I got an email the other day from a company asking us to do a three-way link exchange. Although I knew this sounded a little sketchy from the outset, I got on the company website just out of curiosity and found that their services/ products were totally unrelated to ours. First, for those seeking to better their search engine rankings, link exchanges, even three-way exchanges, usually do not fool Google or other search engines. Second, the only way I would have even considered entering into this link-exchange is if their site content had been very specific and similar to ours.
Link-exchanges are not the best way to obtain links. In fact, if you are exchanging links in attempts to improve your search engine rankings, search engines like Google can catch the exchange of reciprocal links and not count them toward your improved ranking. If you are simply trying to gain recognition from those on the web, perhaps link exchanges are not a bad idea–but certainly not the best way to obtain links. If you do chose to link-exchange, make sure it is with a site that is very similar in content/ specifically related in some way to your website. Google considers organic/ inbound links the best type of links that show a site is interesting readers with their content online. Organic links (links that appear to be obtained passively) are the links that will really improve your site rankings and add to your SEO efforts. Organic links show that you are interesting your audience through engaging content or an interesting service or product. It shows that others find your business relevant and that you don’t simply have to pay to get online exposure.
What are some ways to get quality inbound links for your website?
1. Have good, quality, engaging content on your site. The more useful and interesting the content is on your site, the more people will want to share your content with others by linking to it. (Links on social media networks from others are great for link-building).
2. Promote areas of interest and create a community of interested readers. This can be done through starting a blog, connecting with a local community offline and then serving their needs online, becoming active in existing communities and finding creative ways to engage and converse with people that will drive interest about your subject-matter.
3. Create/ generate News. People are always interested in the latest news and trends for their specific niche market. If you can generate relevant news, you are more likely to attract more readers which will lead to more links. One simple way to do this is embed links in your press releases and grow your network of journalists and staff and local news publications.
4. Interact online and offline. Link to others. Become active in online conversations and become generous with linking to others. The more known you are on social media sites, blogs, etc. the more trust you will build and interest you can generate about your own content.
How do you track link-building success? Here are some tools: