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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