Why Link Exchanges Are Devalued

If you’re reading this post you’ve most likely came across it because I’ve emailed you a link to it as you’ve requested a link exchange with one of my clients’ or one of my own websites. I applaud and admire your enthusiasm to increase the ranking of your website but currently disagree heavily with link exchanges and you should understand why as it will help your site too.

After receiving countless numbers of such emails and requests I’ve decided the best way to respond was to write this post on why I will not participate in your link exchange and why current link exchanges usually offer no or very little value to a site.

As many website owners, webmasters and SEOs know link building is one of the pillars to success in organic search engine optimization. And the methods and ways they go about obtaining links can be as varied as colors in the rainbow. But over the evolution of search engines and SEO some methods of obtaining links have been depreciated or devalued due to their negative effects from spam and quality control. Among those devalued link building techniques is link exchanges.

In the early days of search engines and optimization, link exchanges where an effective means of link building. During that primitive time a website could indeed optimize a few factors on there website and then trade a few links with high PageRank or authoritative sites and ZIPPP! your at the top of the search results. But as time went on search engines got wiser and spammers becoming more vigorous. As more and more people caught on to this so did spammers only they took it to another level. Search engine spammers created massive link exchanges offering little or not actual value but just many… many pages of links. Quickly search engine caught on to this and begun making steps towards recognizing and devaluing such types of links.

In fact here is what Google currently says about link exchanges:

…some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.

So as you can see link exchanges can not only be totally non-effective at counting as a link pointing to your site but also can have rather harmful ramifications on your rankings in the search engines. There have even been many reports that sites have been severely penalized for participating in link exchanges and even gone as far as being banned from search engines.

I have confirmed with MSN Search staff (Janine Crumb) that my site [titled] Most Popular Sites was banned from MSN Search for having a link exchange forum area.

Due to this devalued response to link exchanges from search engine many leading SEOs have written and said many things including warning against participating in such activities. I’ve listed below some response to link exchanges that these industry leading SEOs have said.

I think most link networks are not worth participating in…

…don’t waste your time getting on someones “Links” page…

But what about 3-way link exchanges, you might ask. Well same goes for 3-way exchanges, it would be rather dimwitted to concluded that Google and other search engine could not figure out that you have participated in a 3-way link exchange. Their algorithms and interpretation of websites’ link structures are very advanced from what they once where. In fact here are some statements on this from other expert SEOs.

3 way linking is usually bad because most sites that need to use it are not worth linking at and do not have links which carry much link weight…

So now you understand that link exchanges are a poor means of link building. But many of you now I’m sure now have no idea what to do in order to obtain links. Well not to worry, there are so many methods of link building I would be hard pressed to leave 1/4 of them on this blog post. But so as not to leave you totally out in the dark I’ve provided a list of several currently effective link building techniques. Each has it’s own set of rules and scale of effectiveness, it’s up to you now to decipher which will work best for your site.

  1. Social Media Links - obtaining links through popular social media sites. Examples include Digg.com, flickr.com, wordpress.com
  2. Submit Articles - write informative articles and submit them to article directories and sites.
  3. Submit Press Releases - write or have someone a press release about your company and get it published on a PR site.
  4. Create a Useful Tool, Theme or Widget - come up with and create something that other would find interesting and useful enough to link back to you.

If you have any questions, need help or want someone to preform link building services for your website please feel free to contact us and we’ll give you a free consultation on what we can do to improve your link building.

Please link to this, spread the word, and feel free to email others this post when they send you link exchange requests. It’s the only way to stop yourself from receiving annoying link exchange requests and it will effectively help make better search results.

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This is a good resource which hopefully will help get the idea across to them.

[...] SEOSean - Why Link Exchanges are Devalued [...]

Mike says:

really nice post. Link building play an important role in SEO but now a days some of the spammers has totally block the future of link building….

Ken says:

Great post but how many small business have the time and resources to create articles and tools? Some of us are trying to sell products, not dive into SEO.

SEOsean says:

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your positive comments. I understand what you mean about creating tools. What I’m saying here is that link exchanges are just not the way to go for link building. There are many things one can do to get positive and ethical links - creating great articles/content and tools are just one way. Not to dig on you or anything, but if one is not willing to do that or another ethical method of link building then your not really doing what is required to get positive and ethical SEO results that work and will retain some value. Hope that comes across right. :)

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