From time to time clients and potential sales leads query my expertise on link trading as it relates to SEO and building traffic. Typically my response covers a few main points, mostly related to informing the client of the various types of link exchanges and their value, as well as relaying any techniques to avoid. Here’s a 6 item break down of basic link trading guidelines:
1. Ignore and don’t respond to unsolicited email link exchange emails. They are either complete spam, from an automated link building bot or from some Grey hat SEO firm looking to artificially boost their client’s website rank.
2. Seek out websites and contacts in your industry and a related field to trade links with, find their contact information and contact them via email in a personal matter. Work out these deals by hand which allows you to hopefully gain a more valuable link exchange.
3. When setting up link trading deals with friendly sites, try to have them publish an article or short blurb on their site/blog which includes linked keywords relating to your industry or specific keywords you are targeting. Getting your URL hyperlinked on their “Links” page isn’t worth the trouble unless it’s surrounded by copy and keywords related to the topic of your site. A 200-300 word paragraph or post with 2-3 linked keywords (ex: “your product name” or “your industry”) linked to your home page page is ideal.
4. When evaluating websites in which to trade links keep an eye on their Google PR levels, Alexa rank and Compete.com stats as well as any other stat metric you have available. If they rank higher than you in 1 or more places it’s probably going to benefit your site more than a lower ranking site link trade will. Because these services all share well documented inaccuracies, don’t rely solely on this data when making the decision to trade links. Even low ranking sites can be well worth the time.
5. Deep linking. Google and presumably the other search bots like deep links into your site from other websites. So while getting a link to your home page is good, a link to one of your sub pages can benefit you more, once you have the home page links well covered. Have sites link to your Products or Services page instead.
6. Links within your industry are better than random links from an unrelated field. Simply put, if the website linking to you contains keywords and content relating to your industry, the bots will weigh that more in their consideration of rank.
Do you have an additions to this list? Comment and I’ll post them with a link to your blog.