Link exchange? How about better SEO?

I won't lecture you on link exchanges and search engine optimization. Instead, I'll tell you one way to fish for more work (and possibly end the link exchange requests).

I received this email the other day:

Dear Webmaster,

We sell health products at [a vitamin site] and are interested in exchanging links with your website.

Regards,

[person's name]

This email is NOT sp/\m. It only ever gets sent to each website once. If this is not the case please let me know.

Rather than deleting it, I decided to write back.

Hi [Name],

The new social web is adamantly against link exchanges, so much so that search engines like Google and Bing recognize link swaps that don't appear to make sense (e.g., I don't write about vitamins, supplements, or even health with the rare exception, so why would we link to each other?) – and worse, they penalize sites for such exchanges, sometimes even de-listing them entirely.

I am available to help better optimize your site for search engines and improve the usability on your site, if you are in need of such services. Please see this page for a description of what I do and a current portfolio.

Best,
Josh

I'll let you know if they take me up on the offer. Cuz that'd actually be pretty cool.

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