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Definition: What is link exchange?
A link exchange, as its name suggests, consists of entering into an agreement with another webmaster, whereby each agrees to place a link to the other’s website on one of his sites. This agreement can concern two or three websites depending on the type of exchange adopted.
This exchange concerns sites with similar themes in order to maintain a certain coherence and naturalness in the eyes of Google. You can write the article yourself, or have it written externally. Anyway, each will send an article to the other.
The different types of link exchange
The reciprocal exchange
The principle of reciprocal exchange is very simple. It consists of site A linking to site B, which, in exchange, makes a backlink to this site A. In general, the SEO metrics of the two sites concerned are relatively close so the exchange is beneficial to both. Indeed, having a DR 4 site that links to your DR 30 site is of little interest to you. It is therefore in your interest to exchange links with DR sites close to yours.
The unilateral exchange is not really what we can call an exchange, because it consists of receiving an external link from a site without making a return. This is the most effective and beneficial type of exchange for your site regarding its natural referencing.
The triangular exchange
Finally, the last type of exchange is a triangular exchange. An exchange of this type involves three different sites. A site A belonging to X will make a link to a site B belonging to Y, which itself will make a link to a site C belonging to X. This technique makes it possible to make the exchange natural in the eyes of search engines, who will not realize that an exchange has been made.
Interest of link exchange in SEO
Google takes into account external links pointing to a site in its evaluation of this website. This is why backlinks play such an important role in SEO. Thus, carrying out link exchanges makes it possible to obtain external links redirecting to your website for free, and thus to expand your netlinking.
In its evaluation of your backlinks, Google will take into account the DR and other SEO metrics of the sites on which these backlinks are located. This is why it is important to trade with sites with the same or higher DR than yours.
In addition, the outgoing links present on your website will also count for its referencing. It is important that the sites you are linking to are trustworthy in the eyes of Google, i.e. have a good Trust Flow. So, doing link exchanges with high TF sites is beneficial for your site and its positioning in the SERP, because Google will deem it trustworthy.
Impact on SEO metrics
Link exchanges, if done correctly, can improve your Domain Rating. DR is an SEO metric found on the Ahrefs platform, which gives your website a score out of 100.
The DR takes into account, in particular, the number of backlinks and their quality. Thus, by carrying out good link exchanges, you increase your number of backlinks, and thus your DR.
In addition, if the sites with which you have exchanged, and therefore on which you have placed a link pointing to your site, have a good Trust Flow, you will gain credibility in the eyes of Google who will judge your site as trustworthy, and thus improve its referencing.
Link Exchange Risks
However, there are risks associated with link exchanges. It is important to keep these risks in mind to avoid them and get the most out of these link exchanges.
The exchange of links, like any SEO practice, can quickly not seem natural if it is poorly done, or if you abuse it. Here are some pitfalls to avoid so as not to be penalized by Google because of your link exchanges:
- Do not abuse it: It can be tempting to multiply right-to-left link exchanges. However, like any SEO strategy, it should not be abused at the risk that Google will notice your strategy in place.
- Find sites with similar themes: It is important that the context in which your link is located is consistent with the subject of your site, always with a view to naturalness.
- Vary the types of exchanges: The simplest type of exchange to carry out is the reciprocal exchange. However, it is important to alternate with triangular exchanges, which are less visible to Google, in order to protect yourself from possible penalties.
- Check SEO metrics: Do not trade with sites with low SEO metrics. Prioritize the referenced sites and the right DR.
- Monitor your backlinks: It is important to track the links pointing to your website. This consists of checking that these links are still valid and that your partner has not deleted the page where they are.
Method: Perform a triangular link exchange
Making an exchange is quite simple once the partner site has been found. Here are the few steps of link exchange:
- Find a site that interests you: To do this, be sure to select sites with interesting SEO metrics, and themes close to yours.
- Contact the webmaster: Once this site has been found, contact the webmaster to offer him either a reciprocal exchange or a triangular exchange. Discuss with him to agree on the topics of the articles to write, and the link anchors to use.
- Write quality content: Write an article for your site and insert a link pointing to your site. Make sure that this article is of quality so that Google takes your website seriously, and that your partnership does not refuse your article.
- Integrate your partner’s article: Once the two articles have been written and sent to each other, integrate the article that your partner sent you, and make sure that he does the same.
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