Link Exchange And Its Myths - Relevancy, Trust Rank And Page Rank.
by Nickolay Bokhonok
Link exchange and its success are bound by the rules that are set by search engines. On the surface everything is simple - they say to exchange links with relevant sites and you will succeed.
But if you dig dipper, you will see that relevancy is a tricky issue. And definitely search engines can't rely on it - otherwise they can be in big trouble. Understanding this search engines tend to introduce more factors to quality the links. And this is the topic of this article.
Let's handle the relevance of sites first. Ok, you have a forex brokerage site and link to forex trading system site; everything is good and clear for search engines. But life is much beyond simple relevancy of niches. For example, you have a business training site and part of the info you want to share can be yoga site that teaches people to get rid of stress. Is it normal for your business? Surely! Stress is part of the business and knowing how to kill stress is very helpful, and it definitely is very logical to give your site visitors a chance to learn that as well. But business and yoga/health are absolutely different niches. And I am not sure search engines with the help of their automated algorithms will get much into the details of your site. They can think "business and yoga, hmm" - do YOU know what decision they will take? I don't, because cannot talk on behalf of search engines.
My example with business & yoga was just an example. I am sure if you think of it, you will find thousands of other examples when everything is logical, but dangerous in the terms of usual relevancy.
Surely the tech gurus from Google and other search engines also know that. And I am sure they smart, because seems that they don't rely on relevancy only with qualifying link exchange to be good or bad.
This is when we come to new trend rumored by around Google.
What is it? Something new? Well, no one can say if it exists in reality, but rumors and proofs speak for it. So, seems like Google has given to the line of reputable, famous sites an extra status of being trusted. These sites have good history and provide quality info. Google is not naming these sites (it will kill the whole concept), but getting a backlink from these sites, even if the site is not relevant, will not cause any problems.
This sounds logical. Think of it, if USAToday.com links to site about shoeshine with news about it - no problems I think. Surely news site and shoeshine site are not the same niche, but USAToday.com is a trusted resource.
Another example: I adore Answers.com - very good service that I use daily. When you search for some words, together with perfect explanations (that's why I love this service!), they also serve Sponsored Links. And these links are very often not relevant. I remember searching 'patronage' and saw a dummy, automatically generated AdSense site with NO content, just Google boxes in the center and automatic phrases with this word in left column. They change these sponsored links all the time, but reloading page for a number of time showed: directory for wedding dresses, buttercup's boutique, etc.
Not a glimpse of relevance. Still, answers.com don't suffer from linking to irrelevant sites. I don't dispute the way this service makes money; the core of the service is super and I don't care for the rest. But if Google would be automatically penalizing for irrelevant linking - that will be a problem for answers.com - and they exist successfully.
Why? Because Google and other search engines understand that answers.com is a great service and this service helps Internet searchers to find good info. So, they trust this service and give bigger freedom in other things - it's normal.
So, we are coming to a new factor - trust rank which is also very important in link building. And I can suggest that getting backlink from irrelevant, but highly trusted site is not a problem.
How to find a trusted site? Can't give you exact answer. But you can use the same logics of search engines. If you see this site has long Internet history, site provides very good info in its niche, has many pages indexed - go ahead to get your backlink on it.
Many webmasters say that Google Page rank is a waste. I don't think so. Otherwise people will no be paying big money to get a backlink from PR 7 and higher pages. On the other hand, I understand that Page Rank has become a big target for manipulations.
That is why for me Page Rank is not a decisive factor in the questions of exchanging/not exchanging links with a site. If I see a fresh site with PR 0, but I see this site has a good offer and this will do good to my site visitors - I link to it. Who knows, maybe with time I will be thanking the sky for the idea to look to this site when they reach PR 10 ;) Good site means good traffic means - I win. Plus good site is very likely to become trusted, if its owners will not junk their link building.
What to trust?
My experience says - keep the eyes opened. If you work with the content on your site, if you don't speed up on link building, if you don't feel greedy - you have a bigger freedom. Instead of being afraid of relevancy, you have a bigger field to play.
And stay reasonable. If it gives real value to your visitors - you will benefit.
Nickolay Bokhonok - inventor and owner of Internet marketing tools. Recent tool from Nick - Automatic Link Exchange Software + Free Link Building Course
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