Everyday I get at least 2-3 email messages from someone requesting a link exchange to help with their search engine rankings. I think most of these emails are auto-generated by overseas link building companies who have harvested our company’s main email address off of our website.
Cultivating inbound links is very important to search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine rankings, but these repeated requests are simply SPAM. I never respond to these requests and I also flag the emails as SPAM to our internet service provider. Participating in link exchanges with questionable websites can have detrimental effects on your own website, so beware.
Out of the hundreds of link exchange requests I have received, only one person bothered to write a personal message and noted the exact blog post where he was requesting the link. The person who sent the message was an email marketing provider and wanted his company listed with 10 or so resources we had listed in the blog post. While I appreciate that he did put in more effort than all the other people or spiders auto-emailing us, and his request was actually relevant to the article he was referencing, I still chose not to link to the website because I had never heard of his software or used it.
The moral of the story is simple… Only link out to trusted sites that are relevant to the page you are linking from, and if you generate awesome content that provides value to the web, you will build quality inbound links naturally. Getting links this way will increase your search engine rankings faster and better than participating in a SPAM link exchange.
Plus, when you use this approach, you are rewarded for providing good content with a link to your article or post and when others provide great content to you, you should link to them and share their content. Linking to each other just because, is lame and can devalue the links.
Case in Point: Recently, a very well respected site in the online community, with huge amounts of traffic, linked to our website. I got an email notice informing of me of the inbound link and at first thought it was a joke or maybe even SPAM. Later, I was analyzing our inbound links in Google’s Webmaster Tools and saw the link.
I was, and still am, very excited about that. There is no way I could have received this link if I had just emailed the site owner with some auto-generated message. I earned this one the right way… by putting my visitors first, providing good content, and linking out only to other good sites first.