Is Trading Links Worth the Effort?

exchanging links with other web sitesAfter you’ve published your network marketing or  home business website, you will probably get occasional requests for link exchanges from other websites.

These are simply link trades where you agree to place a link to another person’s website on yours, and they place a link to your website on theirs.

There are called reciprocal links. At one time, these reciprocal link trades were very effective in helping you rank higher in search engine results. Some popular website promotion software suites still devote entire modules to creating and maintaining reciprocal link directories.

Here’s how reciprocal linking works. You find another website (preferably one with content related to yours) and contact the webmaster asking for a link exchange. Often, your site and your potential link partner’s site will have a special page just for placing these types of links.

If another webmaster agrees to exchange links with you, you place their link on your site, and they do the same for you. The software suites I mentioned above facilitate this process by helping identify potential link partners, plus help create your link directory and automatically verify that your partners are linking back to you. In other words, they automate the process to make is easier to do.

Here are some things to consider before spending valuable time pursuing these links.

  • Google and the other major search engines no longer give much weight to these links, in part due to abuse of the technique over the years.
  • It is too easy to link back to sites that have problems you don’t know about, such as spamming and unethical site promotion practices – linking to these sites can mark you as being in the same “neighborhood” and can cause your site to be penalized in the rankings.
  • Since reciprocal links are often buried in obscure directories deep within the hosting site, the potential for your link to actually be seen by a  real person is very small.

You’ll recognize the type of link request I’m talking about, because these are almost always generated by software, and the wording in the email you get makes it obvious. For example, here is an automated reciprocal linking request that I got recently:

Dear Webmaster,

I have come across your website while browsing and find the website resource section quite interesting and relevant to one of our business partner’s websites.

As our web sites are closely related and our products do not compete, please consider posting a link to the below mentioned page.

Our site details…..

That said, not all reciprocal linking is bad. For example, if you have a contact with a quality home business related site, there is no harm in exchanging links. Having your link on a website or blog that gets quality traffic is an excellent way to get exposure and visitors. It’s the creation of mass linking directories and exchanging links with dozens or hundreds sites you know little about that can harm your efforts to get your home business website ranked well in the search engines.

Did you get some value from this post? If you did, I would really appreciate you sharing it with others! And, your comments are welcome below!

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Eldon Beard, Home Business Success Coach

If you have a home business and are happy, that's good. If you are looking for the right opportunity, the right mentor, and something you can build online, I would enjoy the opportunity to share what I'm doing. Click here and let’s explore the possibilities.

About Eldon Beard

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  1. Hi Eldon – great advice on the whole process of linking! I think using plugins like Comment-Luv are getting to be a better option for linking to other blogs in that you can control which blogs you link to – and you can also select which blog post you want to create a link for – making your links more relevant to the topic of the post. Thanks for your great insight into this topic – it will help people new to link-building get a better understanding of linking and help them to use their time more wisely.


    • Eldon Beard says:

      Thanks Lori. Getting inbound links is very important, and the “old ways” such as reciprocal linking no longer have much value. There is a reciprocal linking service I used to use years ago. It was great, because it created link directory pages for you and made it pretty easy to trade links with other sites. That service is still around, still costs about the same per month, but the biggest benefit now will be if people happen to stumble on and click your link on someone else’s link directory page. The SEO benefits of this are long behind us.

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