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Exchange Links but Carefully

Article by

Mufad

How do you know if you are being cheated by your link partners ? This article outlines 10 important factors that can help you determine the worth of a link exchange partnership.
There are several factors that determine the benefit that you get when you exchange links with any website. Knowingly or unknowingly, sometimes you may be giving away some of your hard earned PR (page rank) without getting anything in return. While it is debatable if the primary purpose of exchanges is the traffic or the Page Rank gain, a combination of both these motivations is usually present when we exchange links. Some of the factors that help to determine the value of an incoming link are
•    1> The PR and number of links on the Page Linking to you.
This is obvious, the higher the PR, the better the link in general, but a link from a pr4 page with 10 external links is better than a link from a pr5 page with 100 external links. The PR that a page has gets distributed between all the links on that page so the PR and the number of links together should be used to determine the worth of a link.
•     2> Direct or Redirected Link Many sites like the yahoo directory link to keep track of which site gets how many clicks. the only way they can determine which link the users are clicking on is by having a redirected link. Many people believe that this will prevent the PR from flowing; generally this is true but not always. A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect which does not pass the PR, where as a 301 permanent redirect allows the PR to flow. For example, see the page http://biz-whiz.com/ebooks/hits/ note that it is a PR4, then see the back links, you will find that all the links are redirected links for few pages of my site. Same is true for all download links on http://biz-whiz.com/Downloads-req-viewdownload-cid-5.html - so the point I am making is that not all redirected links are bad. It depends on the type of redirection used. It is a good idea to allow the partner webmaster the choice of a direct link or a redirected link as done at the link submission page at http://biz-whiz.com/Web_Links-req-AddLink.html
•    3> Meta Tags
The robots meta tags determines if a page will be indexed by the searchengine or not, and if the links on the page will be followed or not. If the page linking to you has a meta tag like
< meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW" />
then there is no use of a link from that page
•    4> robots.txt exclusions
The robots.txt file is used to inform the searchengine spider which pages on a site should not be indexed. When the search engine crawler visits your site, the first file it looks for is the robots.txt - if this file is found, the crawler will obey the rules in this file. Some directories or pages may be excluded and the crawler will only spider the section of the website that is not excluded. When you exchange links it is a good practice to look at http://linkexchangesite.com/robots.txt just to get an idea if the page where your link is going to be placed is out of reach for the crawlers.
•    5> javascript includes or redirects
To reduce the size of a page, some webmasters prefer to place links in an external javascript file! Google has been crawling external .js files for the past year and it is not likely that the search engines can be fooled. The website logs indicate that the external scripts are considered as much a part of the page as the other elements. So if someone cleverly tries to provide a link using the following code
<a href="" onClick="window.location=yoursite;return false;">text link</a> it will not fool the search engines. How do I know this ? By checking the back links from pages that are linked to this way, and by the comment of GoogleGuy (a google representative) at http://www.markcarey.com/googleguy-says/archives/google-crawls-javascript-links.html
•    6> IFRAMES
An IFRAME is a page inside another page. If you encounter a site that is using an IFRAME to link to other sites, you should visit the IFRAME url and check the PR of that page independent of the outer page. You should determine the worth of the link by the PR of the inner page. It may so happen that if a page in an IFRAME is used from multiple sites, the IFRAME page could have a higher PR than the outer page. In that case getting a link from an IFRAME can be an advantage. Webmasters who have lots of sites may find it easier to maintain one links page for all sites using an IFRAME. You cannot blame them, you have to do your homework before you decide to exchange links.
•    7> In Context Links
There is a good amount of speculation and I myself do believe that incontext links are given more importance by the searchengines. So if I have a choice between an incontext link like
Here is the <a href=...>Link</a> to my site
and a standalone link like
<a href=...>Link to Site</a>
I would certainly go for the in context link.
•    8> Link Title
You may know that is vitally important to have your keywords in your link text. In addition to the link text the link title parameter also is believed to play some role.
So
<a href=... title="keywords">Key Words</a>
is preferable to <a href=...>Key Words</a>
The title parameter works link the alt for images, it pops up when the mouse hovers over the link.
•    9> Bold
Links in bold are believed to be given more importance
So
<b><a href=...>Keywords</a></b>
Is preferable to <a href=...>Keywords</a>
It is not always possible to get a bold link but there is no harm trying, it also makes your link stand out from the others on the page.
•    10> Prominence
I am not sure about this, but some people have debated that the higher on the page that your link appears, the more important it is considered by the search engines.

Those are the points to remember when you exchange links. When you search in google for link:yoursite.com you will be able to see the important backlinks for your site. Usually pages with PR4 and above will show in google backlinks and these links are your most valuable link partners. If a backlink shows in the google links then it is very valuable.


About the Author:

Mufad is the Owner of the Work at Home Business Community where you can read, review & submit , articles, links & downloads after you activate your free membership.