SEO Mistakes: link exchange emails

Here’s a mistake that people still sometimes make: buying a random software package that they think will get them a gold mine of links, especially by bulk emailing reputable sites. At this point, most site owners are savvy enough to realize that emails with link exchange requests are rarely hand-crafted with love. Instead of exchanging links, lots of site owners forward the unsolicited emails to Google, so I see plenty of emails such as:

Hello,
I have found your website XXXXXXXXXX.XXX by searching Google for
“business free from health home home make money risk work”. I think
our websites has a similar theme, so I have already added your link
to my website.

You can find your link here:

http://www.suspiciousdomain.com/news/insert-random-keyword-phrase-here.html

The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue emails–the best links are earned and given by choice. When I recap SES from my viewpoint, I’ll give some examples of great ways to earn links.

96 Responses to SEO Mistakes: link exchange emails (Leave a comment)

  1. Hmm, I don’t get it. I was exchanging links with related websites well before there was a Google. What is wrong with searching for related websites or websites that you might find complimentary and exchange links with them? If Google were to penalize a site merely because some “authority” site sent you a copy of the email you quoted here, that would seem a bit out of line to me. If the site sending the email out was some scraper site or totally made for Adsense, that would be one thing. But, reading your post a few times, it seems like that you are saying asking for a reciprocal link is wrong in Google’s eyes (and it is not really about the website asking for the link). Maybe you can clarify this? In any case, I will be interested to see what you propose as great ways to earn links.

  2. lots0

    Hey Matt,

    Don’t you think you should leave the advice on link building to the pros?

    You have stated that this is your first site. So what kind of practial experience can you bring to the table, other than google’s corperate stance on link building?

  3. any comments about webrings. my 2 competitors arl both running them and ranking above me with between 1600 – 2500 links – recip. both auto

  4. Dave Anderson

    I’m not a fan of reciprocal linking. I believe in exchanging value for links. Give them something that they will *want* to link to.

    Of course, the content has to be there, but you should also give them something a little extra to make their link appealing.

    For example, at a review site, we provide manufacturers with a navigation page that links to reviews of only their products that updates dynamically whenever a new review is added. You would be amazed at how effective this is.

    Then when I get to talk to the webmasters for these companies, I mention that whenever we move a page, a 301 redirect is automatically created. It is very important to the larger corporations that they do not end up with broken links on their sites, and this makes them much more likely to be willing to give us deep links to individual reviews.

    And here is the real kicker, if you want others to link freely to your site, you must do the same. Every review has a link to the manufacturer, whether or not they link back to us, because it is the right thing to do. Every reviewer has the right to link back to a personal home page.

    If you have an appropriate resource site, or even an online store, I’ll give you a link if you ask. Pitching it as a reciprocal link will actually reduce my interest

  5. Brian

    The link “pros” reverse engineer linkage to figure out how to get ones that work. Why can’t this reverse engineering work both ways? If you are a Google Engineer have access to Google’s link data and have knowledge of which links work for ranking and those that are worthless, the remaining task is to replicate whatever sketchy tactics or social engineering employed to gain those links like a “pro.” I think Matt is capable of figuring that out, he just needs to give more ‘plex tours to webmasters ;)

  6. “When I recap SES from my viewpoint, I’ll give some examples of great ways to earn links. ”

    Matt, please do give us some ideas on how to best earn links. We’d love to know the best way to grow our links naturally. Seriously, your advice will be well received by a large SEO community.

  7. Hey Matt I agree. The best links are not paid for or exchanged but earned and given naturally because of a Web sites quality content. But after than, what about the 2nd best. Those must be quality directory links!

  8. Joe

    I disagree. You shoul dnever place someone’s link on your site without a response. Read my blog for what I think should be done.

  9. Pete

    I hope Google will not start penalizing people for doing link exchange or sending out link exchange emails. Links are the back end of the WWW and WWW was designed on this idea. Link Exchange has been in existing since the begining of WWW as means of generating traffic and if the search engines are going to penalize sites that do link exchange, then us as users will not be using those search engines anymore.

  10. Amish

    I guess link exchange is not a bad unless its dont only for manipulating search engine rankings or Google PageRank … well Matt certainly we would be waiting for your advice on earning links … :)

  11. lots0

    >>>SlyOldDog Said,

    August 20, 2005 @ 5:39 am

    “Hey, Lots0 this blog has been up for a few days and it already has 1200 backlinks.”

    Matt should have a lot more links than that. He can get 1200 links just from google employees that are blog puppies…

    Don’t get me wrong, I want to hear google’s policy stated about links. I want to hear what they have to say.

    But advice on getting links? Come on Matt don’t have a clue, other than what we have been spouting at all the SEO forums for years.
    (Sorry Matt no personal offence meant)
    Here I’ll save him some time… Good content will get you links – games – freeware software and tools – begging – money, all will get you links.

    Advice on getting links – I want it from someone that has done it – and someone that has gotten more than 1200 links. We all know those 1200 links are here cuz of who Matt is rather than how great his blog is…

    Don’t some of you folks get sick from all that sucking up? I know I do.

  12. Carrie

    What do you think about the linksmanager.com service? We have noticed that sites are affliated with this linksmanager.com service and would like some more information on validating its use in the organic searches space.
    Thanks

  13. I participate in recip linking. And I do it the hard way, manually. I send emails to sites I’ve linked to and ask for the favor to be returned. I also get many requests from other webmasters and I take the time to review the site before I decide to link to them. I understand google’s stance on autolink generating programs but don’t penalize those webamasters that take the time to review all link requests. This process is no different than human reviewed web directories.

  14. chad

    Link exchanging should not help you rank. Reciprocal linking should be discounted in Google yet it is not. It’s fine for webmasters to exchange links but Google should find a way to detect this and not help these webmasters rank so high. I think they are probably working on this right now.

  15. Lots0 at 11:09 on friday 19, Thank you for a real belly laugh! The best I’ve had since I heard a black hat fumble while trying to explain white hat at a lunch at SES!

    Matt may not be a pro at link building, but he is a pro at what you shouldn’t do if you want to be in Google’s pleasure.

    I, on the other hand do have an expertise at link building, and I would say that the best link to your site is the external one that shows up highest in your back link check and often it is a surprise to you that that link was even there! Why? Because that link will usually help the visitor of the other site find something related to what they wanted from the originating site. I have proof of this. I have never negotiated for a link or reciprocated one from my site. The only links I have out from it goes to safe and tasteful Sites, tools and resources that I think my visitors might find useful, and all of the links coming in to my site are links that my satisfied clients volunteered to me or that I had no idea were there, like a design firm I never heard of linked to me for a long time (I guess until they had confidence in thier own SEO skills), I suppose, don’t really know why but I ‘d guess they trusted my site and of thier own volition chose to link to me. Is an unreciprocated, anonymous, volunteer link from a design firm the best kind of link for an SEO site to recieve?

    If a fork seller decides to offer his visitors a link to the guy who sells plates… That is the best kind of link.

    Dat’s what me thinks.

    Peace!

  16. >>>The best links are not paid for or exchanged but earned and given naturally because of a Web sites quality content.

    I agree with that but its been very often hard to explain to some clients.

    Riley

  17. Here’s a Professionally Crafted Link Exchange Request…

    Matt,

    I read your blog religiously. I’ve met you. I’ve blogged you. And I notice that you link to bloggers Jeremy Zawodny and Nelson Minar from your blog’s home page. Hey, I’m a blogger too… a pretty good one I’d like to think. I would be most grateful if you added a link to me too. You can use “Stephan Spencer” as the link text and the destination URL of http://www.stephanspencer.com. Heck, you can even nofollow the link if you want. I’ve already added several links to you, along with copious complementary prose about you across 4 recent posts:

    http://www.stephanspencer.com/archives/2005/08/26/how-graph-theory-relates/
    http://www.stephanspencer.com/archives/2005/08/27/googlebot-parameters-and-dynamic-sites/
    http://www.stephanspencer.com/archives/2005/08/29/buying-links-googles-perspective/
    http://www.stephanspencer.com/archives/2005/08/10/coverage-of-ses-san-jose-search-engine-qa-on-links/

    I know you’re very dubious of link requests, but this one’s for real. I typed it myself. If you add my link, just think how many times you can use this in future linking panels at SES as a novel example of a good link request, and the only one that you’ve ever responded positively to!

    Thanks in advance. :-)

    Stephan

  18. I agree with you that buying link is bad but if some of your competitor put your link on a site have more than 10000 pages will it effect us.

  19. Dave

    I’d be interested to find out more on Google’s stance on reciprocal linking as well. I have a hand edited directory (no scraped pages, no dmoz results, no blackhat seo tricks) which was recently dropped from Google. The only reason I can think of for being dropped is that I ask webmasters that submit to give me a reciprocal link to the category that they are submitting to.

  20. Matt Cutts wrote:
    > The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue
    > emails-the best links are earned and given by choice.

    Hi Matt,

    Semantics is always important when it comes to understanding just what someone really means but it is especially important when it comes to talking about search engines, wouldn’t you agree?

    For example, in this very thread of comments we read the following …

    Pete wrote:
    > I hope Google will not start penalizing people for doing link
    > exchange or sending out link exchange emails.

    Amish wrote:
    > I guess link exchange is not a bad unless its dont only for
    > manipulating search engine rankings or Google PageRank

    Chad wrote:
    > Link exchanging should not help you rank. Reciprocal linking should
    > be discounted in Google yet it is not. It’s fine for Webmasters to
    > exchange links but Google should find a way to detect this and not
    > help these Webmasters rank so high.

    Dave wrote:
    > The only reason I can think of for being dropped is that I ask
    > webmasters that submit to give me a reciprocal link to the category
    > that they are submitting to.

    … As they pertain to reciprocal links/exchanging links. Is there a definition that you can give us for the term [ reciprocal link/exchanging links ] and in the same breath would you define the fact that since you have linked to Jeremy Zawodny’s blog and since Jeremy has linked back to your blog as a reciprocal link?

    1.) If they are not reciprocal links/exchanged links then what are they?

    2.) If they are reciprocal links/exchanged links are they classified in with “the best links” category that you referred to when you said …

    Matt Cutts wrote:
    > The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue
    > emails-the best links are earned and given by choice.

    … Matt, thanks in advance for any insight that you deem important enough to share with us all.

    Your Friends,

    Sharon and Roy Montero

  21. tamar

    problem though matt with that is.. Nooone wants to link to other sites usually.. its very very.. rare unless they get something back in return

    so how an earth are you meant to gain links into your site?

  22. before we go off on reciprocal linking, let’s look at it’s benefits.

    Search engines are just one way of getting visitors, yet everything we as webmasters do seems to revolve around them.

    I get tons of traffic on my sites from well placed reciprocal links.

    Example, another site and I have each others links on our site search result pages. “didn’t find it on my site, try here..”. It doesn’t help me at all in the search engines, but it does bring fresh eyes to my site.

    After all, isn’t that what we all want?

  23. I am looking for a good ASP link managment software to add link directory in my web site, can you advice me which one is good, easy and cheap software for that.

    Thanks & Happy Search Engines Ranking

  24. as a very new seo, my first impression is that links should be completely irrelevant in serp’s. links can be bought, sabbotaged, appropriated AD INFINITUM. you say sites that have been around longer with older links pointing to them, should be placed higher? no, they shouldn’t.

    - inlcuding links in any algorithm defies any logic.

    i mean, if i want to link to few hundred pages i like, who is there to say that i should or shouldn’t do it – why should it affect my placement if these links are outgoing only. what if those links are to the sites that i think are the worst websites ever?! should those sites benefit from my links!? i suppose, for the term “worst websites ever”, but otherwise why should it make sense.

    the sooner linking strategies are discounted altogether, the closer we are to a better ranking formula.

  25. Yes tamar is true
    >> Nooone wants to link to other sites usually.. its very very.. rare unless they get something back in return

    It is very difficult for e-commerce site to earn free link. Blog or articles sites may get free link but for commercial sites it is not possible to get link without giving any favour

  26. It’s all google’s fault .
    They wanted links , I think more than half of their index is made of “backup pages” as I have more than 250K . Not to talk about spam .
    They want text sites , they got major IP cloaking . (Need to cloak … hit me up ! [themarketerdude--at--yahoo.com])
    And when you want top ranking and you have an old site just use a redirect . I managed to get 3 consecutive domains in Serps with 302 on 2 of them . Really weird .
    If you want to sell links just use a 301 and cloack it .

    But my opinion is they don’t give a **** . (Guess the word .)

    PS: I’d really love to have a chat with Matt and ask a few questions . For starters , When you decided the sandbox time , how long did you think we normal ppl live ?

  27. Who actually wants to link other website? I don’t but I am forced to do so to gain better SERP in Google, Yahoo and MSN. It is really hard to get 1 way link these days.

  28. Google started all these trends including Page Rank. It is going to be difficult to put the genie back into the bottle if you ask me. In some point in time I supect the google will start its own directory system that is human edited like DMOZ but under a google brand.

  29. I believe reciprocal links are fine as long as you have a high percentage of one way links aswell. Writing articles have helped me in the past. My website at http://www.stutter-therapy.com has some of the articles I have written.

  30. Reciprocal linking was around before Google, and then Google encouraged the practice. I hate webmasters that are so paranoid about Google. A bunch of sites in my sector completely deleted their link directories (with my link included) after the last algo change.

    Let me clear something up. The most successful site in my sector has lots of reciprocal links. He also has lots of pages and some one-way links. Google is not penalizing reciprocal linking. They just aren’t the most effective kinds of links anymore.

    Most of the webmasters that deleted their directories (and lost all of their link partners) were never receiving search traffic anyway. If anything those sites should be looking for more links, because quality links = quality traffic. Now where are they getting traffic from?

  31. traffic exchanges really work, A traffic exchange is a clever way to get hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website for free. The concept is very simple and the exchange process is easy to put into action. First, you join a traffic exchange program that includes individuals with websites to promote

    There are two different types of traffic exchanges manual and auto surf. In the manual surf mode, you have to visit a website for a minimum period of time and then click on a button to visit the next website in the rotation. In the auto surf mode, the websites are visited automatically for a specific period of time before the next website is displayed.

    Traffic exchanges can expose your website to Internet users on a worldwide basis. As a result, the exchange can give your website a lot of hits

    Traffic exchanges are one of the best methods of getting exposure to your site on a limited or zero budget. The more quality exchanges you sign up for the more viewers of your website you will have.

  32. Well, the link exchange emails should be personalized and should be sent to only relevant sites. Also, I don’t think the “link pages” on the websites (containing only those sites who provide them a linkback) are of any help to actual visitors. I think we should exchange links from the already “content pages” of our site complementing the content on that page.

  33. Hi friend,

    Online there many software package and to obtain best result you must choose the best of them.

    other thing, that exchange link depend to other important factor than e-mail a reputable site such as: related website, numober of the links in your directory, the most important content, website design,….

  34. I have a google page rank checker at my site. I have found that my least visited page gets a higher pagerank. This is because the page has little or not competition even though it has no backlinks ( apart from insite ), it gets a rank 4 whereas my main page gets only a rank 3… and has over 300 linkbacks from other sites. – go figure

  35. I just developed the new version of my own link exchange script.
    What do you think about :
    http://softacid.net/scripts/reciprocal-link-exchange.asp

    you could take an online demo there.

  36. OK, This is why I feel like turning to ‘Black Hat’ SEO…

    You can encourage links to you site through thing building work but then that’s frowned upon so you have to do either. Do nothing and then your competitors get further up the list than you or, use black hat techniques to try to get to a good position.

    The result is either – you get away with it and get great listings/traffic, you don’t do anything so get no results, you get black listed so get no results. At least with black hat you get hal a chance!

    Failing that you could pay Google tax and go for PPC!

  37. Hi Matt,

    It was nice meeting you at SES. In response to our discussion about reciprocal links I wrote this post. Feel free to use the cartoon for any purpose you see fit.

    Jim Messenger

  38. >>>The best links are not paid for or exchanged but earned and given naturally because of a Web sites quality content.

    the time taken for such thing to take into effect is unknown and may take alot of time.

    Not many ppl will willingly to give out link outs unless there is an incentive..so it’s gonna be a struggle to actually get to earn those links naturally

  39. Matt I read your blog quite often and you have some good points. But one thing I haven’t seen you comment on much is the Big Daddy update. I have a pretty good understanding of what took place and everything but I have a good amount of ‘friends’ who don’t seem to side with me however a post on it from you would clear it all up I think. Would you be at liberty to make a post explaining it a little better.

    For example I believe that Google has discredited recip linking value to a certain degree lately especially in the Big Daddy update. And from research I have done it proves so but I haven’t seen you say much about it.
    Thanks!

  40. Hi Matt

    We are a web site design and internet marketing company in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. We by no means consider ourselves gurus in online marketing however we do manage several local client’s linking strategies, we have been approaching local media & directories to link to our clients. This is done in bulk as we submit all our clients, does this in any way devalue the link if it these media sites (http://www.tenerifenews.com/cms/front_content.php?idcat=83 ) link to our clients who are hosted on the same server?

  41. Just curious, how can Google differentiate paid links and unpaid links ? I mean other than “fast new inbound links addition in a short time”.

  42. Silver: Google can tell if you use ‘paid’ ‘sponsored’ or other words that mean that next to links.

  43. This is true, I receive 10s of emails like this. I have added all other websites (related or not related). after sometime I noticed that my PR was reduced to 4 from 5. is it because of spillage of PR or just because of linking non-related websites? Any Idea.

  44. Just curious, how can Google differentiate paid links and unpaid links ? I mean other than “fast new inbound links addition in a short time”.

  45. Bla Bla Bla. I keep hearing the same thing over and over, ” sharing links is how its always been done. That is not a great reason why you should keep doing it. Anyone ever read “who moved my cheese”.

    I think that Google in on a great path in not valueing shared links because it just clutters up the www with bogus sites and spam.

    I think that people need to take responsibility and do SEO the correct way and focus some of their energy on making their site valuable to the community, and well designed and not waste their time trying to trick the Search Engines.

    Ok I am coming down off my horse…

  46. I agree, exchanging links is not a real way to vote for a site. When I start a blog – I just link to my favorite related sites, then just blog. I always get links back after a few months, and I don’t have to waste time and energy searching for links. It always pays to get links by making your site useful and interesting (and by offering other webmasters useful info to use), IMO.

    “Just curious, how can Google differentiate paid links and unpaid links ? I mean other than “fast new inbound links addition in a short time”.”

    I was wondering about that too – I was considering selling Text Link Ads through their service and it made me think about it.

  47. The best places to find link partners, IMO, are message boards. There you can make and respond to solications.

  48. best links are not paid for or exchanged but earned and given naturally because of a Web sites quality content

  49. I think Matt is right on the money in terms of his position on link exchanges. Link exchanges devalue the importance of the link back. One ways are always best. Google’s algo is intelligent enough to score links as quality and it makes sense that recips are not scored that high. Recips are not natural links. Natural one way links helps in determining if your site is an authority on it’s subject. There is nothing authoritative about link exchanges and isn’t the reason why your website is ranked for a particular keyword becasue it is considered an authority? With SEO and other means, most rankings are acheived through SEO tactics. This wasn’t what Google had in mind when they created the algo. You will see more and more sites that have ranked well in the past start to lose steam in search because these sites only serve 1 purpose. The purpose is the line the site owner’s pokets. Not provide quick access to information. Focus your content on the “USER” not search engines and you websites search engine visibility will generate quality, targeted traffic for years to come.

  50. crazy

    The question lies do you really need to email people.. The internet has billions of pages… and google has billions of pages… you telling me that emailing people is needed for link exchanges…. Ive called up over 1 million places to link to… targeted to…. thanks to googles database… thing is I dont need to email… or worry about nofollow irratations… I also dont need to spend cash on adwords… oopppss is that the hidden agenda behind all this so called spam tech… to force and frustrate webmasters into buying a piece of google advertising…

    The days of easier SEO are sadly gone… are they hell!!!! :0)

  51. Oops…last post I hit the return key too fast, sorry.

    Folks with all the talk about whether link exchange will come or go and whether paid links are frowned on by google – consider two things
    1 Google is the worlds largest link swap really,reciprocal or otherwise.
    2 Google can’t frown on paid links .They created adsense and adwords didn’t they? I think they are the ultimate in paid links so it would be the pot calling the kettle black.

  52. Well, what should I do with a thematic linking? I exchange links on several subjects only, and I do it manually. It is both useful for the site (I hope) and for its visitors. Some of the visitors bookmark the catalog, because they find the information really usefull.

  53. i am thinking about my backlink work and what is spamming and what not. i dont use a software, but now some websites gives a service for backlinks. on app. 100 member sites. i put a link.php on my site with a code from the other site. so all links will generate automaticly. on my and all member sites.

    is this spamming ??? i am very confuse … on all seo sites. google webmaster section too. i read so much about backlinks. some says spamming. some says you need backlinks…. aaahhh please help

  54. Code generated links should be okay, right ?

  55. I think it is not a good idea to change Links with somebody you dont know, specially not, if he spam to millions of webmasters. I think this is not the best start for a link partner. But thats only hiw i think. Jürgen

  56. Andreas

    Link exchanges between sites benefit site visitors, even link exchanges between unrelated sites. When I have a site about horses but would like my visitors to know about a good webhost I am using, why would google have the right to value my recommendation less than from for example a cnet article, because its coming from an unrelated topic site? The hosting site can get as much interested users from my link than from the cnet article.

    Besides that, all people talk about the importance of creating valueable content and people will naturally link to you. That’s just theory on (Matt Cutts” ;) paper. The truth is you can have the best content on your topic, it may take YEARS before you are even establishing a handful links from blogs, forums and other web 2.0 sites, not talking about “authority sites”, who all have lots of other issues to deal with than to add a link to your site.

  57. SEO

    Well, If we see about link exchanges, only relevancy is important.

    If any link which is relevant to a website, can be exchangable. And I think, which is Google also support.

    Only few of paid links can give some good results. If the paid link website has not a handsome traffic, then it will be worthless.

    Regards,
    Amit Verma

  58. I don’t quite get it. On the other hand, does it hurt?

  59. I find it annoying that many companies are resorting to these link exchange programs to boost their rankings. Sometimes they are even linking to websites that offer the same services. I don’t see how that is helpful to anyone.

  60. I don’t think there is something wrong from recriprocal link as long as the link is relevant to your website.

    You can gain backlink from link baiting and good content but the anchor text will not correct and in return, you’ll never get good SERPs.

    Example: you have 10,000 natural backlinks but if all of them are completely natural, do you think they will give you the correct anchor text? No. They will only write “CLICK HERE”, or “READ HERE”, or YOUR DOMAIN NAME (as the anchor text). And in SERPs, everyone will be only competing for the keyword “CLICK HERE”. Lolz…

  61. I think what your getting at is that asking for a link may not be a bad thing. It is the method you use to do it. Sending out thousands of unsolicited, generic emails may not be the right choice.

  62. I don’t think there is something wrong from recriprocal link as long as the link is relevant to your website.

    You can gain backlink from link baiting and good content but the anchor text will not correct and in return, you’ll never get good SERPs.

  63. I think Link Exchange is fine but what matters the most is the relevancy of the link.

  64. It always pays to get links by making your site useful and interesting by offering other webmasters useful info to use.

  65. Hi Matt, Am a year behind guys but thank you for sharing those information and i would really appreciate if you will show us the SES links building ways in here, thanks again.

  66. I agree with that but its been very often hard to explain to some clients.

  67. I was doing a lot of reciprocal links but still managed to go on top of SERP. Of course, with a few one way links altogether.

  68. Hasn’t anyone else noticed that sites that engage in automated link exchanges NEVER make it into the 1st page?

  69. Matt can you explain what is the best way to get links if you we requesting to similar website than what’s the wrong it give the website not only back link as well as traffic also i agree that using automated email software for this purpose is wrong but any one do manually do this and mail to related sites than it’s acceptable as my point of view .

  70. Well I’m using a purchased software fom the internet to help me find websites interested in making link exchanges. Cost me $200, but it’s helping me find lots of sites.

  71. For quality ranking, I totally agree to Matt. As I see it, link exchange without nofollow is playing around the old rules of search engines’ link popularity. If this is not the purpose, placing nofollow would not be an issue. And if the site is really a useful one, others will unilaterally link to it. Link exchange is not necessary but would be beneficial as advertisement or promotion. I think submitting to directories and social bookmarks and joining communities/forums are enough to start promoting your site.

    In view of this, I placed rel=”nofollow” to reciprocal links in my site. So, I apologize to those affected.

  72. Real links are earned by posting good content and letting others know about it ….nothing more nothing less ..write good content – let other know you have good content and it could of benefit their readers to see it …

    Azza

  73. Seems a bit of a Catch-22 to me, Azza, writing good content is the easy bit, it’s the ‘letting others know about it’ that is the problem that we’re trying to solve…

  74. Questions?

    If websites use LinksManager.Com as a linking service and the links are actually coming from linksmanager.com server rather than the actual websites server how does this benefit at all?

    The individual linksmanager.com links pages from what I see carry no PR. So how is this beneficial at all? How does this service pass on any weight to your site?

    I do understand it is a one way link but how much does it really count?

    Seems to me you would need hundreds of links from the linksmanager.com linking service to even count.

  75. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for clarifying Google’s stance on link exchanging. I found this article by googling ‘blogs exchange links’ and your explanation makes a lot of sense. I’m sure we’ve all gotten a lot of those random emails with link requests (mostly from real estate and finance sites in my case). It sounds like reciprocal links are fine as long as they are natural and not for sole purpose of search engine rankings. I appreciate the insight into big G — thanks again!

  76. Hi Matt,
    I am not agree with you regarding Reciprocal Link Exchange. People do reciprocal link exchange and if it is related to their websites theme then it would be fine. However buying a automatic link submission software is not advisable.

  77. People should know better that buying automatic link submission is costly and if you’re website is really that reliable to the other person who would post it and so be it. I don’t think many are using soft wares just like that, and what they do instead is improve their sites and entries to attract more people.

  78. I believe link exchange could be a valid way of marketing only if both webmasters review the websites before approving anything. By common sense if you receive a link exchange request and the website given is garbage, then it must be rejected, but if both websites are related quality sites with good content and each link has a benefit for the visitors, then the link exchange should be made. It’s about marketing.

  79. Ted

    Why not link to a website if it is of some interest to the visitor? Should only relevant links be taken as an unbiased linking? I am not talking about link farms or automated software here. Combine relevant links with linking to non bad-neighborhood sites, along with quality content and visitor traffic.

  80. For blogs, the link backs should be to similar sites. Which will give you site more creditably.
    When starting a new site, then try to get link backs from everywhere. But once the site is established, and then the links should be from credited sites. That way the reader can jump to sites which talk about the same topic.

  81. Yes it true that best links are not paid or exchanged they are earned, but before that one’s site need to be a trusted one in its own niche of market for that one have to do link exchange and other seo tasks after that good links can be earned if your site have fresh and user friendly content as well as navigation.

  82. For new websites that need traffic, recip linking is not a choice, it is a MUST. In my experience, backlinks is much more important that doing all the seo optimization, and this is even more important when you have a tough competition.

  83. Ya,you are absulutaly right that best links r not paid ,dey r earned,but Reciprocal link exchange is not bad at all .For backlinks its necessary to do reciprocal link exchange.If site have good n related content then must go for reciprocal exchange.

  84. Reciprocal link building is something that personally I try to stay away from. It just seems to much of a gray area for a website. I get these requests all the time, and politely tell companies no. However, I understand the value because if you have a common interest, such as a wedding planner whos wants you to link to their site and they will link back to your transportation company, well then it can be a win win for sales because you may get the wedding bookings and they may get the business for planning the wedding. However, you don’t want to be frowned upon by Google. My understanding is the e-directory is really dead, yet can be very useful for certain companies. We don’t use one, but it would be great to do so if we could and have it not get us in trouble with the Google Master.

  85. One way links are the best and automated links in the long run will drop your search position on Google. Ranking well is a lengthly process and does not come overnight. That is what most people do not understand. You can not rank high on Google for a competitve market by taking short cuts.

  86. I was under the impression that there isn’t much benefit to be had from circular reference links which is what you end up with if you take part in a link exchange program. Please correct me if i am wrong.

  87. Seems not much has changed over the years. Google still does look at “links in” as a big deal. Sure, one can say “Don’t go ask for links” but it sure will make it tougher on the new guys to be seen. If the content has a fit, I don’t see the problem doing a link exchange.

  88. sanjay

    I was very impression that there isn’t much benefit to be had from circular reference links which is what you end up with if you take part in a link exchange program. Please correct me if i am wrong.

  89. Reciprocal link exchange seams to be a bad idea from what a lot of people are telling me but what other choice do you have when you are starting up a new site with no PR? Most site that fit in my industry are my competition and there is no chance of them offering to link to me.

  90. Interesting how this thread goes on for almost 5 years now, and people are still wondering if swapping / exchanging / buying / selling links is a good thing or not.
    For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, I recommend the following links posted by Google:

    1. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356 – a few examples of what you should NOT do when trying to: a) get inbound links; b) post links to other websites.

    2. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66736 – the Google’s point of view about buying or selling links that pass PageRank.

  91. The interpretation of Google comments concerning linking is ambiguous and leaves a lot to interpretation
    “Excessive link exchanging”.. who decides what is excessive?
    My guess is if all your links are reciprocal, there may be cause for concern so a balance of both one and 2-way links are needed.
    The other important factor is relevancy, but there again how can a bot decide what is relevant?

  92. I know a group of a few hundred industry related people throughout the US or so who did a link exchange years ago when it mattered and they still have all the juice from doing this. They are #1 for every industry related search term in their own city.

    And, this group still brings in new sites for reciprocal linking. What are they doing right not to get penalized?

  93. Interesting how this thread goes on for almost 5 years now, and people are still wondering if swapping / exchanging / buying / selling links is a good thing or not.

  94. Most, if not all, of Google’s explanations leave us managing the ambiguity of the response…..the lack of clear cut direction is by design. Review the 5 years of this thread and, were there any clear signals or outlines on approach & strategy, it would have ended at just a post or two.

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