Common Sense Link Exchange

Creating a simple links page to exchange links for the purpose of higher search engine ranking is a bad idea. Now you're probably saying to yourself why else would I make a links page? The answer is simple. You want to offer your visitors good quality content. Following this line of logic will help you go a lot farther in rankings and traffic than just throwing a links page together.

You see, search engines, especially Google, are trying their best to only rank sites that have quality content in a specific area. When you throw together a links page that has 150 links ranging from household goods to zoos in Australia on a single page, you have just created a worthless page to a search engine because you just created a worthless page to a web visitor. No one is going to take the time to sort through all those links in the slight chance that there could be something of value to them.

Let's say your trading links with someone. Ask yourself, "If there was no such thing as a search engine, would anybody find my site on this links page?". If the answer is no, you probably don't want to exchange links. You're only wasting your time. That's why so many webmasters today barely read link request emails anymore. I've gotten a link on a related site that sometimes equals as much traffic as a single search on Google for that topic, so it is important where the link is located. I expect no traffic if my movie poster site is stuck somewhere between car insurance and real estate sales amidst 100 other links. However, if the page is entitled posters and every link on the page is related to posters and art or movies then I can expect some visitors coming from that site.

The best way to go is to make a links page that offers sites that are similar to your own site's content, and don't put 150 sites on one page with a title tag that says the exact same thing as your homepage. If you plan to list hundreds of site links, put them into categories. For example if your site is about cars or anything to do with the automotive industry, then you have a gold mine of content ready to mine and tons of sites that can and will exchange links with you - if you have a good directory. You should categorize your links section into cars, trucks, automotive parts, racing, etc. and each category breaks down into more sub-categories like automotive parts leads to tires, brakes, and on and on. Before you know it you've got a great addition to your site that your visitors will like to visit, and others will want to be listed on. The search engines will even list your links pages, and every listing helps.

I turn down sites every day because it's a complete waste of time to get their listing. Linking to them could even harm my rankings. Sites that have 25 pages of links in no other order than alphabetical or numerical are not going to help you. They can only hurt. Links sections or directories should have a logical categorization with a descriptive title tag at the top. Title tags that run on forever and have no keywords relating to the page's content are worthless. Some people think they are doing great by repeating their company name and product over and over again, but it makes the page less useful to search engines and web visitors.

It seems more and more that the organized directory is dying out. New webmasters come and go without knowing the tricks of the trade, while search engines are getting more strict on just about everything. You must organize your directory and link only to sites that relate to yours or you are wasting your time and the time of those that you want to exchange links with.

The author has been a webmaster for over 6 years. Check out webmaster tips for more tips from the author.

In The News:

CWI works on Next Generation Internet — CWI Amsterdam  Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI)
Transform transport  greenpeace.org.uk
Technology more effective at managing traffic congestion than building more roads  The London School of Economics and Political Science

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