Link Exchange Tutorial - is the back link you're getting equal, or did you fall for it again and you don't even know it?Tweet
Don't just go for any link exchange proposition, do a research, pick the best and remember, quality, not quantity is the key.
This tutorial does not cover how to find link exchange partners, or how to approach one - this part is pretty much covered here: http://www.tamingthebeast.net/articles2/internet-marketing-etiquette.htm instead I will show you what to look for in quality link exchange. Many times you'll be approached by some other webmasters with link exchange proposition, and whether he/she is a member of the forum you are part of or just another webmaster emailing you, there are some simple yet effective guidelines I would like you to consider before you trust your hard work to the hands of the stranger by placing link to his/her website with high hopes to receive equal or better in return.
1) Check Google cache - this one tells you if the page is indexed and how often the site is spidered by Google bot. Many times - specially the inner pages despite the fact that they still hold last update Page Rank they may not longer or not so often be visited by the search engines. If the cache is older than 2-3 weeks it indicates that the page is not well linked to the rest of the website or/and the content is rarely updated. In any case 10 days or less is the good indication. How do you check Google cache? Either use Google toolbar- right click on page rank icon, use Firefox extension or by typing this simple command in to Google search box:
cache:www.askfrank.net ( click here for sample )
it will show you the last cache, date and what the website looked like that day.
Also, if the checked page is a redirect , the cache will reveal that fact by showing real url .
2) Domain age - when comparing 2 or more potential link partners, age of the offered domain do affect the power of the link you about to get. Links from the older sites( 3 years and up ) are generally stronger than similar links on the new (under 1 year) websites, unless we are talking about link from site like www.pic2009.org -Presidential Inauguration Committee, domain registered in November of 2008 and already PR7- I would go for link on that 2 months old site in a heartbeat! Tool I use to check domain age is this one: http://www.webconfs.com/domain-age.php
3) Check domain page rank - many web masters say that Page Rank is no longer an indication of the website quality, I say maybe so, but still it is a part of the picture and can not be ignored, specially when it comes to the link exchange. For example: if one website has PR0 and the other PR2, both with comparable age, theme, BL, etc, I will go for the higher page rank. What is a good tool to check for the current page rank? I personally use this one: http://www.pagerankpr.com/fake-rank-checker.php This tool does compare cache of the checked website in case it was redirected. Most page rank tools simple repeat what the Google toolbar shows, in many cases it can be cheated and ( redirected ) so any tool that does not compare the cache of the checked site is not accurate at all.
4) Outgoing links - this one is very important to me and unless link page has valid PR5 and above, I personally don't bother checking age or cache if I see more than 20 outgoing links.
Explanation is simple: you don't want link to your website end up on the page where there is more than 20 outgoing links already, the link juice becomes diluted also the number of the outgoing links tells you how much this site is worth to the webmaster - again, webmaster who cares about the link partners do not link out to more than 10 -15 websites on a single page, and then, you always want to be linking to only relevant websites that are useful to your visitors-otherwise your link page does look like a typical link farm.
Often I see 50-80 outbound links pointing to very mixed and of topic sites, that is a red flag to me , besides how can you be sure your link will be the last anyway? as far as I can tell there will be more. One way of checking how much more, is to count the links - (there is a great Firefox extension showing outgoing links -dofollow and nofollow ones) then check this website in a week or so, if the number stays the same - good, if shuts trough the sky - run, run away..
5) Final check is the archive inspection - I do check specially older websites with low PR that appear to be either undeveloped for years or simple dropped domains at some point. Also, you can see what type of business was advertised on the website trough out the years, sometimes the IT site turns out to be some sort of religious site in the past.. so be careful, the old links pointing to it are related to religion so how good are they now when you are in the IT niche? Web Archive website, called wayback machine- http://www.archive.org/index.php
There is also another way of checking for theme of the linking site. Use google operator related:
type this command in to Google search box:
related:www.askfrank.net ( click here for sample )
If google thinks that the page you are checking goes well with say, web design then that is the theme of that website and the link weight you are getting. It usually takes full year to change the theme of the website from one to another - how? by themed links pointing to it. If you happen to acquire domain name that was in use before and was used to promote cars, and then you want it to be a dog site, what do you do? You start getting dog related links, keep checking the "related:" operator, it will eventually change to your niche-as long as there are enough themed links pointing back to it. How many is enough? Sorry this question belongs to SEO tutorial - which I may put together sometimes.
6) Last but not least is the Duplicate IP check - Many times you are facing bulk exchange offer - which is good because you can take care of business quicker and get more work done at the same time. Don't get to exited though, chances are that half or more websites are hosted on the same class C IP range and that is small but one of many things you should consider when choosing link partners. You do not want incoming links to be hosted on the same server, surly not same class C as your own- it would be considered cross linking and although your site wont be banned, the strength of the links will be discounted by the search engines. To check for duplicate IP's use my handy bulk Class C IP Address Checker. You simple enter partners url's plus any of yours that will be involved in this exchange and v ala! it quickly shows you the IP's indicating any duplicate class C range as well as and subnet range.
7) Making sure that the linking website is hosted in the same country as yours is also a good thing- In some cases if your website offers home repair services why would you link out to the same niche site located on the other part of the globe unless they are authoritative site on the subject and can offer good advice. So be careful, server geo-localization is a real thing and just as most likely you would not link to the Tunisian milk farm website from your Dutch language online computer store , unless again the milk farm site somehow besides milk also offered the best computer diagnostic tool. It all depends on the situation. But generally if your business is local ( as opposite to world wide operation) for maximum relevancy, do stick to the local servers and expect same from your link partners. Use my Ip to country tool to make sure those English language sites you planning to exchange link with are hosted in US not UK
Not trying to scare anyone, just talking from the 8 years experience in this link exchange business and knowing that there are many link partners up there who will buy dropped domains with age and Page Rank solely for the purpose of link exchange. Anything in PR3-5 range that exchanges links with just about anybody, as long as you point your link to their other website would be a red flag to me. Imagine having PR5 website- nice right? Now, why would you waste it and put large numbers of mixed theme links on it. Reputable webmaster never links back to unrelated site, unless his website is not worth much and exist only for the link exchange purpose, but then again he/she would not be called reputable anymore..
One other thing, the page where you place links to other website does not have to be boring, it can be attractive and full of useful info, going out of your way makes you stand out and believe me- makes a difference, to you, to me and the big G.
SEO Tools - Reverse IP - This tool searches for domain names hosted on your IP address. Just enter a domain or an IP address to get a list of domain names that share the same IP address. This is real helpful when checking out your competition. Lets you find out what other domains are there
Duplicate Class C Checker-This tool check your links IP address for
duplicate class C IP range The Class C Checker tool allows you to check whether
some sites are hosted on the same Class C IP Range. You might want to use the
Class C Checker if you own several cross-linked sites. If you do, it may be more
efficient (for SEO purposes) to host them on different Class C IP ranges.
Additionally, if you are going to get new links from different sites, you may
want to see whether they share the same Class C IP range. Again, this could make
a difference for SEO purposes.