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34. Link Exchanges
Exchanging links for the sake of cross-linking, without considering link quality, is frowned upon by search engines such as Google and Bing. Link exchanges can take many different shapes.
Some might be automated or arranged by a organisations or group while other rely on personal relations. However, relevant link exchanges, giving value to users, can still be a legitimate link building method. Learn more about various types of link exchange methods below.
Various types of link exchange
There are many types of models for link trade. Some of the most popular are probably:
- One way links: When one website gives another website a link, without getting any links in return, it’s not really an exchange. However, the receiving website might try to offer or give something else in return.
- Reciprocal links: Also called two way links or double link exchange. It’s when two websites exchange links with each other, site A link to site B, and site B links back to site A. Be cautious about having too many 2 way links.
- Three way link exchange: When a webmaster owns several websites, they sometimes ask for a link to one of their sites, while giving a link back from another site. Basically, site A link to site B, while site B links to site C.
Link exchanges Google dislike
Even worse are automated link exchanges. They usually start with one websites putting a code snippet in the footer or any other place of the code, where outgoing links will be put automatically. In exchange, the websites get points or links back. Luckily, search engines has become way better detecting this kind of dodgy link building.
Can a link exchange be relevant?
Bing and Google want your content and site to be related to what the other site is writing about. The link should add value to your content, giving the reader additional knowledge, opinions or insights to closely related topics.
If the link is not adding value, you might receive some penalties from search engines who believe your link exchanges are not genuine. Or worse, Google might think your link placement, anchor text and relevance is so off topic that it can be mistaken as as a paid link.
In general, a link exchange can be legitimate and worth the effort if you do it in moderation, with variation and if the links are relevant.