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Exchange Links but Carefully
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
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
• 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.
To reduce the size of a page, some webmasters prefer to place links in
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
• 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.
<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
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
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