Exchanging links between websites is one of the simplest ways to increase your page rank. Quality, relevant link exchanges can improve your ranking for search engines, and your clients’ perception of your website (your business). There are, however, some issues to consider before you agree to or initiate exchanges.
First, consider how relevant the other website is to your business. Search engine technology recognizes whether the content of two linked sites has enough in common to make it a meaningful exchange, rather than an attempt to “stuff” your site with reciprocal links. While it is recognized that you cannot control which sites link to you, the quality of the sites you link out to will be evaluated. Find complimentary businesses that are recognized as being near the top of their field, or have sites that are informational, to exchange links with. The better the site you link to, the more relevant your site appears, and the more value it is given.
Finding a complimentary, not competitive, site is important. When you place a link on your site, expect it to be followed. Do not draw traffic away from your business and send them directly to a competitor. This is a common pitfall in link exchange programs. For instance, if you own a sewing pattern business, exchange links with fabric suppliers, sewing machine suppliers, and informational sites about sewing, not to another pattern seller.
Exchanging links with businesses you know is helpful, because they may allow you to control the link to your site. A link that contains your keywords will be a great SEO advantage. The content of the page on which your link appears also has an effect on the exchange. In the pattern example, having your link text say “PatternCo, creative and easy to use sewing patterns” will have much more value than “PatternCo, click here”. Requesting the link be placed on a page that deals with sewing patterns has more value than placing it on a page full of links. Exchanging with businesses you know helps to ensure your link will remain on the site, and won’t be randomly deleted during a site update.
Obtaining quality link exchanges is done by approaching the businesses directly. If you know the company, contacting them and asking is easy. If you don’t know them, a simple email outlining why an exchange would be beneficial to both businesses is fine. Avoid generic emails that do not address the direct advantage to the business. Mass link exchange submissions have made these impersonal requests similar to spam. Be professional and informative. It is possible to purchase link exchanges, but if you approach the right business with the right information, this is not always necessary.
Link exchange can be an effective SEO tool. Remember to exchange with the right business, using good textual links on content relevant pages, and your website’s page rank can increase. By linking to complimentary information on well respected sites, your site’s value to clients also increases, making your site work harder for you.