22 September 2005

Link exchange—why it works and why I don’t do it

One of the secrets to getting more visitors to your blog is having more people link to you. That seems pretty obvious: more links = more traffic through those links. What isn’t quite so obvious is that more links also means more hits through search engines. If Google sees plenty of references to your website when it is spidering, I am led to believe that it will receive a greater weighting, meaning that it will rank higher in searches, and perhaps even be spidered more regularly.

If that’s the case, then exchanging links, either ‘manually’ or using a link exchange tool such as Reciprocal Manager or SolvoLink, would be a great way of boosting your traffic.

But although I would love more visitors, I just can’t bring myself to exchange links. My philosophy is that I should only refer people to sites that I really like or are relevant to the topic in question. Equally, I only expect other people to link to me if they see merit in something I write or in my blog as whole, or if they know I know where they live (just kidding!). So if I link to you, I’d be flattered if you reciprocated, but I neither request nor, indeed, expect it.

Okay, that’s all very altruistic, but how does it sit with my occasional use of BlogExplosion, which is, in a sense, a reciprocal linkage system? Well, I guess I’ll just have to admit to being inconsistent there. I do like to browse blogs, and if I’m going to be doing it anyway, I may as well get some hits from it. And I’ve found quite a few BlogExchangers do actually read, digest and comment, rather than just click mechanically. I see that as something a little different from actively recommending a blog by linking to or blogrolling it. But perhaps that’s just my inner ‘hit junkie’ speaking :-)Go to eebahgum!


Stef Levolger said...

Link exchanging through link exchange systems isn't the best way of doing things if you would like to see people coming directly from those blogs. Neither does it succesfully help your way up in search engines since you're not on a fixed amount of pages, it just differs every time the little robot drops by.

In short, those link exchange systems are somewhat useless. If exchanging links is something you'ld like to do you'ld have to find a site with a similar theme. The visitors of both sites will be interested in the theme and therefore check it out if they have the time. This is what gives a site extra visitors.

As for BlogExplosion, I've just joined it recently, but I've found your blog through BlogExplosion whilst mechanically clicking ;-). Your page just drew my attention for some reason so I read the latest post.

Then there's ofcourse the third alternative, directoy listings. If you desire readers these are a good alternative aswell. People can search for a certain theme and find your blog, which will be within their interest in some way.

It isn't so much a search for hits in the end, but a search for readers. After all, what does it matter if a counter would state over a million hits if there's nobody who actually ever gives any input?

Alicia said...

I'm with you...I once had a guy practically stalking my blog and harrassing me because he'd linked to me and I didn't link back. I like BlogExplosion because I find good blogs to read this way, but back when I used to obsessively check my stats to see who was visiting I hated it, because all I'd see was blogsurfers. I much prefer seeing just 4 or 5 hits a day from the same people rather than 50 "hit-and-runs".

But now i blog just to get out the thoughts I have rattling around in my brain out and don't worry about who links or who visits that much. I think that's the best way. :-)

Nice post. :-)

SGFyYWxk said...

I'm right here, clicking away and reading halfheartedly. ;) I'm just trying to get people to read mine and earn a little cash on the side.

Gone Away said...

I'm with you on the linking philosophy. The way I see it, any links on my blog are my recommendations so, if there's just a load of trash in there, my taste is in question. If people link to me, I would hope that it's because they like what I do. And it's not entirely true that the search engines just rate by number of incoming links. Much more important these days are quality and originality of content.

eebahgum! said...

Thanks, everyone, for dropping by and particularly for commenting.

Informative comments, Stef, thanks.

Alicia, the link stalker is a bit scary. I assure you I can account for my whereabouts, though :-)

Gone Away, I agree completely, although I suspect my taste has been in question for some time!

Janette said...

I came to you through Blog Explosion. I just started with it and I enjoy the surfing.

I agree with you about link exchanges. Fairly useless for the most part. Just link those that you like and know that others will do the same for you.

I've never understood the obsession with links and hits anyway but then I don't make any money blogging either.

Barbara said...

I was reading some sites that gave suggestions to increase readership. The prevalent notion is that if you don't promote your blog, it will be lost in the blogosphere, even if you have great content. Without links to your blog, potential repeat readers will never find your blog. There are just way to many blogs to crowd yours out if your not letting others know you exist.
I didn't click through this sight on BlogExplosion, I always get slowed down reading good blogs.

RGH said...

I too found this through Blog Explosion. As a new member, I'm impressed that so many people found it through this exchange.

Linking with other sites is a referral in my opinion. One intent of my blog is to create value for my readers. I don't want to send them on a wild goose chase because I don't feel that is right. If a blog is good, I try to link to it. I will also remove a link if I feel that the value is not there.


Tor said...

To sum up what most of these other folks are saying, BlogExplosion is a fun way to find other blogs, but random linking is a terrible way.

I do review my blogroll from time to time to see if the blogs are still as good and current as they were when I put them on there. I don't limit my blogroll to any certain theme, but if it's not a blog I'm interested in visiting frequently, I won't blogroll it. I do have a predilection for linking to other Maine bloggers when I find them, tho.

I have found that technorati tags and linking to articles are two good ways to attract visitors who are interested in what I am blogging about. I think that in the long run, building up a loyal readership is more important than bringing thousands of folks to your site who won't read what you've written.