Monday, November 08, 2004

Link Exchange Abuse

Just about every morning I start out the work day by reviewing link exchange requests and updating my reciprocal link directories. Because I have a number of linknet websites I usually get between 5 and 10 link requests every day. I could get much more than this if I actually listed a number of my sites in directories and link exchange sites. But I don't want to be overwhelmed by pointless requests, and more importantly...

As I've mentioned in other posts, my attitude towards link exchanging has become jaded by actually DOING IT. I have concluded that:

1. Many webmasters do not understand the point of exchanging links. They seem to think "the bigger the link directory, the more impressive and effective the website". But the point is not to create outbound links it is to get inbound links -- and that doesn't require a link directory at all.

2. Reciprocal links are "poor man's links". Inbound links from link directories are often on pages with no traffic and no PR. What's the point?

3. Having a reciprocal link program may actually deter you from the more useful exercise of getting high value links -- what I call "power linking". You think you are doing something useful with your link exchange program. But often you are not (see above). Net result: time spent on useless activies instead of useful ones.

This morning I had several link requests that confirmed my growing feelings about exchanging links. First, I had several requests from an "adult" site. Since these were automated link requests making use of Link Machine, they are virtually entered in the link directory almost automatically (they still have to be confirmed, and can be removed). What if I was bombarded with hundreds of link requests like this?

Second, I received 7 automated link requests from the same site wanting me to link to 7 different pages within the same site. That's not a bad strategy -- you should get links to as many pages in your site as you can. But in return I was going to get ONE link back to my site.

This webmaster is either inexperienced, stupid, or just plain deceptive. Nobody in his right mind is going to trade SEVEN links from real link pages (i.e., my pages have real PR) in exchange for ONE link back to a page in a crappy link directory with ZERO PR.

To further make my point that this kind of link exchange is pointless, this site has almost 8,000 links in its link "directory" and ZERO PR for any page I looked at. Good plan. Good use of your time and resources.

-- Rick


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