About Link Exchange and what do Link schemes mean for Google?

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If you are a webmaster or have a blog, you know that it is almost impossible to get natural links from other quality sites.

Only very large sites and online stores get such links and especially are shared on social networks or forums. It’s hard to get natural links in organic blog posts.

This is why some webmasters use link exchange, which can be done in several ways: direct link exchange, A-B-C, or A-B-C-D link exchange.

What does link exchange mean?

Link exchange means in short if you have more sites, that you put a link in an article to my site and I in turn put a link from another site of mine to your site.


The most important part about link exchange is that the sites are not connected to each other in any way and this is where all sorts of solutions came from, including PBNs.

The link exchange practice has been abused for many years, I could say successfully until 2014-2015. I don’t know how much it is used in 2022, certainly much less and those who use it probably will not share.

Do you use link exchange to get links?

I’m really curious about this so I created a poll about this, please answer.

Do you use link exchange to get links?

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About the technique of getting links using expired domains

In recent years, 2016-2022 I’ve seen a lot of webmasters which try to get links using expired domains, meaning you buy an expired domain, with authority that still has links to it and rebuilds it.

This way you get some low-cost links. I will go into more detail about this technique in another article.

I will not go into detail in this article about link exchange, but it is important to know what Link schemes mean for Google.

About Google Link schemes

Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Some of the most important manipulations penalized by Google are:

  • Exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links
  • Sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites.
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature.

These are just a few of Google’s penalized schemes, but you can see them all here Google Link schemes Guidelines.

Another thing that caught my eyes is the excessive word in the sentence: Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”).

In my experience, if you have a limited number of exchange links you are safe.

The problem arises when you have dozens of links through a link exchange and then you risk a penalty.

How do we proceed when we want to add external links to our posts?

Google recommends indicating that the link is sponsored by adding a qualifying attribute to the <a> tag.

For regular links

For regular links that you expect Google to follow without any qualifications, you don’t need to add a rel attribute.

Read more here about Qualify your outbound links to Google.

For advertisements, affiliate links

Mark links that are advertisements or paid links with the sponsored value rel=”sponsored”.

<a rel="sponsored" href="...">...</a>

For user-generated content (UGC) links

For user-generated content (UGC) links, such as comments and forum posts, add the ugc value (rel=”ugc”) to the link.

<a rel="ugc" href="...">...</a>

For other values that don’t apply

For other values that don’t apply, as before add the nofollow value (rel=”nofollow”) to the link.

<a rel="nofollow" href="...">...</a>

Multiple rel values to links

You may specify multiple rel values as a space or comma-separated list.

<a rel="ugc, nofollow" href="...">...</a>

Links marked with these rel attributes will generally not be followed.

In the end, Google’s recommendation is to create good content so you get natural links.

Links are usually votes given by choice, and the more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it.

Hello there!

I hope you find this post useful!

I'm Mihai, a programmer and online marketing specialist, very passionate about everything that means online marketing, focused on eCommerce.

If you have a collaboration proposal or need helps with your projects feel free to contact me. I will always be glad to help you!

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