What Google says about Link Swap
Before we begin, we must address what Google says about link trades: According to Google, link exchanges are a scheme and an infringement of their quality guidelines when they are “exclusively for cross-linking” and are “excessive “. In other words, are link exchanges okay sometimes? What does Google regard excessive?
Excessive Link changes
People frequently say that “excessive link exchange” is mainly the frequency or volume of the request. However, it might also refer to the way the request is made. Below is an example of Google
(Excessive link changes will tell you “if you link to me, I will link to you.”
If you look up for the meaning of excessive, it refers to when something is more than it is needed, desirable or normal. No matter how many times you do it, trading links is a “scratch my back, so I can scratch your back” is an unnatural way. It doesn’t matter how many times until this becomes excessive; this type of reciprocal linking is unnatural due to its excessive nature.
Most times, what Google does is try to ignore unnatural links, so they can not help your site’s ranking. In a worst-case scenario, you could be landed a manual penalty from Google. People usually find themselves wondering how Google might detect link exchanges algorithmically. However, it is perhaps reasonably that Google can pick up on patterns of reciprocity. No matter how advanced Google is or perhaps not in their ability to do this currently, you should avoid taking unnecessary risks and avoid doing anything that could result in you getting penalized by Google.
Linking For Linking Sake
Another factor of link exchanging is that these types of links are set up mainly to give advantage to a link. This means they possess no characteristics of an editorial choice or real-world relationship. Google demand that links are developed out of editorial choice – they should exemplify a vote, given out of your discretion, in favor of the content that you are linking to.
Using Google’s definition of Natural link, it can be understood that, what a natural link is an editorial choice. It is the ability to link a site based on the value and usefulness of the site, as a result of your desire to share its content with others.
Relate that with link exchange, where a site owner is being asked by you: “Hey this is a page I have. Can you link to it? I assure you that once you do, I’ll link back to you.” Should they link to you, it is not due to the reason that they like your page. This is only being done by them because they need a link in return. This is the reason Google does not like these types of links.
Is there a way to exchange link that doesn’t violate Google Guidelines?
You would have to change the name from link exchange to co-marketing if you want a link exchange to be natural and not violate Google’s guidelines.
Co-marketing motto is “if we work together, we can influence other’s audiences by promoting this content together” where a link exchange says “if you link to me, I will link to you.”
Below are some examples of a fruitful co-marketing arrangement:
• a local family counselor and local family law attorney decide to run a free community seminar on conflict resolution
• a dietician and a personal trainer create content for each other’s blog as they both possess skills that complement each other skills well and will benefit their health-conscious target audiences.
• A local electrician and a local real estate agent decide to co-author a series of articles about electrical rewiring for house flippers.
In comparison to exchanging links, this co-marketing takes a lot more work. Nevertheless, it possesses the benefit of improving your real-world presence, not just your organic search presence.
Link Building Strategies for Small Business Websites
Link building is the term that is frequently used by people to illustrate the exercise of earning high-quality links to their website to perform better in search engines.
Before we begin, it should be clarified that link building is very difficult. This is generally as a result of the fact that you cannot predict people. And as a small business, it is even harder which is due to many reasons like; not having a dedicated SEO in-house; lack of some internal resources to produce the “10X content” every other article on link building says you need to get links; and because you are small, it’s difficult for you to attract links as a big, well-known brand does.
Nonetheless, this is not to say that Link building is not possible. Like many things that are just as difficult, it just takes time and dedication. As a small business, you need to ensure that whatever time you dedicate to link building is spent on tactics that will work. Below are some link building strategies an any small business can take benefit from, even if they are low on budget and resources:
Connect with Local Niche and Niche Bloggers
Find popular bloggers who cover your city or industry. These content creators are sure to drive constant content for their readers. Nevertheless, like any content creator in the world out there, they too run out of ideas at different periods. Be the shining light who presents them with an idea. Build a genuine relationship with them by sharing their pieces, when you find them interesting; follow, and subscribe to their channels. With some time, this can lead to natural mentions. The key here is a have something of real value for their readers. Help the bloggers help their audience and they’ll use their influence to help you. However, as a small business, you are likely to have better luck going after smaller bloggers.
Offer case studies or Testimonials:
This is a link building tactic that is easy. What software products or vendors does your business use? If you’re happy with them, you can offer to take part in a case study. It is common practice for brands to link to the business featured in a testimonial of case study, to show gratitude for their social proof. You should do this only for brands that have sincerely satisfied or impressed you.
Reclaim Unlinked Mentions.
The easiest link building tactic is perhaps this one. Every day online, brands are mentioned (big and small alike).
Have Free Google Alerts set up for “your brand name goes here” and your “domain.com” and names of any prominent members of your leadership team. This way you will be able to know and reach out whenever a website mentions you without a link.
Using these, it should be enough to get you started.