Link Exchanges are a very time-consuming project. The time it takes to find the sites to exchange with, contact them and place a link on your page can seem like an eternity. The hardest part about link exchanges isn’t the research, it’s the waiting. This article will give you some tips to help speed response time to your requests.

link exchange

“How long does it normally take?” you ask. The average wait can be 2 to 3 weeks, sometimes even longer. The reason for this is that many people operate their web site as a hobby or side business and may not be on top of their email. Keep these timeframes in mind before you judge the successfulness of a link campaign.

The first step is to find sites related to your website that DO NOT have a large directory of links posted. You want to link to sites that have less than 100 links on their link page. Their Page Rank (PR) should be at least equal to yours. Higher is better, so always aim for the heavy hitters. Now, on to the business of saving you time.

Once you have located a site to contact, send a short but poignant email. If your email is too long, it may not be read. What should be in your email? First of all, your email should be personalized. Don’t send the same email to dozens of people, send one at a time. This will help avoid being thought of as a spammer. The personalized touch shows you are serious and that the email was sent by a real person. Nothing says “this is of little importance to me” like a form letter, so avoid using them.

The letter should also include:
The HTML code to your text ad. This will make it easier for people to add your link to their site.
A link to your link page. This will make easier for whom ever you are requesting a link from to find your page.

Also, if they ask for you to link first, do so. If you have already been to their site (and certainly you should have if you are requesting a link), you will more than likely
know if they want a good faith link up. The email you send them should have a confirmation that their link is up and that you are requesting a reciprocal link.

Once you make contact with the website owner, how long will you wait? A week? Two weeks? Honestly, it may be a month before you see your link unless you show some persistence. It doesn’t always depend on how often they do updates. I would contact them once a week after your initial inquiry after checking their site first. They may have placed a link up without notifying you.

There are a lot of factors why you shouldn’t really consider link exchange. Here are some of my personal reasons:

Their website is unrelated to my site niche. They’re asking for a link to Their kitchen utensils site and my site is about SEO. Hmmm Lemme think… Hell no.
Their website is crap. No valuable information. It looks like it was made just for being used as a third wheel for a 3-way link exchange request.
Their website has lots of outbound links because they have exchanged links with a lot of people while my site has only a few – meaning my links are highly valuable and theirs is a commodity.
Their website is new. No PR, no alexa presence, no compete presence – trash.
They give out nofollow links. Who the heck do they think they’re trying to exchange with?
Their website is horribly designed. Bad navigation. Disaligned divs. Horrible and unprofessional. No thanks.
Link exchange requests via e-mail are spammy, impersonal and down-right annoying. It starts with “dear webmaster” and it doesn’t even mention your website’s name even once. Screw them.
There are a lot of other reasons why you shouldn’t do link exchange. But there are also some RARE CASES when you SHOULD consider it.

Their website can give you a lot of traffic
They have a good archive of information that is related to your website topic/niche
They are not in competition with your website
They are a high quality website
They appear in search results with the same (or approximately similar) keywords as yours
Link exchange helps but one-way links are the best. Exchanged links give a lot less link juice compared to one-way. I personally think it’s better to improve your site content and user-friendliness in order to get one-way links rather than investing your time asking around for link exchanges. It’s simply not worth it.

If you want relatively easy methods, comparable to link exchange, try these:

forum posting
blog commenting
article directory submission
social bookmarking
These are mostly useful to build a more diverse linking profile. If you decide to go high volume, many SEO outsoursing shops will be willing to help you with these. Consider the possibility that excessive linking in such obvious self-referencing ways may be the next target for Google’s cleanup…

If you want more reliable methods that will bring you top quality links, consider these:

guest blogging
press releases
link baiting
These require more effort but they will also give you two huge advantages:

They bring a lot of targeted traffic
They are 100% natural and will work for you many years in future
Whatever methods you decide to use, don’t trust others to judge their effectiveness.

Good luck with your link building! May it always be safe, ethical and productive for you.

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