Increase site popularity by Exchanging Links

It has been said, "Build it, submit it and they shall come." This is a common misconception.

Search engines are very important to any web site promotion scheme but it is only half the battle. Self promotion must be the other half. Many things fall into this category. Word of mouth, business cards, print and media adds are all good ideas but a commonly looked over aspect is link exchange.

Link popularity is a driving factor in today's search engines. The more sites that link to your web site the more popular your site looks to them. The more popular your site becomes, the higher your ranking becomes in relevant searches on most search engines.

Point of relevance here is that the link exchanges should be with similar web sites. This can fall into three different basic categories of exchanges.

  1. Similar content or market
    Link exchanges with similar web sites can be mutually beneficial to both parties, by soliciting a targeted audience that is on one of the web sites already looking for that certain type of product or content.
  2. Location
    Exchanging links within your local region can be a great way to target your desired audience. For example, a large hotel linking to a local restaurant could attract tourists, or a flower shop linking to a local DJ service could attract brides and grooms looking to consolidate wedding plans.
  3. Web Rings
    Web rings are a linking system between similar subject matter web sites that you join like a membership. A good selection of them can be found at Look for one within the same content subject as your own and then visit some of the sites on the ring. First, look for consistent support of the web ring. If it has a lot of members that don’t display the link then it’s not being supported. Your odds of getting targeted visitors will increase if the membership is manageable in numbers.

Some other important link exchange recommendations:

  1. First develop your own link exchange page on your web site. This can just be one page that is organized alphabetically or by subject with the links you would like to have on it. Then at the bottom of the page place the link, text and contact information that you would like someone else to use when linking to your web site.
  2. When you're soliciting for link exchanges look for a "link-to-us" type of link on the perspective web site. Often this will be located at the very bottom of the home page or somewhere away from the main navigation. By using this already set system your request will go directly to the source and receive a better response than a random email.
  3. Always place your perspective link exchange partner’s link on your page before soliciting them to put your link on their site. This shows good faith and will get a better response.
  4. Keep a list of the requests you make so you can follow-up with the sites later and don’t Spam your perspective web sites with continued requests unknowingly.
  5. There are a number of programs and web sites that will help you build your link exchange web pages but review how they are used carefully and where the list of links are hosted from. Having a links page not hosted on your main web site address may hurt your site’s ranking and help someone else’s. Also, do not use Free For All link pages since they only keep your link for a few days or weeks while sending you a bunch of email forever afterwards. It’s always a good idea to set up a specific email just to handle your link exchanges and site submissions so they don’t clog up your main email address.

Once you have established link exchanges with other web sites follow-up is key. Make sure that they have reciprocated with a link to your site and check back monthly to be sure it hasn’t been removed. Second, check that the link to their site from your site stays active and points to the appropriate place. With a little work this type of self-promotion can be very successful, target the audience that you want and best of all, is free.