If you're planning to improve your search engine optimization in 2013, you may want to become one of the over 50 percent of small law firms that maintains a blog. Blogs are one of the best ways to increase your website readership quickly and to generate the inbound links that are the foundation of all contemporary SEO strategies. One of the ways that you can generate inbound links with your blog is through blog link exchange. While many types of link exchange are actually considered harmful for websites, there are ways to do blog link exchange right. In this guide you'll find out how to link exchange with blog owners in a way that won't lead to penalties or regrets.
The Problem With Traditional Link Exchange
Link exchange has been one of the foundational principles of getting inbound links ever since search engines started using links to determine rankings. However, as people got wise to the ways that search engines were creating their rankings lists, they started to game the system. Some clever people working in search engine optimization realized that any time people created reciprocal links, both of them were getting “link juice,” or authority, that helped drive their rankings up.
Their solution was to automate link exchange. Soon, blog link exchange was no longer a matter of finding other people with relevant interests—it was just about inserting a piece of code onto your website and watching the links roll in without your input or even necessarily your knowledge. Instead of showing which websites you were actually interested in, this kind of automated link exchange with blog owners just led to sites filled with reciprocal link spam.
What's So Different About Ethical Blog Link Exchange?
Blog link exchange doesn't have to look like that. Lawyers are in a unique position in terms of link exchange with blog owners. Why? Because law blogs are about very interesting events and news topics, and because many different law blogs have various subject matter intersection points. This is a perfect environment to start link exchange for blog SEO.
When you do ethical blog link exchange, you're not doing a link exchange for blog optimization exclusively. You're also doing it because you believe that your blog readers will be interested in what the writer of the other blog has to say. Blog link exchange of this type will usually mean that the vast majority of blogs you have reciprocal links with are also about law, perhaps even about the same specialty of law that you're practicing and writing about.
How To Do Blog Link Exchange Right
If you want to link exchange with blog owners, you're going to need to get to know them first. That means beginning to read law blogs. Blog link exchange will only be ethical if you're picking places to exchange links based on the actual content and quality of the blogs in question.
When you decide that you want to link exchange your blog, you can send a brief but not generic email to the person who runs the blog you want to link to. Ask them if they might be interested in doing a blog link exchange with you. If they aren't interested, don't try to force the issue—there are plenty of other places to do link exchange with blog owners. Usually, it will be much easier to get someone to agree to a blog link exchange if you've already commented on their posts and interacted with them once or twice, or if they already read and comment on your blog.
Instead of just doing a link exchange with blog owners, you may want to exchange the links through mutual guest posts. By guest posting on someone else's blog and allowing them to guest blog on yours, you're not only generating blog link exchange, you're also making sure that your readers hear about another blog that you find interesting and worthwhile.
If you wouldn't want someone to guest post on your blog, you may want to reconsider the reasons that you want to do a blog link exchange with them. Link exchange with blog owners is really only advisable when you're exchanging links with people you actually respect and want to read.
How To Do Blog Link Exchange Wrong
Usually, doing the wrong kind of link exchange with blog owners will involve sending mass emails to bloggers, requesting mutual links. If you find yourself spamming dozens of bloggers in a single night, you can safely assume that you're doing blog link exchange wrong. Not only is this an unethical way to do link exchange with blog owners, it's also very likely to lead to Google penalties.
The worst way to do blog link exchange is to try to get exchange with very low quality blogs or blogs that have little or nothing to do with the law or your practice area. This is generally seen as a sign of desperation and won't look good on your blog when potential clients see it.
Use Caution: Don't Use All Links From Blog Link Exchange
Even if you're doing a great job and have managed to do link exchange with blog owners all over the country, it's not a good idea to have the majority of your links come from blog link exchange. Why? Because Google tends to assume that anyone with too many reciprocal links is actually using the unethical methods of link exchange.
You should try to keep your overall number of links made through link exchange with blog owners to a small percentage of your total inbound links. If you do this, Google won't identify your behavior as potential evidence of over optimization, and you're much less likely to incur any penalties for your linking preferences.
Consider adding to your links from social networking websites, social bookmarking hubs, and directories in order to establish a pattern of developing one way links as well as reciprocal links.