Is Link Exchange Participation A Good Idea For Your Website?


Involvement in link exchange programs for the purpose of exchanging links directly with other websites is intended to produce an increase of traffic to your website. In this article we will outline some of the pros and cons of link exchange participation to help decide if it is the best thing for your website.

Basically a link exchange program involves a group of webmasters registering their websites with a central organizer for the purpose of exchanging links amongst on another. In order to participate in the link exchange, each website is “required” to offer reciprocal links to each member. This is important because unless you are the central organizer of the link exchange, you will not be able to control which sites you have links with.

Relevant, Quality Content Is What Google Wants

If your main interest is to increase traffic to your site, you are probably aware that right now Google is the “Holy Grail” of free targeted website traffic. For the long-term growth and popularity of your site, it makes sense to know what Google is looking for in order to direct visitors to your site. The underlying basic principle that Google seeks is to provide relevant, quality content to its’ users. Therefore, the greater the amount of relevant, quality content a user will experience by coming to your website, the more traffic Google will send there.

Google has its’ own “scoring system” or algorithm to determine the value of your site. Participation in a link exchange will have an effect on your site’s value score or “Rank”. This is because the value of your site is not only based on the relevance and quality of the content on your site, but it extends to the relevance and quality of the content on the sites you direct your visitors to via the link exchange.

If your site provides content on “internet marketing”, a visitors experience will most likely not be enhanced by directing them to a link exchange partner whose site concerns “dog grooming”! Despite the fact that your link exchange partner may have the best, most relative content there is on dog grooming, it’s not what Google wants someone to see when they put “internet marketing” into the search bar. Thus, if your site is filled with irrelevant partner links eventually your score with Google will suffer.

Link Popularity Is Not Just A Numbers Game

I say eventually for this reason. Google will use “link Popularity” in its’ algorithm to rank a website. In theory, the more sites that link to yours, the more popular your site is and the higher your site should be ranked. This on the surface is one of the main benefits of belonging to a link exchange because in a very short time you can have a big increase in the number of links to your site or “link popularity”. So at first, when a Google spider crawls your site and identifies the number of links coming into it, you may receive the benefit of a higher ranking because of the exchange partners.

However, there are two factors you need to keep in mind. The first is the human factor. Google actually does have live human beings that review sites with their eyeballs. With the volume of new sites and content that hits the web each day, it is not possible for them to review everything manually. But the point is that your site is always vulnerable to human review. If it is discovered that your website is filled with a bunch of irrelevant exchange partner links, overnight you can lose your ranking and your free search engine traffic. Once it is lost in this manner, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to get back.

The second factor is that Google is constantly working on and revising its’ algorithm to improve how it ranks websites. Today it may only detect the number of your link exchange partner links and not detect their relevance. There is no guarantee that won’t change in the future. Again, if it does, your website could be vulnerable to losing a good portion of its’ traffic overnight.


Trading links can boost traffic to your website significantly. If you can find a link exchange that consists only of sites containing quality content that is relevant to yours, it could be of benefit to participate. Remember, though, you don’t need a link exchange to exchange links with another website. A simple email request to the webmaster can also do the trick.

Always ask yourself this question when making changes or adding to your site, “Does this add value and benefit my visitors?”. If it does, you will experience a loyal following and steady growth.

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