Link exchange is a fact of life in search engine optimization. But more than an accepted norm, it offers great value to a website in terms of ranking in SERPs and building authority and dominance within your niche. In the past, having many links from different websites, regardless of their relevance to your own, was all it took to secure high rankings in search results. Today, however, link quality is more favored over the quantity of links your website has. This means acquiring hundreds of links no longer offers much SEO juice to your website and is nowhere near as valuable as link quantity, which is why it is important to shift your link building focus to quality links instead of merely shooting for high numbers. Additionally, blindly exchanging links with other websites, without regard to their reputation and relevance to your own website can also have damaging effects on your own repute as well as on how search engines view your site as an online resource.
One of the most important aspects of search engine optimization, link exchange not only helps in website promotion through increased search signals, but it also improves your website's traffic through direct clickthroughs via the said link. When people deem your content relevant to what they need at the moment, they won't think twice about following a link through, which is why it is also important to put great thought in the types of links you exchange. Examining your website's statistics, you will discover what kind of impact inbound links have on the volume of traffic that comes into your site.
While it is considered as one of the most crucial steps in SEO, link exchange is also one of the most tedious and draining tasks for webmasters and website owners. With all the work that is put into acquiring relevant links, quality inbound links can still take time to build up, more so when trying to exchange links for a new website. It is for this reason that many website owners fall into the trap of blindly exchanging links for the sake of getting linked to. As pointed out earlier, considering the reputation of your potential linking partners should not be neglected if you want to build relevant links and avoid being associated with websites that engage in spammy activities.
Here are some insights that will help you understand the importance of strategic link building:
- The company you keep tells a lot about you. This is true in life as well as in search optimization. The websites from where your backlinks come from has great bearing on your site. Not only do they influence the kind of traffic your website generates as well as your link popularity, they can also influence how search engines view your site. If you share links with a website that is blacklisted by search engines, say, because of violations like spamming, their bad repute might have a direct or indirect effect on your site, simply by being associated with them. This is often called 'violation by association'.
- Don't let your backlinks go unnoticed. How your links appear in your link partner's website matters. Some website administrators willy-nilly exchange links with other websites without considering the quality of the link. Whether you are exchanging a one-way or reciprocal link, don't forget to ask where the link is to be placed or how the link will appear. As far as your website ranking is concerned, it is best that your links appear as anchor texts within webpage content. If this is simply not possible, make sure that your links contain your target keywords. Even if your link partner assures you that your link will definitely be placed in a prime, advantageous position, take time to do your own research to see what this 'prime position' looks like. Some webmasters sometimes make links hard to locate, while others will stuff your links along with others so that you end up competing for their readers' attention further.
- Go for backlinks that matter. Exchange links with highly regarded websites whose content offers great relevance to what your website is all about. This is what Free Relevant Links do for its member websites—locating high quality related websites that you can exchange links and build strong and lasting linking relationships with.