Before I get into my next point on the dangers of link exchanges, please don’t take this as a complete dismissal of its use. The better lesson to come away with is that you have to stay very vigilant if you do use this tool.
I’ll jump in by citing the most common trick in link exchanging. At some point, you’ll decide to check on your links around the Net. As you go from site to site, you find that some of your links are gone. They were there before, but now they can’t be found anywhere on your link partner’s site. What happened?
Welcome to the oldest trick in the book – you hold up your end of the bargain, your partner doesn’t. Why? Because his end of the deal suddenly multiplies. He gets full credit for a one-way, inbound link to his site. What do you get? Nothing. You just don’t know it.
Some will wait a week, maybe a little longer before removing your link from their site. They bank on the fact that you’ll check on your link for a while at first, but as time goes by you’ll get caught up in other, newer link exchanges. Or you’ll just get tired of keeping track. It’s human nature to do this. And we’re all human. That’s what the other guy is banking on.
Another technique dishonest partners use is to gradually move your link deeper and deeper into their site as they put their latest link exchanges at the front of the line, so to speak. The page you are moved to may be have a lower PR, making your side of the deal less and less valuable. Plus, as you move further and further away from the homepage, that distance means a decline in the value of your link.
There is software that will keep track of link exchanges for you, notifying you if your link is deleted or moved. That’s the good news. The bad news is that your link can stay in place, on your partner’s site, and yet be absolutely worthless. And you won’t even know it’s happened. We’ll look at some of the ways this is done in the next post.
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