Quality Link Exchanges for SEO

Earlier I was reading a thread at Digital Point about building backlinks, one reply in particular made it obvious that many people don’t know how to successfully link exchange. The reply said “for every 20-30 link exchange emails I send, only 1-2 people reply” – that’s only 6% of people replying to him, in my experience over 80% reply to my requests and I only contact PR3+ websites. The difference in our success rates probably depends on one or more of the following factors; where the email addresses were gathered from, not natural and customized the email was, and how good our own website is (quality, traffic and Pagerank).

In case you don’t know about the potential of link exchanges, I’ll illustrate it with an example; my Naruto Wallpapers gets 12,000 uniques per day from Google and the majority of the backlinks are from link exchanges, about 10-20 exchanges from sites with Pagerank 3-5.

Finding people to contact

Obviously the most beneficial backlinks are those from sites that are related to yours, have high Pagerank, and have high traffic, so we will search for those. For this step I like to use the SearchStatus add-on for Firefox, I recommend you install it also. Many people look for link exchanges on SEO forums such as Digital Point but the websites link exchanging there are most often low quality, luckily I have a better method of finding websites to link exchange with – Google.

Here’s some searches that will bring back great results –
  • naruto inurl:”(com|org|net|biz|info)/contact.php” – What this search does is look for all websites about Naruto that have a file named ‘contact.php’, a contact form. It also checks that the TLD is one of the popular, global TLDs which increases the likelihood of the site being in English thus saving you from having to browse and rule out non-English websites. This finds URLs like www.domain.com/contact.php
  • naruto inurl:”(com|org|net|biz|info)/contact/” – This search does a similar job to the first search but less effectively, it finds both URLs like www.domain.com/contact/ but also www.domain.com/contact/anime/4/ which you may not want. This search returns about 5x as many results as the first so if you didn’t find enough with the first, try this one.
  • naruto inurl:”(com|org|net|biz|info)/affiliates” – This search returns websites with a page about affiliates, which is often used as an alias for ‘Link Exchanges Page’. These websites will often be looking for link exchanges so this search is a very useful one. It returns URLs such as www.domain.com/affiliates/ and www.domain.com/affiliates.php. You could replace the word ‘affiliates’ with ‘partners’ in the search to find more results.
After those 3-4 searches you probably have 1000 search results but luckily you shouldn’t need to go through them all. Simply browse the results one at a time checking the Pagerank and Alexa rank of each using the SearchStatus add-on, writing down the URLs of the websites meeting your minimum Pagerank and Alexa requirements, you should write down roughly double the amount of exchanges you would like to make, so if you want 10 link exchanges find 20 URLs. My minimum Pagerank and Alexa requirement is PR3 and Alexa 500,000 if my site is new, higher if my site is old and successful.

Writing an email

Now that we have 20+ website owners to email we can get started. The emails I send are simple but work remarkably well, when contacting someone I will write something like this –

Title – (Their website name)
Body – Hi, I am the owner of www.narutowallpaper.biz, would you like to (exchange links) with my website?
Thanks, Dan.

Having the person’s website name as the email title makes sure they will read the email, if the title was ‘link exchange’ they may simply delete it. I keep the email short and sweet and unprofessional, this is suitable for Naruto related websites but for example if you wanted to exchange with SEO websites you would be better off listing your Pagerank. The professionalism should be changed depending on your website’s topic, if you want to exchange with an online store a couple of paragraphs may be more effective than the single sentence in my example above. Most of the websites we want to exchange with will have a title above their link exchanges like ‘Partners’, ‘Affiliates’, or ‘Friends’, if their website uses the term ‘Affiliates’ then customize the email to suit this, say to them “would you like to affiliate”.

The more generic and spammy the email sounds, the more likely the recipient will delete. To me the example listed doesn’t sound spammy because it’s out of the ordinary being so short, it doesn’t speak of things like ‘traffic’, ‘Pagerank’ or ‘rankings’, and it’s customized a little for each recipient.

Website Quality

For most website topics, whether a person will exchange links with you depends a lot on the quality of the website rather than the Pagerank or Alexa rank. If you have a great website that is only one day old most people will still exchange links with you unless you’re in a topic like SEO, but if your website is of a terrible quality but has traffic you may have trouble making exchanges. Link exchanges can be great for your search engine rankings, but only if you have a good website so people will exchange with you.

Hopefully you now know the potential of link exchanging, how to do it successfully, and how immensely useful a single Google search can be.

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