Why A Backlink Exchange Program Is Bad For Your Website

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Backlink exchanges are sites that offer other sites to add their links, and in exchange, those sites add links of others. The purpose of this is to create a reciprocal link program which works on the “I’ll add you if you add me” model.

Link exchange programs are a quick and easy way to drive traffic and improve search engine results. Bloggers like link exchanges because they increase their site’s rankings in the eyes of search engines with little effort. This provides traffic from other sites, possible readers, and more page views.

BackLink Exchange
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But this all works on a short-term basis!

And there are some serious risks involved.

Let me explain…

What Google Says About Blog Link Exchanges

First, let me be very clear and tell you what Google says about this:

..Excessive link exchanges, could “negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results.”

Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.


…some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

* Links intended to manipulate PageRank
* Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
* Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)
* Buying or selling links that pass PageRank


Risks of Link Exchange Programs

Risks of Link Exchange Programs
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The risk comes in when you participate in excessive link exchanges. In this way, you end up decreasing your reputation in Google’s index. If you go around accepting blog link exchange requests blindly, you never know the quality and content of the site that you’re adding.

Linking to a site that already has no importance from Google will lower down your importance in Google’s eyes. This means bad links linking to and/or from your site can harm the ranking of your site.

Since 2012, Google has also devalued all links coming from private blog networks and low-quality spammy links. This is yet another good reason why you should avoid backlink exchanges.

Ok, let me ask you a question:

  • Have you ever seen a link exchange program on blogs of successful bloggers?

No? Then how did they do it? How did they become so successful? What did they do to get to the top of the search rankings?

Well, the answer is simple:

  • Trust!

It’s the trust that they give to their readers that makes them so powerful. They write quality content, and readers trust that they’ll offer high-quality information.

The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to your website (i.e. backlinking) is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the internet community. The more useful your content is, the higher the chances are that another blogger will find that information valuable and link to it (sending you more interested readers).

A link from a link exchange list might send new readers to your site, but they are only going to keep reading your site if they TRUST that you will continually produce great content.

Also remember:

  • The outgoing links from your site are part of the content.

By linking to another site, you tell your readers that this link is of good quality and if they visit this site, they’ll find something valuable.

If your reader visits a link from your link exchange list which takes them to a site cluttered with irrelevant ads for making money online, or home loans, or Viagra, or that link leads them to a blog that has really bad content, then the reader is going to question your judgment and you will lose their trust.

What’s the alternative to a Link Exchange Program?

Link exchanges are now an outdated way of getting love from a search engine.

Although the links to your site are still counted, there’s always a risk of getting bad links if you actively participate in backlink exchange programs.

Today is an era of social networking sites. They are the biggest source of traffic for any site.

Digg, Twitter, Facebook, and StumbleUpon (among many) are powerful enough to drive traffic in the millions to your blog… but only if you write something unique, new, and/or very interesting for readers.

Your content can spread in seconds, and thousands of readers from around the world can follow a link from these social media sites.

The bottom line:

If you want to increase your readership, focus on creating good quality content that is unique (or at least interesting for readers).

Create backlinks and avoid backlink exchanges

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To really be successful in the backlink game, create networks with other bloggers. This way you’ll not only learn from them, but you’ll also find other quality content. If you like any of their articles, then you’ll be happy and satisfied to link back to them because you TRUST the site and the author.

Get active on social networking and bookmarking sites and increase your followers.

Instead of wasting time on populating your site with spam-filled untrusted links, focus more on your writing. The time you will spend finding sites or getting into partnership with other webmasters, you can come up with better articles.

The better your articles are, the higher the chances that you’ll get quality links back from other popular blogs.

So let me know: What are some methods you use to create backlinks? Share your tips in the comments below!

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Authored By
A technology enthusiast, loves to know about latest web and software trends, and shares the knowledge, guides, tips and tricks on TipsoTricks.com

36 thoughts on “Why A Backlink Exchange Program Is Bad For Your Website”

  1. Charlie

    Just another scare tactic this is. Google has this naive view of backlinks which is to, go away, don’t link build, just create content and hopefully people will link to it, yeah right, that might have had some relavance 18 years ago, but now ? With the millions of site out there, zero link building means you’ll go nowhere.

  2. David

    “Links intended to manipulate PageRank” – “violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines”. Don’t do this , don’t do that, pay us for AdWords.
    What a rubbish, I mean you are right in what you are writing, but let’s say if your website is in a competitive business , very competitive. Forget your tactics. Without paying a lot of money for quality backlinks, you have 0 chance to get to the top, no matter how good you are at writing. It’s like trying to win Mr Olympia without taking steroids.

  3. Neeraj

    Thanks Zain for the post,
    I was Thinking of link exchange and landed on your page during the research.
    Even being a beginner, I understood it is actually silly to do so.
    Any website will proliferate well if it cultivate its readers by winning their trust and providing them what they are looking for.
    Thanks for the suggestions. Became a fan of Shout me loud now! πŸ™‚

  4. Manoj

    Great post Zain. Today I got a request for backlink exchange, but I was not aware of how to add such links. When I googled, I got your post and I came to know the truth. Thanks a lot for guiding me to the right way.

  5. Grace Joseph

    Was considering backlinks exchange before I stumbled on your post. seen reasons why I shouldn’t after reading this. Tanx for the tips

  6. Reinier

    Hi Zain,
    Yesterday after reading your post I quickly went to my dashboard and unapproved/eliminate comments made by suspected spammers and irrelevant sites, 24 hours after, alexa ranking goes to a much satisfying turn.
    Thanks you for writing something about link exchange I’m sure there’s a lot more people who learn a lot from it.

    1. Zain

      Good to know this Reinier. Avoiding bad incoming links really help boost site’s rankings.
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  7. Frank

    Despite this topic is well-known to ALMOST all bloggers, actually it is useful to remeber it. The temptation is really strong..adding a backlinks to boost traffic. But the risk is too high! However, as a general rule, link exchange is not bad, actually is good. It is only the way it is made which makes the difference!

  8. Jarret

    Harsh, your post reminded me of something that I wanted to warn your readers about that’s related. For the past few weeks, I’ve been receiving almost daily link exchange requests. Now, I don’t do link exchanges, but I was curious when I started receiving them.
    The first site that requested a link exchange said they had a PR 5 home page and their blog was related to my niche. I went to check it out just because I was curious. The site looked really spammy and only had about 3 blog posts.
    When I checked the Yahoo backlink count, it was zero. I thought to myself how can a blog with a backlink count of zero have a PR5 home page? When I checked, it turns out that they bought an expired domain. Google typically resets PR when a domain is transferred and the content changes, so there really isn’t any value, of course. On top of that, some of the additional websites that contacted me, did the same thing, but they had site wide spam links.
    In short, there are so many reasons to avoid link exchanges.

    1. Zain

      Thanks a lot Jarret for sharing your experience. We just came to know another good reason to avoid Link exchanges.
      This is a common thing now. Spammers do this for getting link exchanges by showing spam filled high PR sites and people often get attracted without noticing the sites rankings in detail.

  9. Zain

    @ Mayur Exactly. Either you be very selective and careful or just ignore the requests totally if you receive too many of them.

    @Siddharth Dude, you can earn from many other sources on the web and this is not last option left to earn money online. Risking your site’s rankings for paid reciprocal links is not the best of the ideas.

  10. Siddharth

    Ofcourse, its not good to link exchange, but we can’t reject the request as the pay is quite decent πŸ™‚

  11. Mayur

    I get lot of emails asking for link exchange but i don’t prefer them and have to reject the requests. Improper Link exchanges can badly hurt a site’s SEO.

  12. Tech Maish

    Zain there is a list of 50 guest blogging on ShoutMeLoud. If you have time, then write at least one guest post for all the blogs and you will see the difference.

    1. Zain

      Yeah I’m a regular reader of SML and have read the post. Guest blogging is certainly in my to-do list and SML is the first blog which I started. πŸ™‚

  13. Digital Gupshup

    once my friend got backlink package of 1000 baclinks from a seller and then his blog got banned from Google, i suggest stay out of link exchange and link buy programs…

    1. Zain

      Thanks for sharing the experience. This will definitely force the readers to think again who’re already engaged in link exchanges.

  14. Zain

    @Crunchynow Exactly! That’s the point.

    @RoyScribner This is what I said. To keep the trust alive we need to look at the quality of both outgoing and incoming links.

    @Kunal Thanks buddy for liking it πŸ™‚

  15. Roy Scribner

    Good tips, Zain. I would also add that you need to consider your readers, too. If you start including links to bad, or un-interesting, content on your site then you will lose trust with your readers.

  16. Bilal

    Zain the best and effective alternative for link exchange is guest blogging. It helps in building authority and quality links.

    1. Zain

      I strongly agree with you. Guest blogging is the best way to get strong linkbacks. It also helps in improvising your own site’s ranking quicker than a link exchange program. And this is why I write on ShoutMeLoud πŸ˜€

  17. Sathish

    Hi Zain,

    Nice write up bro. Actually I never tried to participate in Link Exchange programs, but some people came to me and asked for Link exchanges, which I did. Now I have to revisit their sites and I will make sure whether they are having contents relevant to my site niche. Thanks again.


    1. Zain

      Hi Satish,

      If you’re engaged in exchanges then you better be careful. Visit the reciprocal links often, just to make sure the content there is relevant and your link is present at other site. :p

  18. Manendra

    Nice article i never had give some back links to some guys with out considering some of the topics which u mentioned. ThakQ for providing nice info πŸ™‚

    1. Zain

      That’s good. I myself did this mistake and learned a lot from my mistakes. πŸ˜€

  19. Rahul

    Means you are saying reciprocal link can affect you ranking. But only if you do “”excessive””. No body knows, how many recoprocal can affect your ranking. I think 100s of reciprocal link will affect your site ranking.

    1. Zain

      They do effect negatively if you blindly accept link exchange requests without knowing the rankings of other site. Few quality links are better than hundreds of bad or unknown links.

  20. Kevin

    It is very true that writing good, quality posts are what will drive traffic to your blogs.
    Also if your link is placed on a very popular site, your traffic will increase as well.
    As you have mentioned, participating in link exchanges where the links are irrelevant to each other will just harm your blog.
    I do not participate in link exchanges but do prefer to put up links to relevant sites if I find them.

    1. Zain

      Yes you need to be very careful in exchanging links. Make sure they are relevant and matches your niche.

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