Your thoughts on relevant link exchanges

I would like to get a definitive show of hands about the SEO benefits of relevant link exchanges. I am NOT talking about link farms, three-way linking schemes, or any other dubious tactics. By a “relevant link exchange” I mean a 1-to-1 swap with a relevant site of approximately equal domain pagerank, usually in the form of “add me to your links page and I will add you to mine.” I have always heard that this type of link exchange is a somewhat useless holdover from 1999, but I have also seen sites ranking better than mine which appear to use this technique heavily.

Obviously, if the PR of the two sites is equal, the net transfer of link juice will be zero, but what about the anchor text? If I link to you with “orange squeezer” and you link to me with “cordless vacuums,” will that increase our relevance for our respective keywords without costing either site?

I am tired of going around Robin Hood’s Barn with this question and would like to get as many opinions as possible in order to develop a clear picture. Thoughts backed up with real-world examples would be particularly valuable.

Please share your views and vote!

Links like that are what make the web go round, and they are what helps Googlebot to find its way around and to pick up an accurate picture of how popular each site is.

Assuming that the sites giving you links really are relevant, and aren’t just giving them out to any old Joe, that is exactly the kind of link that Googlebot wants to see.

I’m not sure where you get the ‘zero-sum game’ for PageRank from - your page doesn’t suffer just because you have outbound links from it!

I’m referring to “PageRank leakage” - maybe that doesn’t exist; I was under the impressiong that it did. The idea is that a link from me to you takes some tiny fraction of a “point” away from me and adds it to you, so a reciprocal link from you would simply offset that.

Have I bought into a myth? (:

It is valuable but personally I am not in favor of link exchange at all

Getting links from relevant sites will be valuable. Sometimes links from authoritative sites which are not relevant to our sites may also be valuable.

You won’t get any SEO benefit from a reciprocal link and if you have too many you can be penalised. Unfortunately Google aren’t kind enough to tell us exactly what constitues too many. The word they use is ‘excessive’.

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356 GWB Link schemes post

It is beneficial only if you have linked to the site which belongs to your niche,also with same or higher PR not very less PR than you.I personally don’t like such kind of link building strategy.Instead of that i prefer one way or three way linking only.

If you can negotiate a link exchange with a quality site, I’d say do it. Just be selective about who you exchange links with.

I would avoid exchanging links with general directories, or sites that are not related.

I think a content link exchange is better -where you exchange a content page with another relevant site so that you are promoting a product or service without being on a “links page”.