Link Building Strategies: Why not Link Exchange?

Link BuildingI’m sure you’ve heard this before – link exchange. Ever had an email asking you to exchange links with them – Giving you the “You scratch my back, I scratch yours” kind of a deal?

Just make sure you don’t do more scratching than they’re giving you.

Swap Juice?

Link exchange has been a practice in the internet ever since. And it is a good practice too – if you do it right. Link exchange has a potential to positively impact site traffic and improve business relations.

I give you a link, you reciprocate, everyone’s happy, right? If only it were as easy as that.

Why you shouldn’t vouch for link exchange

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-mailĀ  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.


This entry is part of the SEO Hacker School series: Link Building Strategies

You can also check our comprehensive all-in-one guide about Effective link building strategies

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About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.