The term link exchange means that two or more websites link to each other. This is a strategic exchange deal in the off-page area of search engine optimization. A website also receives a link from this to its own website for linking to a topic-relevant page. Both sides benefit from this exchange. Link exchange gives the exchange partners a free advertising opportunity and can positively influence the visibility of the website and its link popularity.
Importance of link exchange for SEO
According to DICTIONARYFORALL, link exchange has long been a common practice among SEO experts – more precisely as a method of off-page optimization for link building. Text-based hyperlinks are specifically exchanged between websites in order to systematically increase the ranking of the relevant page. The consent of both link partners is decisive for the link exchange. The actual benefit of this search engine optimization measure is now considered controversial among experts.
Increase in link popularity
The primary goal of the link exchange is expressed in the possibility of increasing the number of high-quality hyperlinks (backlinks) on your own website. In the technical context of search engine optimization, the term link popularity describes the benchmark for the number of effective backlinks that refer to one’s own page.
The exchange of website links to increase link popularity should have a positive impact on Google’s rating. The following factors play a role:
- The mutual linking of high quality websites improves the user experience on both sides.
- An increased user experience makes it more likely that the search engine will judge the page as a trustworthy source of information.
- The result of this process is expressed in an improved ranking.
What are other advantages of reciprocal linking?
In addition to the optimization potential, the reciprocal linking of two websites offers additional beneficial options for both parties:
- The exchange of hyperlinks increases the traffic on your own site.
- In addition, the link exchange serves as a hidden and free advertising opportunity for the cooperating websites.
Why is there a risk in exchanging backlinks?
Link exchange can have a positive as well as a negative effect on the ranking of a website.
Search engines like Google tend to react critically when they register a link exchange. Because a reciprocal change of links indicates a conscious strategy to increase the number of backlinks. If Google comes to the conclusion that there is a violation of the guidelines of Google Webmasters, a penalty is the result.
The quality of the exchanged link is crucial for the search engine. What makes a high quality link? It is of enormous importance that the content of the cooperating website is relevant to the topic and that there is a certain relevance.
How does the search engine recognize a link exchange?
Google works with sensitive and complex filters that can specifically track down the reciprocal exchange of backlinks. This filter checks all links that are received on a page for certain criteria. The search engine judges:
- Number of links
When is a reciprocal link exchange actually harmful?
Whether the effect of exchanging a backlink with a link partner has a negative impact on your own site depends on a number of different parameters.
A link exchange is generally harmful for a website if the link leads to a page that is not relevant to the topic. The situation is similar with an exchange partner whose website has a low visibility value.
Likewise, the ranking can suffer if the link exchange takes place with a page that ranks for the same keywords as your own website. In principle, the link change should be done with a website that guarantees similar and relevant content. It is important that this partner site is not part of the direct SEO competition.
Google is particularly critical of the abuse of link exchanges to manipulate backlinks. Mutual advertising with links can lead to so-called link schemes. In this case, there is a high risk of being punished.
Where can I find a link partner?
There are various options for finding a partner for a link exchange. It is not important to choose a certain method – they can also be combined with one another.
Link exchange forums and blogger groups
There are various, industry-specific forums in which partners can find each other for the reciprocal exchange of links. As an alternative to the link exchange, it is also possible to search for partners in chats and blogs.
Direct contact via research
Potential link partners can also be identified through targeted research on websites whose content is relevant to the topic. It is advisable to specifically contact the person responsible for links and backlinks and suggest a cooperation.
What should be considered when exchanging links?
Benefit from exchanging links with a suitable partner – for that to happen, the characteristics of the partner and the properties of the link are decisive. In addition to the fact that the cooperating website contains relevant content, the following criteria must be observed:
- Check the SEO values of the potential partner:
- It should be exchanged with partners whose website has a high trust and visibility value.
- In addition, it must be checked whether the link partner has already attracted negative attention in the past due to incorrect or deleted links.
- The number of outgoing links on the website must be determined. The page whose link is to lead to your own website and the number of outgoing links should also be checked.
- Position and type of link:
- Content links that are close to the beginning of the page, i.e. in the first third of the text, are ideal for the link exchange.
- The news and blog area is particularly suitable for reciprocal linking.
- Links to footers, start pages and side boxes are to be avoided.
- A clear link swap that links to the same subpage is rather unsuitable.
In general: Link exchange can have a positive effect on the ranking of a website. The prerequisite for this is the economical use of this method in link marketing. Equally relevant for the success of this optimization measure is the detailed assessment of the link partner who is eligible for the reciprocal link exchange.