The Ph.D Link Building Course - Link Exchanges
The true spirit of egalitarianism and brotherhood is incorporated into the concept of the pure "link exchange." A link exchange is a mutually consensual agreement where two web entrepreneurs agree to place corresponding links on each other's sites. This benefits both sites equally and in two separate ways. There is more direct traffic from visitors clicking on the link and the incoming link is valuable for search engine optimization. This process works especially well for newer sites since it is often quite difficult for Google to recognize a site and start its indexing process on it. Link exchanges are usually rather easy to negotiate and a snap to set up, plus they can significantly improve your PageRanking as well as the various search engine listings for the anchor text keywords that you're utilizing.
However, that is when we're dealing with the hypothetical pure link exchange where both partners in the enterprise receive an equivalent benefit. In reality it doesn't always work this way. Quality is also foremost to be considered in the case of the link exchange as it is in any other aspect of professional link building. There's absolutely no point and nothing gained in coming to an agreement with a website that is below your standard as it will just drag you down. Furthermore a highly trafficked site might not place its offsite links into such high prominence as a site that has lower numbers but places your link in a premium position. In this case the two sites might average out the same, or you may even find that the lower traffic site is more successful for you.
Keeping an eye on trends is important as well. If the word on the street is that there is a hot topic coming up in your subject field and there is some poor little web entrepreneur struggling along with eye-dropper traffic but specializes in that particular topic, now might be the time to make what would ordinarily be an unbalanced deal. Although the current traffic is dead slow now, if the topic really does heat up as you've heard, the numbers could skyrocket and then the effectiveness of your link would as well. Imagine getting your "surfboard" site linked to a web entrepreneur who focuses on the increased wave effects of Global Warming four years ago when nobody had ever heard of it. You can bet your bottom dollar that these days they're absolutely swamped!
Just like the only real variable in real estate is Location, Location, Location, in link exchanging it's Relevance, Relevance, Relevance. You've got to keep that foremost in mind when you're seeking a new link exchange collaboration. The problem in going with these various options is that these sites place lines of code on your website and Google has gotten wise to this. If they sniff those lines, Google will know what you're up to and shoot you downwards.
It is generally considered against web etiquette to fire off a bunch of unsolicited and untargeted solicitations for link exchanges, as that can easily fall into the category of spam, and you want to avoid that at all costs If you think that spam laws are toothless and don't apply to you anyway, give the federal spam regulations a read. You might change your mind in a real hurry. The best approach is to email about 20 of the sites that are most closely related to your subject matter and then just leave it alone for a while. You might see a 10% response rate which will provide you with two quality, qualified prospects, and that is definitely a good start.