Like you, I get the occasional email asking if I would be interested in swapping links. I usually politely decline. But that’s not to say that I’m against link swapping. I think there is one situation where link swapping can be a good idea. This article will look at when to swap links and when not to swap links.
Don’t Swap Links When…
Things just aren’t fair
Making a name for a new website amongst the already heavily saturated field can be hard and leave you frustrated. It can leave you feeling like Earl Boykins trying to get a rebound against Shaquille O’Neal. It seems insurmountable at times. Shaq isn’t going to just let five-foot-five-inch Earl Boykins have the rebound because he feels sorry for him; it doesn’t work that way. Shaq’s going to make him earn it — and no big dog website is just going to link to you out of sympathy; you’re going to have to earn it.
If it’s just about the PageRank
I don’t believe in swapping links solely for the purpose of passing link juice from site-to-site. Swapping juices is alright if you’re with a lady, but it doesn’t make much sense to me if I give you some of my juice in return for some of yours. That’s called a push and nobody wins. And if the sites don’t have the same PageRank then someone wins and someone loses. That’s just not fair (see above).
No link farms
Link farms seem to be a thing of the past because nowadays everybody knows to avoid them like the plague.
Swap Links When…
It’s a win-win situation
So when do I think a link swap is a good idea? When both websites benefit. I believe this can only happen between two already established sites that share the same topic of interest. The principal behind this is that both websites have a steady stream of traffic and so site A says to its loyal viewers, “Hey, check out website B, you might like it!” and in return, website B says to its loyal viewers, “Hey, check out website A, you might like it!” Both websites can then gain new readership — this is a win-win situation. If either website A or B has no viewers then it won’t work because you can’t send viewers to another website until you have viewers to send. It goes without saying that if both A and B have no viewers then what’s the point – zero from zero is zero.
So a link exchange can work if both websites have a steady stream of viewers. Each website should also share the same topic. It wouldn’t be polite to send your viewers to a site they have no interest in. That’s just being rude to your viewers. If they come to your website to learn about ASP.net and you recommend them to a site about gambling then you’re wasting their time.
Lastly, if you’re going to ask for a link swap you might consider only asking for a temporary swap; perhaps just a six month swap? That’s sufficient time to introduce your viewers to the other site and the other site to introduce its viewers to your site. After that, move on and swap links with another site. Just remember, it’s not about passing PageRank. It’s about both websites gaining new readership.