Link exchange appears to be a dying trend in the link building industry, at least according to Google Insight figures. This could be due to the increase in searches for "link building" in recent times or some of the misconceptions about reciprocal link building. However, exchanging links is still a strong form of link building.
The Myths about Reciprocal Linking
People continue to post articles and forum comments saying that reciprocal link building is useless/has no value for improving website performance. They are wrong.
While reciprocal link building may be less valuable than it used to be it does remain valuable. Reciprocal linking still offers strong value to a lot of websites. While everyone is keen to create some link bait and get one way links, or build social profiles with a link in, they often overlook the old method of link exchange. If done correctly, this method of link building will bring benefits to the performance of your site.
The Benefits of Link Exchange
If we take a look at the benefits that exchanging links brings then we can dispel some of the misconceptions that are commonly held about this form of link building.
- They give you the opportunity to select your own anchor text and which page within your website to point it to
- They can help you build a relationship with someone in the same industry as yourself
- You can receive relevant, targeted traffic from websites you have exchanged links with
With any new website, you should look to obtain links from the beginning to help your site get indexed in search engines and then to work your way to the top for relevant keywords. Directory submissions and social profiles are easy to obtain at any stage, but a reciprocal link exchange helps search engines define your channel. If you're exchanging links with related websites, this will help search engines know what your website is about. And search engines love links. It's how they find and rank your pages.
Exchanging Links Excessively
The harm in swapping link after link is that search engines will see this as unnatural. You're intentionally building links to improve your rankings, and those who are ranking you don't like you if you do too much of this. Don't use reciprocal links as your only tactic. Use this as part of your link building strategy.
Natural Link Exchanges
Reciprocal link building is not always unnatural. You don't always agree to swap links for the sole benefit of ranking. For example, your site about cheesecakes has lots of cheesecake recipes. Someone reads and puts your strawberry cheesecake recipe into practice. It's the best cheesecake they've had all year. They put it on their blog, linking to your site in the process. In turn, you mention in your blog how someone really enjoyed your recipe and you point to their article on their blog. This is a reciprocal link. Although neither of you have agreed to swap links, it's happened. This type of link exchange is actually more beneficial, because your link is in the body of the content, which is of higher value than on a links page.
Reciprocal linking still passes value if done correctly, and should be considered as a part of any good link building strategy. If you need any more advice for a link building strategy, please fill in our contact form today or phone 01525 715520 to speak to one of our experts.