Understanding the Basics of Link Exchange
Link Exchanging is the process of exchanging text links between websites. Webmasters exchange links to improve traffic through numerous inbound links or link popularity. Exchanging links is normally a free process (unless you choose to a fee-based link exchange program), making link exchanges cost effective. Another benefit of using a link exchange program is that it helps improve search engine result placements.
There are various ways to initiate a link exchange with other websites. The most popular method of initiating a link exchange is to email the webmaster of a targeted site and ask to exchange links. You can also find websites looking to exchange links by visiting discussion boards hosted by webmasters. These websites might have link exchange forums or link exchange directories where you can request link exchanges from a specific category or select potential link partners based on other factors such as Google PR or content relevance.
Recently some webmasters have stated that search engines like Google are no longer placing significance importance on reciprocal links. The consensus is that popularity of a website is now measured by the number and value of incoming one way links. Relevance is also a key factor. Webmasters do not have to link directly with competitors, but should link with websites that have industry relevance. Having a link from a website with no relevance could potentially negatively affect Search Engine Result Pages.
Types of Link Exchanges
There are essentially 3 types of link exchange; reciprocal, one-way, and 3-way links. Each has its merits, but one-way links are ideal.
1. Reciprocal Links: When you place a link on your website to another's website, and they provide a link back, it is referred to as reciprocal linking. This is a basic link exchange and a great way to get started with your link building efforts. Just make sure that you are linking with an industry-relevant website.
2. One Way Links: Receiving a link to your website from a third party site is referred to as a one-way link. This is the most beneficial link you can receive, especially if its from a site that has an adequate Google PR and is relevant to your website.
3. 3-Way Links: Providing a link exchange between multiple sites, but not directly to the two primary sites is referred to as a 3-way link exchange. To illustrate, imagine sites A, B, and C. In a three-way link exchange, site A would place a link to site C, and site C would place a link to B. Sites A and B are owned by the same webmaster.
Regardless of which method you use, reciprocal linking provides value to your website. Websites that have completed many link exchanges will usually experience increased traffic through direct clicks and improved search engine rankings. There are various ways for webmasters to find linking websites through direct contact with Webmasters or link exchange directories. The use of link exchanges by webmasters will continue to be an important and useful means of marketing websites and improving search engine placement for many years to come.