SEO Myth Smackdown: Link Trading

Ian Lurie

I get a lot of e-mails like this one:

I am the webmaster at and I think our sites are a great match. Would you like to trade links with me?

The answer is no.

As a search engine optimization device, link trading is worthless. So are so-called ‘link triangles’, where you link to someone who links to someone else who then links to you.

At best, Google and other search engines will ignore you. At worst, they’ll ban you for trying to trick them.

Trust me. Link. Trades. Don’t. Work.

On the bright side, you can stop putting time into that ‘resources’ page on your site…

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Hi Anghus. I over-generalized here. Link trades with sites that have nothing to do with yours don’t work. And the search engines really downgrade any link-for-link trades. But relevant links from relevant sites can help, even if you are trading a bit.
    Check out Matt Cutts’ blog if you don’t believe me:

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