Exchanging Links

Opportunity Cost

Over the last year, Google has gotten much better at detecting link exchanges and giving them no weight or negative weight. Typically for most savvy webmasters, the time wasted on a lavish link exchange program would be better spent creating useful, original, link-worthy content.

Trading links with a couple exceptionally relevant related resources might be a good idea, but don’t waste your time trading dozens or hundreds of links.

Does it Work?

Not as well as it once did. Many people who created SEO software, or information products that sold themselves as experts, found that their Google rankings tanked hard core because link exchanges are not all they were once cracked up to be. (more…)

Text in Incoming Links

What Link Text is Good to Use?
If you link to, a link with the words Search Engine Optimization or SEO Blog are more valuable than a link that says other site. Evaluating the text in the links, along with who links where, is how the major ways search engines get feedback from external sources.

Search engines can look for noun-verb patterns in text, but machines can be taught to crank out text. There is limited cost to content creation, so search engines must look offsite to understand what a document is about.

Currently link analysis is the most effective way to determine document quality.

How Powerful is Link Text?
Many bloggers are politically outspoken and view George Bush in a less-than favorable light. Hundreds of people have linked to his biography page using the phrase miserable failure as the link text. Searching on the phrase miserable failure in Google, at the time of this writing, ranks the biography page of George W. Bush at the web site as the #1 result in Google. It is a good example of just how powerful link text can be. (more…)

SEO Worst Practice Manual

This post is dedicated to some of the tricks people try to play on search engines. The following are some of the most common current techniques:

  • reciprocal link trading, free-for-all link exchanges, and other bottom feeder links arenot effective
  • page onload redirects arerisky, but some do well with it short term
  • link renting areeffective if you are creative
  • interlinking many small sites to gain popularity areeasy to leave footprints unless it is done well
  • keyword stuffing and hiding text either on or off the page arenot effective unless intent looks legitimate
  • cloaking areeffective until they catch it
  • automated content generation aredepends on intent
  • cross site scripting errors areeffective short term, but usually solved quickly