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Are You Trading Links to Build Page Rank? You May Be Missing The Boat!
Many of the so called search engine optimization experts strongly suggest only trading links with other sites that have a high page rank. While this itself is probably a great suggestion if you are only focusing on building your sites page rank.
But what about traffic?
Let's be realistic here for a minute. Where do you expect your site to show up in the search engines? The number one spot? Top ten? First page of the results? Your chances of winning the lottery are probably better, especially for highly competitive keywords.
Just to take a look at what you are up against, I did a few quick searches for some popular keywords.
home business - about 2,930,000,000
home based business - about 618,000,000
make money - about 269,000,000
ebay - about 798,000,000
work from home - about 2,090,000,000
As you can see, you are up against a lot of other webmasters who have the same desire as you... achieving top search engine results for their keywords. This is some very stiff competition to say the very least. Many of the search engine optimization experts own or manage hundreds and even thousands of websites in their networks which they can use to easily manipulate a new websites page rank by pointing links at it as well as a number of other methods which many of us just do not have the resources available to compete with them.
Now, what happens if and when you do hit the Google Lottery and land that top spot on the search engines? I'll tell you and I speak from experience. Your page is now under severe scrutiny. Unethical webmasters are directly copying your page and resubmitting as their own. Ethical webmasters are using a variety of tools to completely pick apart and analyze your page to see what they can do to take your spot. And the cycle continues.
While the top page results on the search engines can definitely send some traffic your way, what kind of traffic would you receive if you turned the focus of your efforts away from trading links with only search engine optimization in mind and instead concentrated on getting as much exposure for your site as possible? You could easily start seeing the traffic to your site from these link exchanges outperform anything you could realistically expect to achieve from mediocre search engine placement.
Another overlooked aspect of this strategy is that while you are exchanging links with as many other sites as possible now and even though many of these sites will have low page rank now, what about six months from now or even one or two years from now. You can expect that many of these other sites will have their page rank increased over time and now those pr1 and pr2 sites you started out linking to could now be pr3, pr4 and pr5 and lucky you, you have hundreds or thousands of these linked to you. And the best part of it all is, it is a permanent and low maintainance traffic source. You are not in a cycle of competition as you are in the search engines trying to not only get a top spot but to keep that top spot once you've gotten it.
Maybe you are not ready to completely give up on your search engine efforts but can see the possibilities in what I've described above. What should you do? Why not just give it a try and compare the results? Domain names are cheap, set up a second site and only use the method above and then compare your traffic logs for the two sites and see which one is providing more traffic and sales.
When looking for sites to exchange links with, obviously you would want to start with sites that compliment your sites services or products. As an example, if you sold ladies hats then you might want to start looking for trades with sites that sold ladies purses, shoes or belts. While that is a good place to start, do not overlook the fact that any link from any site is a possible sale for you. Just because someone is at a site looking at tractors or pet supplies doesn't mean that they may not be interested in your product or service so don't hesitate to initiate trades with sites of all types.
The final part of this is ... follow through. One thing I have noticed in my ten plus years in internet marketing is that everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move and this is especially true in link exchanges. You offer to trade links with someone and they reply with a link and tell you to add your link first. Make the first move! You will get much further asking rather than waiting to be asked.
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