Is Link Exchange Good or Bad for SEO in 2024?

What is Link Exchange?

Technically Link exchange is an alliance of websites that work like a web ring. The website owners register their sites with a central organization that runs the exchange and in turn, get from the exchange HTML code which they insert into their web pages.

In a web ring, the HTML code consists of circular ring navigation while in a link exchange HTML code results in a display of banner advertisements for the websites of other members of the exchange.

In simple terms, link exchange is a deal between two or more websites to give links or trade them. Brands do link exchanges to create links quickly and boost their authority, improve rankings, and so on.

People name them reciprocal links, link exchanges, and link swaps. Brands do these exchanges to generate links quickly and boost their authority, improve rankings and so on. 

Link Exchange

Link exchange has advantages and disadvantages for those using the web for marketing. They can be advantageous by bringing a highly targeted readership of increasing the ‘ link popularity ‘ of a website and is a stable method of hyperlinking. They can be disadvantageous as they can distract visitors to other sites before they have completely explored the site. Link exchanges or paid linking activity is discouraged by Google.

It is highly prohibited for website owners who seek to increase search engine rankings. As per Google excessive link exchanges and ‘ Link Schemes ‘ can suppress the linked site in SERPs or block it altogether.

Link Schemes

As per John Mueller,

‘’A Link Exchange which involves ‘Link to me and I’ll link to you is against our webmaster guidelines and our algorithms would look at that and try to understand what is happening here and try to ignore those links and the web spam team will also find it not okay. If the majority of the links to your website are built via link exchanges then they will apply manual action to it  so this is something that you should avoid.’’

If web admins want to avoid getting banned by Google.

it is a good practice to avoid spammy link schemes as they are a short-term solution for a long-term problem.

There are many better methods that you can follow for getting backlinks instead of focusing on unethical methods like link exchanges. As per Google’s quality guidelines, it is not a good way to ask for links from other sites  rather you should create unique content that will automatically turn website owners to link back to it as mentioned in the quality guidelines below :

Link Exchange

We are going to highlight some of the steps that we follow for the content promotion outreach campaign instead of directly asking for links from other brands.

Link Prospecting is a way of finding pages you want to get a link on.

There are hundreds of places where you can search for new links like Google search results, your competitor’s backlinks, or competitor’s link targets.

Firstly we will find link prospects who will find our content relevant and meaningful.

For example, we want to promote our blog Digital Marketing Guide For Beginners: Simple & Extensive as we think it’s one of the best resources on the topic.

ML Blogs

Once we have strong content, we can start promoting it by following our outreach process. So we will find bloggers who have written Digital Marketing related content and need related studies. We will find many opportunities so that we can maximize our chances of getting the different types of links that we want for our content.

Formulate your outreach email:

After finding the link prospects, the next step is to formulate an outreach email.

Here is the email outreach screenshot:

Outreach Email Template

The first part of the cold outreach email is essential as you can review the important elements like the subject line, opening line, and sign-off at this stage.

Find contact details of your prospects:

Contact details

We are using a tool called ‘FindThatLead’ for finding the email addresses of any web domain or LinkedIn profile. You can easily research for a lead, verify their email address and send them a direct message. In the below screenshot we are searching for the email address of Marketing Lad. We are getting their verified email address using Find That Lead tool.

Find that lead dashboard

Final Steps:

Our final step is to personalize the outreach email as per the individual prospect. Personalising your emails may include adding the prospect’s first name, address and company name, etc. It will indicate that you’ve done your research and when our outreach campaign is successful. We make sure to record all the minute details in Google  sheets as shown in the below screenshot:


This brings us to the end of a successful content promotion campaign!


Link exchanges can suppress your site in the SERPs if done excessively. It is better to adopt white-hat and ethical link-building approaches for building backlinks and thus increasing traffic to your website.

We have also given an overview of our outreach process. You can follow to get backlinks instead of involving in link exchanges.

Generally speaking, there is no good or bad in link exchanges.

Being in a link-building industry, we have seen big brands do link exchanges and brands that use other strategies for building links. Just keep in mind, that you can simply build great authority and traffic to your site if done right. 

We as an agency keep this tactic under grey hat SEO. There are agencies that use this type of tactic and to be honest they have been never penalised by Search Engines. We say this because of our experience working with agencies.

We are not promoting link exchange tactics because on the other hand Google clearly is not happy with link exchanges. Google prefers a natural and earned link. If you are thinking we have not seen a single site that was penalised.

How about there is always the first time and if you do it you get a penalty.

Since Google is a machine, you can take benefit of that and do exchanges until you are not doing it publicly and reciprocal links are very common.

When Should You Do Exchanges

You can do link exchanges if you have multiple sites that way it could be tricky for search engines to figure out the exchanges. To be honest, you can do exchanges to some extent overdoing is always wrong and could lead you to penalties. Always go with relevancy and not just with sites that are completely outside of your niche.

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