SEO

Review: LinksManager Links Exchange Toolbar

No doubt regular readers of this site understand the high-value of link building. There are of course many ways to build links. Here are just a few:

  1. Linkbait
  2. Solid resource content
  3. Social media promo, coupled with #1 and #2.
  4. Comments
  5. Forums
  6. Buying them
  7. Link exchange

Let’s look at the last item. For a long time, webmasters simply emailed other webmasters asking for a link. Maybe it’s a blogger thing, or we’re more vocal about it, but a lot of bloggers openly say how they don’t like receiving email from unknown parties asking for an exchange of links. That’s totally understandable.

Services like Text Link Ads and Text Link Brokers have been happily used by many SEOs. However, with the LolCutts snitch patrol potentially lurking about, there has been a bit of hesitation amongst some bloggers.

Enter LinksManager and their Link Exchange Toolbar and exchange service. They act as a link broker. It works something like this:

  1. Download and install their toolbar for Win XP (no Vista yet) for Internet Explorer or Firefox. (The Firefox download will apparently work on Firefox for Mac OS X.) Note: they claim there’s no software to download for their regular service, but obviously if you want to use their toolbar, you have to.
  2. Set up your account at their website.
  3. Browse sites you like and put in a request through the toolbar for a link.
  4. Manage requests for links from your account.
  5. Approve or delete requests to you.
  6. Publish requests to your static HTML “links page”.

LinksManager is not a free, ad-supported service. After the 30-day free trial, you have to pay $19.95 per month. That’s not to say there’s no value and that there isn’t a market. If links obtained using direct contacts found via the LinksManager toolbar cost about $10 in other markets, then the service would more or less pay for itself after you obtain 2 links per month.

Some Pros

Here are some of the pros of LinksManager and their toolbar:

  1. LinksManager acts as a broker for link exchanging.
  2. You can log into your account and check for pending link requests. Approve or delete them as desired.
  3. Increases chances of networking between webmasters/ bloggers that participate.
  4. Keeps annoying requests to a minimum, filtering exchange requests only to those that want to participate.
  5. No more “cold calling” for link seekers.
  6. Automatically adds links to your static “link pages”.
  7. Their Linklet code not only works for dynamically-generated pages (instead of static links pages), but it can be used to set up an ad banner management system.

Some Cons

Of course, there are some perceived drawbacks:

  1. It’s not free. Ad-supported might have been a better way to go. You do, however, get one month free service for every person you refer.
  2. The default set up adds links to a static HTML page. To use the service on dynamically-generated sites, you have to use their Linklet code. That means a bit of technical work that might turn off less technically-savvy bloggers. A nice plugin for various blogging platforms would surely be preferred.
  3. If you want approved link requests in your in-queue to be published, Links Manager has to store your FTP user info. Not everyone would be comfortable with this.

Conclusion

As I mentioned above, there’s definitely a market for a service like this, but it’s hard for me to say whether serious SEOs would use it or not. They might. It’s certainly cheaper than buying lots of links, but it eliminates that sub-economy and means people who earn from selling links likely won’t participate anytime soon. Despite how GoogleCutts feels, LinksManager says that their service is “ethical by design.”

Disclaimer: This is a paid review. Every effort has been made to provide constructive comments.

Comments are closed.

18 thoughts on “Review: LinksManager Links Exchange Toolbar

  1. If all it does is do reciprocal links, then why bother? You can set up a directory script to handle reciprocals for less, and it works for the lifetime of you license.

  2. There are other free server-side link exchange programs with similar features (automation, centralized management, centralized request & approve process based on various attributes such as similar pageranks).

    Instead of charging a fee, you just give up a link to the site that they use for ad placement.

    The main problem with link exchange (vs. the other methods you’ve listed) is that it is quid-pro-quo. You can only use up so many outbound links in exchange for usually a 1-to-1 return. Sure, you can get similar pagerank sites, but are you going to link to more than, say 20 other sites? That’s only 20 inbound links.

    Hopefully over time the PR of the sites that link to you increase and you can get better backlinks from other sites… but your time is better spent on the other methods which can generate a much higher volume of links (with varying degree of relevance and quality depending on your methods).

  3. hey Raj,

    Great review.. I use linksmanager and the toolbar and just wanted to clarify one comment you made:

    “So for a service like LinksManager, initial growth will depend on how many people are already using it. (I didn’t see any information about that.) ”

    this is not the case.. I use the linksmanager toolbar to request link exchanges with any site.. the target site does not have to be a LM user. it works with any site on the web. its a huge time saver for us (we manage about 34 link building campaigns for our clients).

  4. Mike, thanks for the clarification. Apologies for the error. I found that part unclear.

    So unfortunately, the service will not stop the flow of annoying link exchange requests for those who don’t like them.

  5. There is a major drawback here that is being overlooked, quality link backs! There have been automated processes available for SEO experts for years, this is nothing new. And as you all know not all of your link backs count, even if they are industry related quality PR pages you still may get credit for all your links. Do a quick comparison using Google Webmaster Tools vs. your links page(s) and you will see a huge disparity in the numbers.

    Google gives you credit for clean quality links that, more often than not, are industry related. Setting up an automatic script for your web site will not garner you the type of links you really need to help you climb the Sisyphysian ladder that are the SERPs.

    Yes link exchange is boring, and yes it takes a long time, but there simply are no shortcuts to a quality link exchange program.

  6. linksmanager has a blacklist module and other editorial controls in place to limit junk link requests. linksmanager is a data management tool not a full duplex link exchange service. I dont think you were very fair to these guys who go out of their way to provide a brilliant time saving service.

  7. lolcutts – ha ha tat was funny. This tool looks fine, but the fact tat it is not free really acts against it big time.

  8. Hi there,

    This is an excellent post on how to build links. Have you heard of http://www.TrafficMarks.com?

    It is a brand new tool we just launched for free that will help you to instantly surface the top authority sites (Traffic Marks) in your niche.

    It is probably the fastest most effective way to build up your links. Would love to hear your thoughts on the tool. Mike

  9. Just thought I would post my review of the AutoLinkExchanger program. In the first place, it’s a difficult program to install. I actually had to change hosting services just to get it to work (GoDaddy won’t work…their support couldn’t get it to work at all so I switched to JiffyNet and got it installed). But, the CRON jobs would constantly hang their Dual CPUs so they canceled the jobs and prevented them from running (rightfully so). The programs creator (Nick) couldn’t fix the problem and, believe me, it was difficult relaying what the issue was since he doesn’t speak good english. It took 3 to 4 emails each time just to get him to understand what the problem was (thats if he responded at all). Very poor to no support. He said he would refund the purchase cost, but then refused to do so. BUYER BEWARE! Do not buy AutoLinkExchanger or work with him in any way!! I ended up paying for LinkMachine and it’s working great. Don’t waste your money on AutoLinkExchanger!!!! John

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  11. I have a new website and I wish to create quality backlinks but I afraid that Google may consider creating backlinks through any online tool (like LinksManager) as unnatural or inorganic.

    Can someone please help me to clear my doubt.

    Thanks in advance.
    Regards