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What is the current thinking regarding having a links page on your website?

I understand so many outgoing links on a page with little other content will be hellish for that page's page rank, but what about the site in general?

I am constantly getting asking to take part in link exchanges and recently adopted a policy of just saying no, should I rethink this?

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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Link exchanges really don't do a whole lot of good.

  • People rarely follow the links on these pages so they don't deliver any real traffic

  • Yes, they are a PR drain of sorts but it's really not that bad as long as you aren't linking to your links page from many of your own pages or home page. For example, if you have a link to your links page in the footer of your website then the odds are it will have a decent PR. By having a lot of external links on that page you have less to send you your own pages which obviously is less then ideal. Even then, PageRank isn't a big deal anymore so I wouldn't be overly concerned with it.

  • Your biggest risk is trading links with a site that is considered to be in a "bad neighborhood". Simply by linking to them you may be considered part of that neighborhood and your rankings may suffer because of it.

I would say don't do it simply because there isn't much to gain and potentially much to lose. Just link t other websites when it is appropriate. If you have quality content on your site then you'll get plenty of links to your pages anyway without having to resort to link exchanges.

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That pretty much firms up my thoughts on the matter, thanks. –  Toby Jul 26 '11 at 20:18
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Just found this -> http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66356

However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact your site's ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

  • Links intended to manipulate PageRank
  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.")
  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank
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