Link exchanges with websites is an old SEO technique. Before you consider any external search optimisation, first look at fixing your internal SEO.
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Suggest link? Not the best SEO!

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The old days of link exchange and "suggest link" pages are long gone, but the number of requests for link exchanges we receive every day just goes to show that people are STILL pushing this outdated method of search engine optimisation (SEO).

Only this morning we received a request for a link exchange from a dentist, a florist, and a real estate agent - and that's just from Australia!

In algorithm changes over time, Google has gradually devalued link farms, "bad neighbourhoods", and article websites which allow pages of information to be shared across many other websites. Earlier this year those article websites, or factories, were hit quite hard. Unfortunately though, some quality websites were caught up in the devaluation process too.

For many years Google has been pushing the message of creating good, relevant content and copy for your pages, and to ensure you have a good site structure or build that allows the Googlebot (and people) to navigate through your website and discover the content you've created.

And, of course, these days social media is a big driver of traffic. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and a plethora of other sites all help to spread your message.

Now, with all that said, there are ways to create an external link network that is smart, complies with Google's guidelines, and enriches your Google reputation - but its not easy. There are NO shortcuts in good SEO, just like there are no SEO guarantees - or at least no guarantee of landing a particular ranking position in Google.

The method I speak of is to write articles, blog posts, or other content for websites other than your own. These should be one-off pages, and not shared across a network of low quality websites.

There are many online services which can help put you in touch with websites which are looking for posts, such as

So, if you are currently running some off-the-shelf program which encourages you to do "link exchanges", my advice to you is to hire a reputable search engine optimiser to perform a website audit and point out inherent problems preventing you from ranking higher. Ceratainly add your business information to sites like True Local, Hot Frog etc., as well as ensuring you have a Google Places for Business listing for each of your physical locations.

However, a few things that should be a priority before external SEO are:

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