January 6, 2012

To link or not to link...

Published: 6 January 2012 

This question actually crops up more than you'd think - but not nearly as often as it should, in our opinion.

While there's no disputing that getting your business to the top of the search engines is, in part, a numbers game, you really can't afford to forget that quality is just as important as quantity.

As tempting as it may seem to take any old link you can get your hands on - what's the harm, right? - Just remember the age old adage, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Now I don't want to sound like a cynic; exchanging links definitely has its place and can be an excellent way to build up your 'link portfolio', but just be sure to stay in good company.

I'm sure you, like many of our clients have been approached about exchanging links. And I'm sure you, like many of our clients, have no idea who the person on the other end of the email is. A good place to start when deciding whether or not to agree to an exchange is by having a look at their website. Does it have a long list of links running the length of the page? Does the purpose of the content seem to be more about cramming keywords into the page than actually making sense to a reader? Does it look like somebody threw it together in an hour and couldn't give a wotsit about how it looks? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you've probably stumbled upon a very spammy website and should run away as fast as you can.

Being associated with a network like this could potentially be detrimental to your site; it's pretty easy for the search engines to spot spammy webs of sites like these and you could end up being tarred with the same brush as them. Once you find yourself on Googles radar as a potential spammer, all your hard, honest work establishing yourself as a relevant, trustworthy site could be gone forever.

Another thing to consider - for those edge-living, risk-taking dare-devils out there - even if you somehow avoid the repercussions of being involved in a dodgy network; is it really worth it? One website with very little to offer the world but spam is bound to have an incredibly low quality score, which means, very little to offer to you. Plus, even if it did have any strength or value, by the time it's shared around the other 500 sites it's linking to, it's so diluted its practically worthless.

If you're not sure about the legitimacy of a link exchange you've been invited to, give us a quick call or drop us a message and we can take a look at it together.

Ben Maden

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