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For a few weeks I have been approached by start-ups to do some article exchange for back links. My first thought is that it is interesting as backlinks are important for SEO.

However, here’s the problem: Looking on their websites, each article is a collaboration with other websites which are more or less related to their activity and, very often, not to mine.

Is it a safe strategy to get backlinks from a website which does it with a very wide number of websites totally different from our topic?

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I expect this will generate some diverse opinion here, but as you ask "is it safe", the answer is no.

It is my experience that Google appears to look for context between sites/pages, and if they are not related links can damage your SEO. (My annecdote is that I purchased a web design and hosting company that had a "designed by Company" link at the footer at each of the customers pages. This, combined with a target site that was light on details made the site pretty much unrankable.)

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    Having few opinions and experiences is the my objective indeed. Thanks for sharing yours! Jan 5 at 8:54
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    I don't think there will be diverse opinions here. It sounds risky to me. Any exchanges fall under Google's link schemes guidance. Google penalized sites for guest blogging a few years ago. Jan 5 at 11:14
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It would be best if you share with related niche sites because you will get the relevant traffic and in some cases it will also increase organic keywords.

Also, when you are generating the backlinks do consider Spam Score of the opponent site.

Note: It works perfect when you share your articles with related websites.

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Absolutely not safe.

Between my LinkedIn and my site's contact form I get probably 300 messages a month from companies pushing 60+ Domain Authority backlinks in the form of guest posts/blogs/articles.

Stay far away from it. Links from these sites will only hurt your domain.

Your backlink profile is one of the primary places that search engines look to understand what your site is about, and to assess your authoritativeness.

For example, if your site is about Fly Fishing, a link from TechRadar is not going to help you much.

Google is also very experienced in understanding link schemes - they can tell what's natural and what is not. If Google believes that certain links in your backlink profile are artificial, they will either devalue them or simply ignore them.

When I say devalue I'm talking about the amount of PageRank they pass to your site.

A visual representation of PageRank

A simplified example of how PageRank algorithm works


The risk isn't worth it

Often times these things are scams too. I've heard countless stories from colleagues of mine where the site's published the blog post with their link, they inspect the page, and it's got a <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> on the page.

That's no good!

What constitutes a "good" backlink profile?

A "good" backlink profile is a natural one. When it looks too good to be true, it usually isn't.

A good indication is the ratio of follow/nofollow links. Typically, if a has 50 total backlinks, naturally, I'd expect 40-60% to probably nofollow.

I don't know the author nor have I read it in full yet but at a first scan this article looks like a good resource.

Hopefully this helps you understand the why a bit more.

That's not to say you shouldn't try to build links

There's a new term going around the industry "Digital PR". This article is all you'll need to understand it:

Google's John Mueller Praises Digital PR

TLDR: website creates legit quality content, then conducts PR to generate publicity

^ Most of us just call that good link building but now it has its own name.

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