70 percent of your placement in Google searches depends on the links that are coming into your website and going out of it. If you're thinking of improving your results on Google with link exchange, you can do a lot of good for your website—but you can also do a lot of harm. Minimizing the risks of using link exchange for Google search rankings will mean taking some precautions ahead of time. In this guide, you'll find out why Google and link exchange don't always get along, and how you can use link exchange appropriately to make your website's reputation better, not worse.
Why People Use Link Exchange for Google SEO
When people started trying to change search results on Google with link exchange, their reason was simple: link exchange on Google was one of the single fastest ways to build a link presence. Google was link exchange central for some time, and that happened because Google made link results so important.
When people first connected search results with Google and link exchange, they discovered that the search engine didn't particularly care where their links came from—just that they had a large number of them. Link exchange made Google much easier to game: all you needed to do was use any one of a number of huge link exchange websites or applications. Within hours or days you could have hundreds or thousands of links.
Google link exchange became not just a way for people to personally improve their website rankings, it became a business. That's where link exchange and Google began to clash.
Google and Link Exchange: Conflicting Goals
Link exchange and Google clash with each other because there are two completely different goals at stake. People who are doing Google link exchange know that their primary goal is to direct users to their website—whether or not that website is actually the best place for a user to find the information they're looking for. However, unlike a link exchange, Google needs to try to find the very best search result for a user.
The only time that Google wants to give a website special status for spending money is when the website spends money on Google advertising. However, study after study shows that most people simply never click “sponsored results” on Google or other search engines. This means that Google link exchange and other inbound link building techniques are among the best ways to improve your overall web traffic and conversions—as long as you know how to do it without getting on Google's bad side.
Affecting Search Results on Google with Link Exchange
Today, any links that you create through link exchange for Google search rankings will contribute their authority, or “link juice.” You get more link juice for websites that for one reason or another (high traffic, .edu or .gov top level domain names) are considered more authoritative by Google. Google link exchange will be more successful if you're able to snag an exchange with more than one high authority value website.
If you're creating too many links from link exchange and Google notices that you're doing it, you're likely to see a very different effect on your search rankings. The clash between Google and link exchange websites culminated in a massive change to the way the search engine ranks sites, and today, known link exchangers are penalized in searches. If you use link exchange for Google results too frequently or too blatantly, don't be surprised if you see that your website is no longer getting the traffic it used to. It may have been forced far down into the rankings as punishment for overuse of Google link exchange.
Beating Google: Link Exchange Tactics that Still Work
If you're trying to use link exchange for Google results without facing penalties, you'll need to get creative. Start thinking like a search engine: how can you bring your website's goals (increased traffic) into harmony with Google's goals (good search results)? The answer is easy to understand, but hard to implement.
If you make your website extremely high quality, then using Google link exchange is unlikely to have a serious detrimental effect. Link exchange and Google can work harmoniously to bring publicity to a website that's actually doing a great job. For instance, if you're offered an award for your law blog, you may want to link back to the organization giving the award—this kind of reciprocal linking isn't usually frowned upon by Google and won't incur penalties.
You can also work on creating link exchange for Google rankings by talking to people you actually know, or people with websites similar to yours, about a possible exchange. Google link exchange is actually much less likely to incur penalties when you're using contextual linking methods rather than shotgunning your link exchange randomly across the entire web.
If You're Being Penalized by Google For Link Exchange
There's not much worse than waking up to the news that your link exchange for Google was detected as over optimization. If this happens, you'll receive an email, and you must act fast to make sure that your website doesn't lose all of the traffic you've worked so hard to gain.
It will be a time consuming process, but you will need to use an online inbound link checker program to find out where all your links are coming from. Whatever Google link exchange links you were using, you're going to want to take them down. You can worry about rebuilding some of your link exchange for Google rankings later—right now the important thing is undoing the damage.
In some cases, you may find that webmasters are reluctant to let you take down your links. When this happens, you don't have to give up on your efforts to remove the links. You can simply advise Google of your efforts, and give them proof that you tried to have the links removed.