Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Is Link-Swapping Obsolete? Algorithms and search engines

Link swapping was once an important aspect of search engine optimization, as search engines based their search results, in part, on how often other pages linked to a website. Over time people found ways to game the system, swapping links with any website willing to do so. Search engines adapted by altering how their algorithms judge incoming links, leading some pundits to suggest that link-building is an obsolete practice.
Actually, link-building still improves your search engine ranking, but the process has become more complicated. Reputable Google SEO services still utilize link-building, but they don't take the "more is better" view that once dominated the industry. Instead, the emphasis is on targeted, relevant links.
One-Way Links Beat Link Swapping
In traditional link-swapping, each site embeds a link to the other site somewhere on their website. Your incoming link could wind up on the other site's homepage, on a secondary page with content that might be relevant to your site, or as part of a link page listing forty or fifty other links.
Search engines prefer one-way links over multiple-page links. In other words, they don’t like to see an incoming link from a site that contains dozens of other links. Nor do search engines like incoming links from pages with no relevant content. If your website focuses on heavy-duty mechanics, swapping links with a crochet website won't improve either site's search results.
Choosing Sites
First and foremost, only swap links with a site that has content that adds value to your existing site, but doesn’t compete directly with your site or duplicate your content. Ideally, both websites show up when users search using the same keywords, or at least similar words.
Sites you link-swap with should also be well-designed. Linking to a poorly-written site with a broken navigation system will only harm your own website in the long run, both in terms of search engine optimization and user reputation. At all costs avoid suspicious sites that may contain malware or viruses.
Swap Content, Not Links
One of the most effective methods of link-swapping, and a strategy used by many Google SEO Services, is to swap unique articles and content with another website. You write a unique article — don’t just copy or rewrite your existing content — and include a link back to your page. Your link-swapping partner does the same.
It's hard to find a downside to this strategy. You get to craft the content, so your content is highly relevant to your website. You only include one link (perhaps two if you link to different parts of your site), and search engines value one-link pages much heavier than a link from a page with multiple links. And for added value, you get a page of content from your link partner that should be relevant to your website's focus. Blogs are excellent for this kind of link-building and guest bloggers are always in demand.
Now that you have become educated on link-swapping, you might find the need to learn more about Google SEO Services. This guest post was written by James.

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