You have probably already heard about the infamous link exchange method that is used to boost your SEO rankings. It is being promoted all over the Internet, but do you really know how it works? What is link exchange in SEO and how does it affect your business?
A detailed explanation of What is link exchange in SEO
One of the primary methods of link building that was used in the past is link exchange. Although social media marketing was also popular back in the day, link exchange was the simplest and easiest tactic for improving your SEO scores. But how does link exchange work and how does it affect your SEO?
Link exchange is a pretty straightforward process. In order to promote your business on as many websites as possible, you would find your partner website. After that, you would make a deal with that specific website to market their business, while they market yours.
If you wanted to have your business featured on your partner's website, you would need to do the same favor on your website. This was a pretty effective way of creating backlinks to your website, and it was very cheap. There is no wonder why this methodology was widely used by many online businesses.
The pages that were used for this process where usually the pages constructed specially to market your partners. These pages would have the names like 'Our Partners', 'We Recommend' or 'Our Best Picks'.
These days, link exchange is nowhere as lucrative as it was in the past. Things have drastically changed, and people have adapted to those changes. While it's not as beneficial as it was, is link exchanging still a solid strategy in boosting your SEO scores?
What is link exchange in SEO today?
As we have previously mentioned, things have drastically changed, when it comes to link exchange. How is the link exchange process different today than it was 10 years ago?
Search engines have noticed that these types of backlinks aren't really an honest measure of your website's reliability and popularity. They have also realized that these links are just a way for businesses to boost their SEO rankings without much effort.
In order to deal with this problem, search engines started giving less value to reciprocal links that crawlers would find on your website. Furthermore, all of the reciprocal links that were previously found on your website were devalued.
This was a major change in the link exchange strategy. In a short period of time, all of your partner's links were deprived of their SEO value. Some people took down all of the links from their partners because they feared search engines might penalize them for having such links.
The truth is that link exchange penalties don't really exist. While it is true that link exchanging is not as lucrative as it was, search engines won't penalize you for having them - their value just dropped significantly.
What is link exchange in SEO - When not to use it
Link exchange isn't always a good thing for your business. There are a lot of examples where it can really hurt your business's reputation and overall impression. We have covered all the cases on how link exchange can have a negative effect on your business.
The tricky thing about link exchange is that you have to choose the right websites to market your business. These are the websites that you should avoid when looking for a link exchange partner.
Websites you should avoid
- Websites that are unrelated to your business's niche. This sounds reasonable enough, you don't want to market your restaurant business on a website that offers car services. It just doesn't make sense to pick a website that has no common ground with your niche. You would have higher chances of boosting your ratings just reading these local restaurant SEO tips.
- Websites that look terrible. These websites have no valuable information and their creative design is non-existent. You wouldn't want your customers to see a commercial for your business on a website that looks like it was made by a bunch of kids with crayons - it just looks unprofessional.
- Websites that have a lot of outbound links. This means that these websites have exchanged links with a lot of partners, while you have done this with only a few particular sites. This means your links have a higher value, while links from these websites have a really low SEO value.
- New websites. Websites that have been created recently don't have good PR, they didn't establish their brand and they rarely have good SEO scores. You should carefully reconsider partnering up with these websites.
- Websites that give out nofollow links. Having your business promoted with a nofollow link on one of the most popular websites can't be bad for your SEO rankings. The problem here is that these websites usually aren't the most popular ones.
- Websites that send link exchange requests via e-mail. These websites have a higher chance of being 'spammy', and you don't want to be associated with them. Google's search engine has a special feature to recognize websites that spam their users and they will get penalized for doing this - you don't want to become one of those websites.
What is link exchange in SEO - When you should use it
As you can see, there are plenty of bad ways to use link exchange. But that does mean the proper ways of using them don't exist. They might be rare and uncommon, but we can't say that link exchange has only bad effects on your business.
Here are the best possible cases when link exchange can have a significant impact on your website's SEO rankings.
- Partnering up with popular websites. If you manage to find the perfect partner that runs a website that is rich in traffic, you should definitely consider doing a link exchange with them.
- Websites that have top-quality content related to your niche. You probably know a few websites that have a similar niche as your business. If these websites also have an amazing archive of information that can be useful to your visitors, they will make an amazing link exchanging partner.
- Websites that aren't competing with you. It's usually not a smart move to partner up with your closest competitors. This means that you should widen your search and look for businesses that aren't competing with you but are willing to do link exchange instead. Make sure they have a legit website with good SEO scores.
- High-quality websites. When it comes to SEO scores, one thing is certain - websites that have a high quality always perform well. It's never a bad idea to do a link exchange with a serious company that provides professional services.
- Websites that rank for the same keywords as you do. Connecting with the websites that rank for similar keywords can have a really positive effect on your rankings.
Link exchange is a double-edged sword
It's obvious that link exchange can be a powerful tool if used correctly. It has some bad sides, but it also has features that can help your business grow bigger and more popular. So, should you use link exchange in order to boost your SEO scores?
Questions that will help you decide
Many of the SEO experts have different opinions when it comes to this topic. There are no definitive studies that show how link exchange directly affects your SEO rankings.
If there is no proof that link exchange is good or bad for your business, how can you be certain if you should use it or why you shouldn't? These questions will help you in making the right decision for your business.
Is the link you are exchanging contextually relevant?
As we have previously mentioned, you shouldn't pursue links from websites that aren't connected to your business's niche. This won't bring the right visitors to your website and it's obviously considered as manipulating your search results - this goes against Google's public guidelines.
The placement of your link will look unnatural on websites that have nothing to do with your niche. This can only make the readers of that particular content confused and surprised, but not in a pleasant way. This might make your website's position on search engine result pages drop since you aren't offering relevant links to the topic that users are reading.
Are you adding valuable links to your content?
If you plan to use link exchange with a partner, you should make sure that they are running a high-quality business. You don't want to provide your visitors with bad quality content that has nothing to do with the subject they are currently reading.
When you provide a link to your partner, your main goal shouldn't be to get a link back from their website. You should always put the satisfaction and needs of your users in the first place.
Your audience isn't looking for a link to some random website that has nothing to do with a specific topic they are interested in. If you really think that this partner has valuable information that your users will find interesting and amusing, then go for it. If you are using link exchange primarily to get better SEO scores, that won't do your business any good.
What are the SEO metrics of the link you are exchanging?
We have already talked about what is an SEO score of your website, so you should already know why the SEO scores are so important for any website. This is why you need to do an extensive research on the links that you are sharing on your web pages.
You don't want to link exchange with websites that have terrible SEO scores. This will have a devastating effect on your business. It will make you look unprofessional in your visitor's eyes and it will also damage your own SEO scores.
Before you decide to link exchange with any website, you should make sure that they are the right partner for your business. They need to have good SEO scores and they need to be a well-established business.
What is link exchange in SEO - Our suggestions
We hope that this guide will give you a better insight into what is link exchange in SEO and how it affects your business. We recommend you to take your time and carefully reconsider if link exchange is the best move for your future development.
As you are well aware, link exchange isn't the only way to boost your SEO rankings. There are plenty of SEO services that have way better results than link exchange. If you are interested which SEO service yields the best return, our team of professional SEO experts is willing to assist you in every step of the way.
You don't have to use methods that aren't reliable in order to boost your website's SEO scores. You have a better insight into what is link exchange in SEO, but that doesn't mean it will suit your business perfectly.
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