Many webmasters dispute the importance of link exchange programs in terms of search engine optimisation. Logically too, two websites exchanging links doesn’t tell Google or any other search engine how relevant these websites are. Still, there are some benefits of exchanging links that cannot be negated. Some of the benefits of the link exchange exercise are:
- Link exchange actually improves your rankings if the websites compliment each other and both the websites are relevant in their respective niches.
- Link exchange gets you direct, highly targeted traffic. Since people on the website linking to you are already interested in the related service, if they click on your link from, there, there is greater possibility of such leads turning into business.
- Link exchange gets your pages indexed fast. Since your links exist on many websites, there are many ways the search engine spiders can reach your web pages and then index them.
So how should you initiate and manage your link exchange program?
Requesting a webmaster for a link exchange can be a sensitive issue because many webmasters don’t like the idea of people approaching them for exchanging links just like that. If you come across a website that seems like a good link exchange partner look if they have a page mentioning their link exchange policies and preferences. In case you cannot locate the page (a good indication they don’t take link exchange seriously) look for the sitemap and this page should have some page on link exchanging.
After you have decided that you are going to approach a particular webmaster for a link exchange request, make sure you have already put his or her link on your website. Show a genuine interest by not only putting the link on your website, but also explaining in the requesting email or contact form submission why you are doing that. Also mention that although you’ll be thrilled if your link is put on their website, if they decide not to do it, their link will remain on your website as long as it adds value to your website.
Keep track of all the link exchange requests you make and try not to approach a webmaster more than once.
So how do you find websites that may be interested in exchanging links with you?
You can use a search engine to find websites that are being linked to and that are linking. For instance, go to Google and search for “link:www.somedomain.com” (no need for quotes). This will show you all the websites linking to your chosen website. Then one by one you can start visiting these websites and send them link exchange requests.
The best links are earned, not exchanged or bought, so the best way to encourage people to link to your website is by providing them great content. Don’t make link exchanging as an important ingredient of your overall search engine optimisation and marketing. Just keep it as a value-addition.