Wednesday, November 24, 2004

When to Reject Link Exchanges

Just about every morning I begin my day by evaluating the 10 or so link exchange requests I've received since the previous day. I get this many because I administer about 20 websites, and most have an automated link exchange program called LinkMachine installed.

The truth is, I've become so jaded about random link exchanges of this sort that I think it is hardly worth my time. I get way too many requests from people who either have junk websites, or sites that are completely unrelated to any of mine (gambling, for instance). There is no point trying to explain why you don't want certain links. These people simply don't care. They're just engaged in a relatively pointless numbers game.

The requests that really irk me are the ones from webmasters or link exchange "experts" who try to get a good link in exchange for a bad one. I've mentioned this in other posts. These are the people who want a link from a legitimate, categorized link page (mine) in exchange for a link from a page with hundreds or even thousands of links pointing to their link "partners".

No thanks.

It's even worse when they want you to link to their primary (important) site, and in return give you a link back from some content-less site that is nothing more than a bottomless pit of outbound links. So their real site has thousands of links pointing in, and virtually none pointing out. Very clever. Very deceptive.This is what I have called "Link Exchange Abuse".

As a result I've been forced to abandon my normally "permissive" attitude about things like this, and create some hard-nosed rules. Here is what they are... at least for now...

1. No exchanges with adult sites.
2. No exchanges with online gambling sites.
3. Rejected if there is no link from the home page leading to the link pages.
4. Rejected if there is no defined category I can fit into. "Other" is not acceptable.
5. Rejected if there are more than 5 pages in my category.
6. Rejected if their typical link pages have more than 50 outbound links.
7. Rejected if they want to put me on a site other than the one I am linking to. (unless it is better).

That should filter out about 85% of the sites I want to reject. I'll have to fine-tune the rules as I go along to get the other 15%...

The bottom line is...I am not going to waste too much time sifting through link requests. There are better, more legitimate, easier ways to get valuable links.

-- Rick

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