A link exchange is also referred to as a "Reciprocal Link".
Example: cars for sale
The above example demonstrates an automotive link to Justgoodcars.com
The text used in the link is commonly referred to as "Anchor Text".
There are a few options when exchanging automotive links.
- The free option is the most popular, a deal is made with both websites to link to each other.
- Paid link exchange, some websites have a much higher status in the online market and demand payment as well as a link pointing back to them.
- 3-way link exchange, this process involves 3 or more sites, site A links to site B which links to site C and Site C links back to A.
Exchanging links has 3 main benefits
Increase direct traffic. Websites with large exposure to the online market receive thousands of visitors a day, having a text link pointing to your site from one of these sites in a key area can filter large volumes of traffic to your website. For example if a site has an article related to a product you sell, when referring to this product a link could be placed in a key area to send users to your website.
Brand Exposure. Having links pointing to your site increases your brand exposure, there are more chances of online users seeing your website and recognising it in the future. Having a link on a well known brands website shows that site has trust in your website. This can be invaluable to your brand.
Increase Search engine listings. One of the main benefits of a link exchange is that it is one of the leading factors in improving placements in search engines.
Search engines take preference to websites that have links pointing to them from other websites, this intern improves positions in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Search engines use links and anchor text as an accurate way of determining what sites to show first. A link from a website to yours is considered as a positive vote to your website.
The main factors search engine look at:
Anchor Text. The anchor text is very important because it tells the search engine about the page its pointing too. So the anchor text "cars for sale" would tell the search engine that www.justgoodcars.com is about "cars for sale" and the search engine can then use this data to position that website correctly within its listings.
There are many ways of analyzing what words to use in your anchor text, having the correct phrase is very important. Using popular "Keywords Research Tool" can help you make the correct decisions. There is little point ranking #1 in google for a key phrase that nobody is searching for.
Industry Relevance. One of the most important factors currently is that the link should be positioned on an industry relevant website. If your website is about car cleaning products then links from cleaning product sites and automotive sites would be best. One link from a website in either of these industries can be more effective than ten from non related sites. Linking to a site with no relevance can have a negative affect on search engine listings, there is very little evidence to support this but it's something to keep in mind when deciding what sites to for a link relationship with.
Link Position. Search engines will determine what page and how high up in the page your link is. This will tell the search engine how important this website thinks your website is. A link on the homepage is more important than a link buried ten pages deep in a site. A link exchange page is normally one or two pages deep and very rarely on the homepage.
Links on a page. Search engines will determine how many external links there are on a webpage the less links the better as this will show that the page is more geared towards your website.
One-way-links are the best way of achieving higher listings in search engines using the link method. One-way-links are links pointing to your website without the reciprocation of a link back.
It's possible to get automotive one-way-links by using the link exchange method. Many websites additionally have blogs or other informative websites, linking to the blog and having their main site pointing to you constitutes as a link exchange but this exchange cannot be easily determined by the search engines.
There are many ways of initiating an automotive link exchange, the most popular way is sending an email to the webmaster to asking to exchange links.
There are many automotive forums where webmasters discuss search engine rankings and joining these forums and entering in the discussions can be an interesting way to form relationships and link automotive link exchanges.
The age of a link is also an important factor, if a link remains on a website for a long period of time then search engines see this as a reliable link, if it is removed it can be seen as a negative point or treat the page it points to as a story that was relevant at one time but isn't now.
Because of the importance of link exchanges, there are many websites available with the sole purpose of link exchanging such as automotive directories. Some of these directories are ones that you have to pay for and others are free. There are some sites that offer software that will automate the process but we do not recommend this option as there is an element of control that is lost in this process.
The use of automotive link exchanges by webmasters will continue to be one of the most important and useful means of marketing your websites and improving search engine placement to increase traffic.