Are Link Exchanges Harming Your Business?

Many of the top search engine optimization gurus tell us that we must perform link exchanges and lots of them in order to reach the top of the search engines.
But is this still true?
Once if certainly was the case and that was enough to get yourself ranked highly. Nowadays, with the huge rise in Internet usage and websites, the search engines have wised up to this and have complex algorithms for working out your ranking. These are, of course, a closely guarded secret known to a few geeks on the inside, and guessed at by those on the outside.
Many of the search engine optimization experts are now telling us to be wary of link exchanges and to consider the following key points.
1) Link farms – if your link is in what the search engines classify as a link farm then it could harm your ranking. A link farm is typically a site full of links, or a page with a high number of links on them. If the link farm is organised into categories with only a couple of dozen of relevant links per page, then it is less likely to harm your ranking.
2) Irrelevant sites – if your website is focused on children then having link exchanges with pharmacy and gambling sites could well harm your rankings because they are not really relevant. Having links to other children’s sites and sites related to children are possible much better for your rankings and will give your website more relevancy.
3) Anchor text – the words that link from another site to yours are actually quite relevant to your search engine ranking. If the words “hello stranger” were a hyperlink to your site then it wouldn’t really do you much good unless your site was about strangers. However, if your site was about children and your main keyword was “good parenting” and you had links from other sites with the words “good parenting” being the hyperlink, this will be looked upon favourably by the search engines
When you are exchanging links with anyone, it is worth your while being discerning about the links. Yes, I know you want as many links as possible, but you should consider the relevancy of the links to your visitors, and also what your visitors would think of those links being on your site. If you had a site full of children’s games and educational material and then lots of links to adult related sites, how keen do you think parents would be for their children to visit your sites?
Always check out if a site you are linking to has an affiliate program. If they do, then it is worth you signing up for it and putting the affiliate link on your site. Why? Because then when someone follows the link and buys, you get paid for it!
By keeping your link exchanges relevant you can increase your standing in the search engines and give your readers valuable extra resources.