* link trades with other quality sites.


8:55 am on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

if free linking is your only marketing weapon, you wont even get off the ground and you'll waste much time bothering hassling websites and begging etc.

Depends on the website and the path to monetization. Your point is true for thin affiliate sites. Less so with sites that are useful or are narrowly niche. The more general the niche the more competitive the links are and the scarcer the free links will be. This should be one of the considerations prior to entry into a niche.


12:49 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Linking has had it, many refuse requests, even taken down their pages and the big authority sites want cash. The effort needed to do this is just crazy, and its clear the way people talk on forums its a sure bet they are very out of touch regards linking today.

I have 2 huge websites - one accepts link swaps, the other doesnt and there's a reason for that - Links is how I make money, so I've already got a highly established site, thus dont need free links for traffic, so if you want on - you must pay or see your website die a slow death, as I own the No1 websites in the sector.

Actually, I control search for the sector.... and other sites have this power in their sectors too, so you have a choice to pay or suffer the consequences of no traffic from these sites.

Its not rocket science, good links mean traffic, and you must pay. Okay, you dont have to, but you aint getting traffic from me if you dont. ......and thats the harsh reality of it all.

At one time I gave away hundreds of free links, but once a website gains traction, you dont need to beg anymore - once you build a site up, then you can call the shots.


4:17 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I'm happy to be out of touch, then, but I am not sure why you want to disparage those who are still successfully trading links. It takes no effort to open link requests and occasionally (as last week with the portal) they are successful.

Again, I don't recommend link exchanges as a primary method for obtaining backlinks, but the strategy remains viable for both SEO and traffic. I was just looking over a client's analytics and was noting how much traffic was coming from some of these exchanges.


7:09 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

successfully trading links

Few, and these kind of links anyone can get. The sites which carry such links are pathetic, non-existent traffic drivers, often dormant.

Its easy to get links, except they carry no weight as their shop window sites and NOT authority portals. I could have 100 of these very quickly indeed, but they'd do me no favours ranking-wise, so why do so many still chase them. I think people get-off on having a huge link count lol.

People clearly will continue to chase the wrong link types until hell freezes over - but they'll never get anything that propels them near Critical mass, which is what their dreams are all about. If they did things differently, they might stand a chance, but like all things they need an idea to put them on level playing terms, something the average content site doesnt have.

Its the same dumb discussion -
Help me get links, I beg you
, I dont know how many links these MFA kids think their going to get without the right type of website to begin with, but I do know they are dead to begin with, and this is why its so funny.

1. These websites are NOT owned by big organisations

2. They will never get media attention in a million years

3. Its kids runnig these sites

4. They have no money and think this can be done with Ģ200 or part-time job.

I think I plunged about Ģ10k into one of my sites last year, I'm telling you this isn't a game - its a deadly serious undertaking. You wont get anything decent without splashing the cash, and thats a giant fact of life.

[edited by: MediaGuy at 7:23 pm (utc) on Sep 1, 2011]


7:16 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Your experience doesn't reflect mine at all. Perhaps it is a difference in industries and niches, or more likely, it is a difference in attitude. The law of attraction is always at work.


8:45 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Its not about industy type nor attitude (although a go-get, em approach wont hurt) - its about competing with everyone else all doing the same thing. And if you do the same things, then expect the same outcomes.

Look, its pretty obvious that if you own a blog, and try to get links from university websites, they'll tell you to get stuffed. These are not equal link swaps - there's a massive disadvantage with one of the sites at work here. Hence the Uni site has great status, and the blog cant compete in a million years with that.

Website power/status is about being known, er, not saying a decent blog cant copy the success content-wise, but most websites are not great content things, eg: 20 pages of text and expect to beat ZDNet for No1 spot - it aint going to happen.

Many factors in a successful website and you need those factors to compete, and this costs. But even with solid content, you gotta accelerate the darn thing, and this is where many come unstuck. Even with a good idea, if you cant shift the idea infront of people, then the site might as well not be on the web, as we all know you need tons of visitors for things to start happening, and too many sites that seem pretty good content-wise, never make it as businesses.

They cant get enough eyeballs, you think you need 4k of visitors per month, then find out you wont make it unless you have 50k! Then reality sinks in, and getting these pathetic link swaps will not work.


9:30 pm on Sep 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Agreed. Pathetic link swaps are not worth it. But if your site has some PR and relevance to another site, a link exchange can be effective, no doubt.

To return to part of the OPs question which I haven't addressed. I would hesitate to use a service unless I could see examples of sites and links they had created. On the other hand, I would encourage you to seek out links on your own from webmasters of relevant sites. Then you can judge their quality as a user. Would you personally use or recommend a site? Do you believe it would be useful to your visitors.

Don't get hung up on trading links with authority sites (not that I think you would); instead focus on sites that you personally like and feel are related to your site. Sites you are proud to associate with.

Again, link exchanges should only be a small part of your profile. Find other ways to obtain links. Investigate guest blogging, blog on your own site, invite guest bloggers to provide content. Build content that is useful for your site visitors. Research "link bait" ideas for inspiration.

And, btw, link buying was not related to Panda. Google primarily attacks link sellers and buyers manually not algorithmically. Panda was related to content quality, not links. Sites which relied on lower quality sites for their backlinks -- a reliance on article marketing, for example -- tended to be affected by Panda.


6:27 pm on Sep 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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

I just want to keep this discussion on track. It's about whether webmasters should swap link. If so, why? If not, why not?


10:45 pm on Sep 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Now when you do these link exchanges, ex. 1 put my link on your site and you put yours on my site, it should be embedded in my content, rather on a links page, is that correct?


11:14 am on Sep 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

So then it is a good idea to have the reciprocal links, after all, if your site is high quality, is that correct?
Or is it better to have links to say Site X which sells complimentary items to my site and then I would site x links within my site, rather than having a separate section for links pages

I also see some sites that links pages that say " Resources or sites we like"

is that good or bad

Ijust direction please thank you


2:55 pm on Sep 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

The removal of link pages is because they got devalued badly by Google. Now many sites DO embed advertisers links, perhaps this makes the page where the links reside look less crowded? - but seems to be one of the preferred ways of integrating links.

I suppose these 'unique' link pages could have many links pointing to them (you'll never know for sure), but like I was saying before - its the entire site itself that is of huge value and its this power, rep, status etc that draws people to it - not some little links page.

Like I said in another post, its not each single page that adds value, its the whole website package, thats where the credibility and power is.


5:09 pm on Sep 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Yup , I get that part of it, so no links pages are needed.

I still do not understand backlinks, can I have other links, like on a blog , if the blog discusses let's say tomatoes and I fnd a great tomato page, can I insert that in my content of the tomato page, pointing away from my site? if that site is relevant to my content? is that good? or bad/



12:33 am on Sep 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hi there, Amy:

Here's what i do:

i try to get one way links pointing IN to my site from pages that I think are very good.

I basically just ask them if they will link to my site, knowing that some of them will, some of them will ignore / delete my email, and some will email me back asking for a link back to them (i.e., a reciprocal link).

Since I only ask for links from sites that I would have no qualms about linking to, I am happy to reciprocate, if they specifically ask for that. but I don't bring that up first.

So it is a three step process:

1) Have great content
2) Figure out what quality sites would WANT to link to your content if only they knew about it
3) Ask them for a link

If you feel that you shouldn't ask for a one way link - that you should suggest a reciprocal link instead of asking them to link to you - then that is probably a sign that either the quality of your content isn't as good as it should be, or you are asking the wrong people for a link.


1:40 am on Sep 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Ok Planet, I get it, thanks

Now one thing, if the site asks for a link back, I would insert it on a page within my site or within my blog as now I do not have the links pages that I had before

Ok by you?


11:25 am on Sep 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

Blogs are fine to inserts links into. Most blogs are now Wordpress platforms, and thats great as you can add images too.

You could give them an entire blog post as a write-up eg: ask them for some written text and link it back to them. I'd avoid stuffing too many articles into a blog, you want a decent mix of information, or it gets boring for readers.

Rule no.1 - always feed the search engines!


11:43 pm on Sep 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

ok thank you
This 58 message thread spans 2 pages: 58

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