The Death Of Link Exchanges

Blog Traffic Tips Weekly Newsletter

by Yaro Starak – The Blog Traffic King


Here’s a common story. A brand new blogger has just launched their blog. They are excited. They catch the writing bug and start to post daily content. It’s all going well until one day they look at their blog and this feeling of frustration settles on them.

“Why won’t anyone read my blog?!?”

With that thought in mind our new blogger heads out into the world wide web looking for advice on how to build traffic.

Inevitably they discover this thing called SEO (search engine optimization) and start to read how Google comes to determine which sites rank highly and which don’t.


One of the first things most people learn about SEO and website traffic in general is that you need incoming links, and you have no doubt learnt this before (you should have – I have talked about it in my newsletters and blogs!).

For the past five to ten years or so the most common solution to the incoming link problem was to get out there and do link exchanges. Almost every two-bit SEO expert will begin an introductory SEO tutorial with advice instructing website owners to ask for link exchanges from other webmasters. I can even count myself as one of those people who has both followed this advice and told others to do the same.

In today’s Internet that advice is rather dated and next to useless. Let me explain why…


The problem with link exchanges is they are not very natural. As soon as the knowledge came out about the power of incoming links everybody started asking for them in an overt manner by emailing every other website owner they could find. Many spammers still do the same now, sending out bulk emails asking for link exchanges.

Of course once everyone learns about a technique it generally becomes less effective, at least when we are talking about SEO and especially when there is little resistance to implementing the technique. I have no doubt that over the past few years Google and other search engines have been devaluing the power of link exchanges.


As bloggers you already understand how often blogs link to other blogs. I’ve told you to make use of trackbacks and pingbacks and to link to your own posts (interlink) whenever appropriate. Blogs make it easy to do and because the blogosphere encourages interaction through conversation. Most blogs can boast way more incoming links than a standard website. It’s one the main reasons why blogs rank so well in search engines and the whole blogging craze took off.

Blogs elicit the perfect example of natural linking. Bloggers don’t link to each other because they are deliberately trying to raise their rankings. Most of the time they do it because that is just what bloggers do – they link to things they like. They talk about what other bloggers are saying and send “link love” out on a near-daily basis. These links are usually one way links and Google just loves them.


While there is nothing exactly wrong with plain old link exchanges, and they certainly do help your traffic a teeny tiny bit, mostly they are a waste of time. You are better off spending your time sending out links within your pillar articles knowing that other bloggers will do the same in due time, returning the favor in a very natural linking way by linking to your articles as a reward for providing great content or to continue the conversation you may have started or contributed to.


I expect you have a blogroll on your blog, which is usually the place where you do link exchanges. That’s what I have done in the past myself, but for about the past six months I’ve stopped bothering with it and I usually ignore blogroll exchange requests.

Here’s how you should use your blogroll –

Fill it with blogs that you GENUINELY like and read and recommend to others, not just with bloggers who asked for a link exchange and linked to your blog.


This may surprise you, but most bloggers don’t subscribe to my newsletter because they don’t know it exists, so will continue to partake in the age-old pursuit of link exchanges in ignorance.

Chances are you receive link exchange requests from random bloggers or may even seek them yourself. If you seek them, please stop, and start working on more powerful and effective blog techniques like trackbacks, pingbacks, comments and pillar articles.

If you receive a link exchange request the first thing you need to do is instruct the sender to join my newsletter by sending them to so they can learn better traffic building techniques. Thanks in advance 🙂 Once you have done that try suggesting to them what I taught you about in issue 13 of this newsletter – Win-Win Blogging – where you ask for a “content exchange” instead. Trading content creates significant value for both bloggers and creates a much more natural blog linking process.

Of course only do this if your blogs share a theme and it makes sense for you to work together (sometimes you just have to say “no” if you can’t see any possible way to form a mutually beneficial relationship).


Before finishing up I’d like to state that links are good. We all know that so don’t stop seeking them, just go about it in smart and natural ways.

In particular one-way incoming links are fantastic for your search rankings. Just don’t waste time emailing other bloggers out of the blue asking for a link exchange. Spend some time building a relationship with them and then implement the more powerful methods to build traffic and incoming links that I have talked about in previous newsletters, and of course in the Blog Traffic School course too.

There is only way reason where you may consider seeking a link exchange – when you want to get your blog listed in search engines AND you don’t own a single other website to link to it from. In this situation I would still recommend other ways to get your blog listed in the search engines – try this article for further ideas –

How To Get A New Site Listed In The Search Engines

Here’s to your blogging success,

Yaro Starak
Blog Traffic King


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