What Are Link Exchanges? by Charles Dovbish

Gaining traffic to your blog or website is essential to selling your products. This is not a secret. However, there are a lot of things that you need to take into account when you are vetting the different methods of bringing this traffic in. Link exchanges are a way for you to get backlinks to your site, but there’s a catch. In order to use a this, you must post a link of the exchange site on your blog or website.
In the early days of the Internet this was a very common way of getting a backlink on the web. Now, this has become a dead practice to experienced webmasters. When you’re scouring the Internet, you will probably see a lot of these exchange sites offering you a backlink. This is a trap that a lot of people fall into. Here are a few reasons why you should not use a link exchange program.

Niche Similarity

Your website or blog is going to cover a niche market. Going after a niche market is the only way that you can compete against large websites that have a bigger authority online. So if you’re using a niche market, a backlink to your site needs to be on another website that is related to your niche. Most focus on advertising. So let’s say that your niche has to do with German shepherds. More than likely, the exchange site is not going to mention German shepherds.
When the Google bots crawl the site they are going to find the keywords “link exchange” or “advertise.” This is bad because now the Google bot is going to think that your site has something to do with exchanges or advertising based on the exchange site’s keywords.

The Link Exchange Site Might Be Banned

Link exchanges are generally considered a black hat practice. This means that they are not in favor with the search engines. If you find a program through a different website, run a PR check on the exchange site. Your links should never appear on a website that is considered “NA” by Google or any other search engine. This means that the exchange site is banned or has fallen into the supplemental search results. Your link on the site will basically mean nothing and could hurt your search engine rankings.

Web Page Space

As mentioned before, this is an exchange. When you sign up for a site, your backlink will appear in their database. However, you will have to put a reciprocal link on your website also. This takes up web space that could be used for affiliate products, Adsense or another page feature like a subscribe button for your RSS feed. Instead of using your ad space to promote something that will make you money, you are going to use it for their’s. This is essentially a waste of ad space for very little return.

It’s A Gamble

Link exchanges are a gamble that you might not see any traffic from. Even if you run a PR check on the site and you see that they have a rating of 5 or more, think about how may other people are using their service. Your link could get lost in the database and leave you with no traffic. You can always remove the reciprocal link from your site after a couple of months if you aren’t seeing any traffic from the exchange, but these are months that could have been spent with affiliate’s on your site.

Better Alternatives

There are a lot of alternatives to exchanges that will help your traffic. RSS feed submission, forum and blog comment posting and social bookmarking are just the start. Having one way links are much better for the Google crawlers. When you’re considering an exchange program, there are exceptions. If it has a high PR rating and an Alexa presence you might consider it. If the site is reputable and is within your niche then you also might take the chance on it. For the most part, using other alternatives if better for your online authority. One-way links from forums and blog comments do not require you to waste ad space.

Blog comment posting can also be lead generation to your blog or website. In short, link exchanges are not the route to go when you are trying to establish your website or blog. Using good content with great, low competition keywords will bring you more traffic in the long run.