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Link exchanges are a good way to help increase your traffic and improve your page rankings in search engines. Unfortunately, not all links are created equal. There are more and more websites using deceptive link strategies that not only don’t help your traffic but can hurt your reputation.
Link Exchange Scams to Avoid
Author: Leslie Truex
Link exchanges are a good way to help increase your traffic and improve your page rankings in search engines. Unfortunately, not all links are created equal. There are more and more websites using deceptive link strategies that not only don’t help your traffic but can hurt your reputation. Link exchanges with disreputable sites can actually hurt your Google page rank and, in fact, lead to a penalty by Google.
Everyday I get several emails from webmasters asking me to exchange links with them. In their emails they are very complimentary about my site and “remind” me how important reciprocal linking is to a website’s success. They have already, in good faith, added my link to their site and provide a page URL that I can check to make sure its acceptable. In return, they ask that I provide a link to their site from my website.
Lately, nearly every link request I’ve gotten has been deceptive. For a link exchange to be fair, there not only needs to be a link to each other’s sites, but visitors need to be able to find those links preferably with a link to a “links” page from the home page. What I have discovered is that the link to my site is posted at the URL the webmaster sends me, but when I visit the home page, there is no link to the links page. There is no way for the other site’s visitors to find my link.
I feel certain that other sites are getting the same types of emails, but I wonder, do they check out the link? Do they verify it can be found from the other site’s home page? In a Google search, I found just a few articles related to dishonest link exchange schemes. Nevertheless, I was shocked (although I’m not sure why with the rampant dishonesty on the Internet) to find several other ways dishonest webmasters trick people into linking with them. Since web traffic and internet marketing is a must for online success, it’s important that all good webmasters know how to protect themselves from link scams.
Here are some tips to avoid a bad link partner:
1) When you receive a request to exchange links, check that the site is one you want to be associated with. If you are building a business online, you need to protect your reputation, so don’t accept any and all exchange request. What is the quality of content on the site? Does the site offer information relevant to your visitors? What is its Google page rank? (You can use the Google tool bar to find this out.) A “0 “ isn’t necessarily bad as it could be the site has not been indexed, but it could be under a penalty, so you should research the site carefully.
2) Verify your link is actually on the page. Deceitful webmasters may hide the link so it can’t be seen and therefore can’t be used by the site’s visitors. You can hit ctrl-a to highlight a page to find any hidden text. Other times, a dishonest webmaster may just not add the link at all.
3) If your link is there, click it. Verify it goes to your site as some deceitful webmasters have it link back to their homepage.
4) Check the code of the URL. Right click the link and choose “properties” from the drop down menu to see how the link is coded. If you see a java script, other coding other than htm or html, or if the link has “rel” in it, don’t do the exchange. These tactics are used so that the search engines will ignore the link and therefore it won’t help you with link popularity and page rank.
5) Also check the page code (Choose “View” from your browser task bar and then click on “source”) to make there is no direction to a robot.txt file telling the search engines to ignore the page by having “No Follow” or “Disallow”.
6) Go to the home page of the site and find out how visitors can access your link. Most of the bogus exchanges have pages and pages of links, but they aren’t actually connected to the main site, so people can’t find your link. If you can’t find the page your link is on from the home page, no one else with either.
Having many sites link to you is a good thing not just in generating traffic but in improving search engine page rank as well. Nevertheless, you need to be cautious of the company you keep. When you are asked to exchange links, watch out for the six tactics listed above to insure you are getting a fair exchange and not hurting your page rank or your online reputation.
Leslie Truex has been helping people work at home and online since 1998 with her website Work At Home Success. Get her free ezine with telecommuting jobs, home business and marketing advise, scam alerts and much more. http://www.workathomesuccess.com