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Blog > Link Exchange Requests – When To Say No

Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Link Exchange Requests – When To Say No

September 9th, 2008

I receive link exchange requests often, and will share the most ridiculous ones I receive with you for two reasons. First, I want you to know when to decline these. Secondly, I don’t want you to actually hire a company that has people send out these awful, illogical, useless requests.

Now remember, I’m a web designer. And that what I’d be looking for was a link from a website that was about…oh, I dunno, website design. Remember that search engines evaluate links in context, meaning the content that surrounds the link to your site matters in how much this link will be counted towards getting your website ranked for your keywords. You want links from pages that have your keywords in them. This is link building 101. You want links from pages whose main topic matches your website’s keywords. Here’s the email I received:

Link Exchange Request for PR 1+

Dear Webmaster,

First of all let me introduce myself – I am,Rokshar Link Manager

I handle online marketing for my client

To increase the link popularity of my client’s site , we are now looking for triangular Link swapping with some good quality sites. You are already aware that Triangular Link swapping is much more popular and beneficial than Reciprocal Link exchange . This way both the sites gets the benefited . I would request you to place my client’s link at your site.

Please add my links on minimum Page Rank 1+ (otherwise it will not acceptable by my client) and use the following code for linking to us

Here are details of my site :

Url :
Title : Discount Pet SuperStore
Des : Buy PetSafe Wireless Dog Fence, Dog Doors, Dog Crates, PetSafe Electric Dog Fences, Pet Containment Fencing, and Discount Pet Supplies

Or you can simply use the following Linking code:
a href=”” Discount Pet SuperStore /a Buy PetSafe Wireless Dog Fence, Dog Doors, Dog Crates, PetSafe Electric Dog Fences, Pet Containment Fencing, and Discount Pet Supplies

Your link will be added within 12 hours at (PR3)
OR Within 12 hours.

Please forward me your linking details along with confirmation where my link have been added by you .

Hoping an early and positive response from your side.

Have a nice day ahead 🙂

Bsest Regards

Let’s dissect this request:

1. Website Conflicts With My Values: First and foremost – I believe that electronic dog fences are completely inhumane.

2. It’s a form letter: Meaning to me that this person probably didn’t even visit my website, otherwise it would be “Dear Jill”. Call me crazy, but I just don’t respond to form letters. I think they’re spam and treat them as such.

3. Triangular Link Swapping Is “Black Hat”: This means that whenever you try something that tries to fool search engines, it’s bad news. This is just like reciprocal link swapping, which is better than nothing, but not good as one-way links. The best links are those that folks give you because your content is worthwhile, not because “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. Google is smarter than you may think.

4. No value to my website or my visitors. As previously mentioned, having a link to my website from a dog fence website or a shiatsu for horses website is of absolutely no value to me or the people who might be on my website. You should add links to your website because your customers will find the information useful. Other people will add links to you because they find your website information useful.

Bottom line: If you are going to hire a company to perform link building for your new website, find out HOW they plan to do this. If they are going to send out terribly written cookie cutter emails to random website owners – take your money elsewhere. Real quality link building is much more than hiring someone to send out spam on your behalf.

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

3 Responses to “Link Exchange Requests – When To Say No”

  1. Christina Bernice Butler Says:

    Thank you!! Exactly what I needed to hear. I was looking for answers as to why link-sharing doesn’t go over well w/ Google (and if that’s was really true). I’ve been asked to do it but have not yet done so. I see that the same goes for anything else – “The best links are those that folks give you because your content is worthwhile…Other people will add links to you because they find your website information useful.”
    God bless!! <3

  2. Tristan Stroud Says:

    Hi Jill,
    Thanks for the link exchange tips. Do you have any tips on how to get authentic links, a way to build up links to your site and increase your Google rank for the beginner?

    Thank you

  3. Jill Olkoski Says:

    The only way I know of to get authentic links, is by writing helpful blog articles. If an article is really helpful, often folks will link to it from their blog or a forum or even their website. The more good advice you can give to folks, the better.

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