Link Exchanges May Not be THAT Out of Favor

Last week I wrote about how some SEO (search engine optimization) professionals and webmasters claim that link exchanges are out and free articles are in, as a link-building strategy. It is due to changes in the way Google ranks inbound links.

Well, stop the presses and hold the phone!

Jennifer Laycock, Editor of Search Engine Guide, offers a slight twist. She suggests that early on, for a new site, link exchanges still make sense. That’s because until a new site builds enough traffic for people to see great content, the webmaster’s first goal should be to concentrate on getting people to discover the site:

“Most small business owners understand that one of the most important things they need to do in order to help their web sites rank better on the search engines is to build incoming links from quality, relevant web sites. I’ve written in the past about building the right content to serve as link bait, but the reality is that until your site starts to be found on its own, it’s hard to get those links, no matter how great your content is. That means that many small business owners will need to start off their link building campaign by asking for links.”

Read the full article describing link building as akin to building relationships. In her article she notes that she spent a half hour researching a single site and composing an email message in order to ask for a link.

It’s clear that whether you request links or write articles that others can publish for free on their websites, both approaches will take time and considerable thought. The days of mindless link exchanges are over (if they were ever in).


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

4 Reactions
  1. That’s absolutely right. For the successful kick start of any small online business, link exchanges may be of great advantage. However, some still think that linking to nearly ANY page, whether related or not, will still drive traffic to your site and get you high on the search engines. It’s not about that. It’s just that you should exchange with the most relevant and related sites so both of you really benefit from the exchange… anyway disregarding link exchanges should be considered first after the site has been established and gets its own traffic through the SE’s or whatever else.

  2. I have found that a couple of link exchanges has helped several of our recent websites to get indexed quicker than those without any inbound links (ie: just submit sitemaps etc).

  3. I wonder if this would still be true today, in 2009? Much of this still goes on in SEO. I’m not commenting on if it works, or is good, bad, but thoughtful link exchanging seems smart and within the World of Google guidelines.

  4. This trend has reached a whole new level courtesy of online blog-post services that you can bring on the road. Since most students spend more time online, blogs like help them kick their research into overdrive, Larae Celedon

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