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Taking Advantage of Backlink Swaps to Promote Accountant Websites

If you ever hear the expression Backlinks (the mapping into a website) it's most likely in regards to their importance to SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Backlinks are a fundamental metric taken advantage of by search engines like Google. Search Engines regard backlinks to be a measure of a site's comparative relevance and bank heavily on them when deciding the placement of best accountant websites in search engine results.

When you get a website posted you will likely see a significant increase in requests from other businesses, many of whom you never even heard of before, looking to exchange links with you.

Back in the old days we used to use a technique called "link swapping".

For example, suppose I was an accountant in White Plains, New York and I wanted to find backlinks. Logically I would try to find relevant businesses to link to, for example other businesses in White Plains and other accounting firms from out of town. If you had an accounting firm in Albany, for instance, I would have contacted you and offered to swap links with you. I put a link to your website on my links page, you put one on yours pointing back. We both get a boost in the search engines.

Unfortunately this doesn't work any more, but there are ways to get around this restriction by using blogs. For this to work the blogs need to have "unique URLs". This means the blog can't be hosted on the same domain as the website it's promoting. With most free blog sites like Google Blogger, Tumblr, and Live Journal this is the case by default. The trick is to ling to each others websites from our blogs thus making the links less reciprocal. If you don't have a blog, or if your blog is on your main website and doesn't have a unique URL you'll need another web property to exchange links.

It may seem like a win-win situation where you both receive SEO benefits, but there are several factors your must consider before accepting.

1) Don't fall in with a shady crowd.

Always look over the company's site and do some research on them before you agree to anything. Keep in mind that people are going to see and even follow these links so it's important to make sure you're not linking to "bad neighbors".

A link from your website is no different from an endorsement. Your reputation is tied to your link partners. People will hold you responsible for this endorsement. If you're linking with spammers and scammers the damage to your reputation won't justify any SEO benefit your accountant websites might enjoy. If you have any doubts as to the legitimacy of their company, or if your read multiple negative reviews about them or their site, it's best to pass them by.

2) Not all links are created equal.

There are lots of factors that the search engines look at when determining the value of your backlinks. Backlinks from sites that are relevant to your market will be given much more weight than sites that are loosely if at all related. Links from other types of firms still have value, especially if they're in your market, but they won't look very relevant to you.

Some companies have very specific instructions on where they want you to put the link and how it should be set-up. Often times they will request it be on your home page or another popular page (or every page). This is because these pages are worth more than the other pages on the site in terms of SEO benefit. But where do your links show up?

Many of these sites are scammers. Try to find the page where they'll be putting your links. More often than not, you will see a page buried deep in their site, hidden behind many vague page and link titles. This is a completely lopsided trade. They're getting a high quality link from a respected accountant and you're getting an obscure link from a spam site that doesn't offer you any real SEO or traffic value. Make sure you are getting a fair deal before accepting.

3) Biting the hand that feeds you.

The system Google uses to keep track of link popularity is called "PageRank", and they're very proud of it. It was invented by Larry Paige, one of Google's founders, back in his Stanford days and it's been getting tweaked and improved many times a year ever since. They are sincerely trying to provide the best possible search results to their users, and they work very hard and spend a lot of money to achieve this goal. They DON'T like it when people try to game the system. When groups of websites get together and form what Google calls "link farms" they reserve the right to penalize websites, or even de-index them altogether. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does the results to a business can be catastrophic.

I'm not saying all offers to exchange links are bad. I'm simply advising caution. Promoting accountant websites is hard, and you should take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. But you also need to keep a clear head and think critically prior to committing your firm's reputation to a link partner. Link swaps may seem to be an easy shortcut to success in the search engines, but every shortcut has a potential to get you lost somewhere you'd have preferred not to go.

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