Why exchange links?
High link popularity improves your search engine positioning!
Google is the world's most popular search engine. Being in Google today is like being in Yahoo in 1996 or '97. If you are not listed in Google, you do not exist!
Google ranks pages not only based on their content, but also according to their link popularity!
Google's database contains billions of documents. Estimates suggest Google reviews anywhere from 8 to 10 billion documents to create their index. Danny Sullivan from SearchEngineWatch.com refers to the pages that are not included in a search engine index as the "invisible web".
How do you go from being a part of the "invisible web" to the part readily found by people searching at Google and other popular search destinations? The best way to show up in Google is to find as many theme-related websites as possible to provide a link back to your website, and exchange links with these sites! Many people know that PageRank, Google's proprietary method for ranking a page, looks at links to help determine a page's relevancy.
Google uses PageRank as one factor in determining if a site is relevant to a search request. A more important factor to them than PageRank is the content of a given page and the content on the pages that link to it. You could establish one million links to your website, but if they have no relevancy or content related to a search request, they don't mean anything to Google. This is also true for the other crawler based search engines Yahoo!, MSN Search and Inktomi as they all face the same challenge.
Many people might argue "Who is Google to determine relevancy? The products and services I offer are the best in my market space! I should show up Number #1 for a search without question." That may be true in the offline world, but online does your website accurately reflect and describe your products and market space enough to establish your perceived leadership?
Google and Inktomi have created search engines known for delivering quality results: successfully matching a person with a website they are looking for. These engines strive for relevancy. This means that a website must prove that it is a good match to a search query. Link exchange helps a lot to do that!
Another important factor that search engines use to determine how relevant a page is to a search request, is the text of the links pointing to that page - this is called the anchor text of the links. It's important that the anchor text of many of your site's incoming links contains the keywords that you want to rank well for in the seaqrch engines. By exchanging links with other sites, you can request that these sites link to yours using anchor text you choose!
There seems to be a great misunderstanding that products and services alone build a successful web business. The web was created as a way to share information. Search engines were a by-product of that movement as Internet users looked for ways to find the information they believed was out there.
Because we have not created a governing method of identifying data online, search engines can only hope to find highly relevant documents containing text similar to the keyword terms people are searching for. To do this, they have to review the content of a website and evaluate the people who are linking to it. Link exchange with relevant websites improves search quality!
Looking at part of the equation, if a website only gives an end user product numbers, images, five word descriptions, and a shopping cart, that website is less relevant than a website that accurately describes the products it carries, provides useful images of those products, and publishes editorials and consumer resources valuable to that market.
You have to contribute relevant content to your market space if you want to be found and reflected in search engines. Themed link exchange is a great way to do this!
The more valuable content you create and share about your online business, the more credibility you are establishing. This also usually means that others will start to find your website and do link exchange with you, because of the value your website provides. This hopefully helps to contribute to increasing the quality of your content and your relevance in the major search engines.
Showing up in Google should be much easier if you continually focus on your website's content, and exchange links. Be creative and show the same leadership online that you do offline. Contribute to your market and your market will give back to you.
In an age where the Web is quickly becoming a part of all businesses, remember why the Web was created - to share information with everyone who's connected. Link exchange means to share information!.