Link exchange is a cost-effective tool to increase website traffic. Wikipedia defines link exchange as a “confederation of websites that operates similarly to a web ring” where websites come together to exchange HTML links and connect with other websites.
Link exchange programs are usually free of cost although some providers may charge for premium services. New and experienced Internet marketers often use link exchange programs for pulling traffic to their site and making money.
2 Ways Link Exchange Can Help
There are two ways in which link exchanges works:
- Direct exchange – In the direct exchange, you connect with websites that are similar to your industry / business and when visitors come to those websites, they can see your link on that webpage, and if they wish, they will click on to your site. Link exchange of this kind is normally done between highly popular websites. For instance, if you exchange links with the Huffington Post, it is a given that you can receive quality traffic.
- Search engine ranking – Search engines prefer inbound links in a website. Basically, the inbound links perform as a measure of a website’s popularity in the global online community. Therefore, if you increase your link popularity, it will contribute towards improving the search engine ranking of the website. By participating in link exchanges, you can ‘up’ the search engine results and thus, multiply your chances of making money online.
Now that we know link exchanges will help an Internet marketer to build backlinks and rank favorably on the search engines, you should always be aware that outsourcing the task to link farms or exchanging links heavily may be termed as unnatural by Google.
If you want your links to look more natural, you can try a 3 way link exchange.
3 Way Link Exchange
In a direct link exchange, you exchange links on a one-on-one basis. If A links to B, then B links back to A.
In this, if the inbound links between two sites are too many, it will take time to build the Page Rank.
Therefore, many marketers prefer building a 3 way link exchange.
In 3 way link exchange, there are no link backs between websites A, B and C. A links to B but B does not link back to A; instead, B links to C and C links to A. Such kinds of link exchanges are harder for search engines to detect, which translates as a natural link exchange strategy for Google.
If you want, you can try to create a 4 way link exchange or 5 way link exchange strategy as well. More than a 2 way link exchange strategy acts as a disguise to cover reciprocal link exchange.
How to use link exchanges as a tool?
To exchange links, first you have to find a website that matches your business / interest and then contact the admin to exchange links. Now, where do you find such sites? You join link exchange programs.
Joining links exchange programs are free of cost. Once you join, you surf their recommended sites. Your visits earn you credits which can be used by other members to surf your registered website/blog. This is just one way of getting traffic.
While you are surfing, you can come across websites that will interest you. What you do is bookmark them, contact them later and arrange to exchange links with them. It is always better to get traffic from a targeted audience; therefore, it is of utmost important to choose websites for link exchange which match your objective.
Advantages of Link Exchange
- You can partner with popular and credible websites and blogs that can give you quality and unique traffic.
- You get to attract visitors with wide interests; of course, it depends on the nature of the website / blog.
- You can rank on search engines faster.
- Good link exchange partnerships can help achieve #1 keyword ranking in a short amount of time.
- There will be link stability. The websites you link with will not go out of business sooner; therefore, your website link will enjoy link stability.
- Your website can be engaged in exchanging links with multiple websites, as described previously.
- It is a stable method of hyper-linking.
- More than link popularity, you get to concentrate on targeted readership, which should be the prime concern of any Internet marketer.
Disadvantages of Link Exchange
- It can potentially distract visitors. For instance, if A and B exchange links, visitors to A can be distracted to visit B for a longer time than lingering on A.
- The “link text” or the “anchor text” that links back to the website is not under the control of the webmaster.
- You are not allowed to decide where your link will be placed. If the webpage already has too many reciprocal links, your link may not even be “visible” or catch attention to website visitors.
- The website you exchange links with might remove the link after a few days without even telling you. One can avoid this situation by deciding beforehand the number of days the links will be placed on the websites.
- You do not have control over inbound links but it is an advantage to know that search engines realize this and thus expects you to keep a tab on outbound links. If you willingly link to a spurious or dodgy site, it will have a negative impact.
Seeing the benefits from link exchange programs will take time. You cannot start a website / blog today and expect to exchange links tomorrow. At least, give your website 2 – 3 months time to show good results and then approach other similar websites / blogs to exchange links.
If you have any tips, let us know below…