Why I Do Not Do Link Exchanges

There must still be some courses or e-books where people new to blogging are told to email other bloggers and suggest or request an exchange of links. I don’t know what other explanation there would be for the emails I get on a fairly regular basis, out of the blue, from people I don’t know, wanting me to exchange links.

They’re right about one thing: links can add value to a blog’s ranking. Equally, some links can detract from a blog’s ranking.

My standard reply to those emails is that

  • I don’t exchange links
  • if I like a blog I will consider adding a link to it

I certainly don’t mind if someone links to a post of mine and emails me to draw that to my attention (although if they used trackbacks I would know anyway). That or a trackback will almost certainly lead me to visiting their site and if I like it enough I might well choose to link to it.

And of course there are colleagues and friends to whose blogs I link because I value them and what they are doing.

But reciprocal links? No.

Rajesh Setty’s post How do you execute a link exchange? is a good reference post for anyone who is told they should request such exchanges. The post title is of course rhetorical.

The only people who will comply with this request will be people who also need links. The people who deserve to be linked are already getting linked without any of these programs.

His advice towards a strategy to build great links?

  • build compelling content (and note his observations about the writer’s identity – forget anonymous)
  • build relationships

One thing I would add is perhaps to have a page somewhere on your site which explains your policy and strategy. That way you don’t have to compose a detailed response to each person who emails you: you can just refer them politely to your policy page and perhaps wish them well. Why burn bridges by ignoring them? Who knows, one day they might be so famous you would love them to link to you

No, I don’t have a policy page on that – yet. And the blogroll/links component of this blog has not carried over automatically to this WordPress-platformed reincarnation. A couple more items for the list!

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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Thanks Stefhanus
    I don’t regard myself as “the expert” and I’m sure it used to be better than pr3 – a New Year resolution is to do better. But without *reciprocal* link exchange 🙂

  2. Stefhanus says:

    Hi Des Walsh, your main site have pr3 without link exchange, you are the expert 🙂

  3. Stefhanus
    What can I say? The reasons I don’t do link exchanges are in the post. 🙂

  4. Stefhanus says:

    The only thing in my mind is because you know how to drive traffic to your site, that is why you don’t want to do link exchange. am I right?

  5. I have read many times that we should be getting recipitsrocal links, but there seems to be a recent change, its better to get good quality inward links.
    .-= Tina´s last blog ..Vehicle Checklist for 4WD Driving In Remote Areas When Travelling Australia =-.

  6. Simon Yes, that is an argument that is put by some people. Part of the underlying issue, it seems to me, is whether someone is building a site more as a way to sell stuff, or as a place where people can find useful information and insights and engage in conversation, which can, but doesn’t have to be, in order to promote their business. I don’t see link exchange as a good strategy for the latter and I don’t advise people on the former as it is not my field of interest.

  7. i am sorry but i have to give a thumb down, i am thinking link exchange will be a very good starting point in building network? Please correct me if i am wrong.

    Simons last blog post..Start a website

  8. I post only the best of the best moneymakers online biweekly. If I don’t make money with a program within 2 weeks, it doesn’t make the cut! Actually, it should generate sales immediately with all I have in place but some do take a little longer to take off. I find that letting people know about it like this is a more effective way of getting linked than using link exchanges.

  9. I’m no SEO expert but I can see why a one way link is deemed more valuable than one that is exchanged.

    It means that the person placing it is doing so because they want to, not just so that they will receive one back. Hence it’s a much more authoritative “vote of confidence” in the site linked to.

  10. I agree with you. If you write well then reader will automatically flock around you..

  11. Frank

    I don’t see that it is doing a service to new bloggers to encourage them in the practice of seeking *reciprocal* links. Why not encourage them to spend the time building relationships and forming or joining communities at MyBlogLog or BlogCatalog, or on Facebook or wherever. That will probably bring about a degree of reciprocity but it will be organic. Interesting suggestion about dead links and how they could be replaced.

  12. Frank Fullard says:

    You may be a little hard on those new bloggers who are genuinely in a learning process and are told that they need links to promote their blog. Instead take it as a compliment that people want to be linked to you!

    As an aside, some of our more widely linked bloggers seem to have an indordinate number of dead links; so if they deleted them perhaps they might be able to provide links – and encouragement – to the less well endowed (link wise). Or is that too radical a point of view?

  13. Premium Business Directory says:

    Well, your are not missing anything Des. Reciprocal links have basically lost all weight, as Google and other head liners weight them next to nothing. Building one way links is the way to go now. Writing articles and buying links from popular directories are the way to go. Check out http://www.allbuziness.com an authoritative business directory I manage.

  14. Snoskred

    When I list someone’s blog on mine, as for example I have listed yours today in the new Links page I am building, I’m saying, in effect, this is a site worth visiting. I think you are really making a point about different degrees of latitude. I don’t want to be tied to some kind of agreement about reciprocity, especially if the site in question is one more likely to reduce the ranking of my site than to enhance it.

  15. Paul

    I understand your point of view and yes you are creating a link back via the comment, which is one reason I moderate comments. Some “comments” are just spam to create links. Thanks for the note on the link – went to fix it and in the process I seem to have deleted the post: working now on reinstating the content of the post!

  16. I’m fairly generous when it comes to handing out links. I’m really not sure why, I just always have been that way. Now with the scroll bar I am no longer worried about the length of my link list, so I’m happy to give out the link love.. If someone contacted me and asked me to link to them, as long as they aren’t a blatant advertising only type of blog, and I read their blog and like what I see – and that happens much of the time, then the answer would be yes. So I guess, people who are emailing Des, email me instead. 😉

    Snoskred – has a new home at –


    please update your links. 😉

  17. Just came across this via http://www.irishblogs.ie/ . And it seems pretty fair. But sometimes when you are trying to get a new site off the ground all you can do is beg and see how far you can get. 😉

    I guess by putting a link to my blog with my name, I am already in fact creating some type of link back.

    btw. Rajesh Setty’s link seems broken.




  1. […] » Why I Do Not Do Link Exchanges Thinking Home Business: Navigating the world of blogs and social m… … to have a page somewhere on your site which explains your policy and strategy. That way you don’t have to compose a detailed response to each person who emails you: you can just refer them politely to your policy page and perhaps wish them well. Why burn bridges by ignoring them? Who knows, one day they might be so famous you would love them to link to you 🙂 […]