Thursday, September 06, 2007

Using "link exchanges" in link building

Recently, I put up a question on LinkedIn on the use of link exchanges for link building purposes.

My main objective of putting up this question was to gauge what other folks in the SEO/ SEM community thought about these exchanges. I wasn't very surprised by the responses received either-- most folks were well meaning and suggested that I stay away from these exchanges. One person termed them as "glorified link farms" and many others advised against apparent artificial means to boost link popularity.

Fair enough. And pretty much in line with conventional wisdom on link building. Now, I haven't used these link exchanges yet to know them in full detail--- and I must admit, ignorance, fear and uncertainty about the potential consequences have prevented me from trying them out.

At the same time, prima facie I am not averse to the concept of these link exchanges, which I personally believe are different from the much abhorred "link farms" [not sure if there is a good definition for a link farm---- as far as I am concerned any page that has a lot of outbound links is a link "farm"; it is what "grows" there that should differentiate a good farm from a bad farm].

The reason why I like the concept is that such an exchange gives an opportunity for a webmaster to "advertise" his/ her website---- and whoever wants to provide a link to that website does so purely of his/her own accord. The choice of whether I want to provide a link to website XYZ rests with me, and I can make that decision based on whatever qualitative criteria I choose to apply to a particular site. From a web master's perspective, I think an opportunity to get in front of other webmasters who are open to evaluating your website and providing a link is an efficient way of creating visibility.

I don't know how many takers there would be for that arguement or perspective---- but I would certainly want to explore and experiment with the link exchanges to form a firm opinion one way or the other on their merits & value in SEO efforts.

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