If you have a web site, there is a good chance that you will receive unsolicited emails from “link managers” working on behalf of other web sites looking to exchange links with you. Often the link manager will be from India or Pakistan and his/her English will be overly formal or contain spelling or grammatical errors.
Frequently, the email solicitation will state that your link has already been posted on the other web site, with a link that looks something like www.abcwebsite.com/links_2.html. If you should happen to visit that page, your link will be there along with a few dozen other links that may or may not be in your business category.
My advice is to ignore these requests for link exchanges.
Years ago, the major search engines gave some credit to links on “link directory” pages on a web site. Back in 2000 or 2001, a “reciprocal link exchange” might have some value to both parties. Unfortunately, those days are over. Search engines generally do not give any authority credit to a link that exists in a link directory – at least that has been my experience.
Link directories that exist solely to pass “page rank” or site authority defeat the purpose of a good search result – to indentify authority sites that provide topical and relevant information. This bias against link bartering is why some search engines are punishing links sold by link brokers. Take a look at an article by bodybuilder Mark McManus entitled “Google Slashes MuscleHack’s PageRank.” Mark earned $18.95 by selling space on his blog to a text link ad company, only to see his ranking in Google plummet. Mark happens to have a legitimate blog that contains fresh, original content that is frequently updated, yet he got slapped. Take heed.
If you are going to “exchange” links with another web site, ask the other site’s editor if he/she add an article that you have written to his/her web site. The article you write should be topical and relevant and it should contain a relevant link text phrase back to one or more pages on your site. You would never want to use “link here” as your link text.
At this point it does appear that the major search engines are still giving authority credit to “blogroll links” on blogs. In theory blogroll links don’t differ much from link directory pages on web sites, but obviously Google and Yahoo must see some reason to still consider blogroll links. Don’t be surprised if this linking tactics disappears at some point.
I’ll post about some of the link building tactics that I use in a future post. For now, however, don’t waste your time or your site’s credibility exchanging links with link builders who are using 10 year old tactics and putting links on link directory pages.