Emails About Exchanging Links

By Jacqueline Sinex, Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Bartering and exchanging

So, you got an email from someone asking you to “exchange links” with their website. They want to link to your website and they want you to put a link to their website on yours. They give you a little more info and end with a thank you.

What should you do? Is this a good idea? Is it a scam? What in the world do you get out of a link exchange?

First, the why: this is an old tactic used since the ’90s to try to promote a website – an early Internet marketing technique. With today’s SEO, building links to your website (links from other websites that bring traffic to yours) is an important element. But be wary of invitations to exchange links.

Here are my basic recommendations:

  • If the email sounds canned, it probably is. A lot of “Internet spammers” use automated programs to send thousands of these invites to any site they can find.  And sometimes the sites offering a link to you are not incredibly legitimate or note-worthy.
  • If you do not know or love the website offering the link, it probably isn’t worth considering. In fact, that website might even be a competitor.
  • If you do know and love the website, or if they are respected in your industry or well known to have high traffic (let’s say the official Pizza Hut website offered you a link), consider it.
  • Instead of exchanging links with a website you don’t know (a cold invite) why not link to sites that belong to companies you do actually partner with and refer with?
  • If you do accept a link exchange with any site, make sure the link is present on their website before you add one to your site. And check back somewhat regularly to ensure they keep your link on their website. (If they roll it off in a few weeks – take the link you posted down. It’s only fair.)

Is this kind of email always a bad idea? Well, no.

There are still some legitimate, committed webmasters who manually select particular websites (maybe related to similar subjects or industries) to personally invite to link build with. There might be some good efforts here and maybe their own website really is well-ranked or has some decent traffic. (A link on a higher ranked website could have more weight and bring you some “SEO juice”.)

In most cases, you can ignore and delete an email you receive to post a link to someone’s website. There are other ways to build quality legitimate links to your own website and gain traffic – including writing and guest writing blogs, articles, and press releases.

You can also leave helpful comments on other blogs that you read. Feel free to leave comments here, but no spammy stuff of course!

Posted in: Austin Web Design, Internet Marketing, Quick Tips, SEO, WWW Learning Center

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