That's what I did. I know, it sounds like a crazy idea, but bear with me. There's method to my madness.

One of the big problems with link trades is that your link usually gets stuffed into what I call a "caveman" links page -- a page stuffed to overflowing with totally unrelated links.

Since the links page is hidden far from human eyes (and who'd give it a second look anyway?), it doesn't get you ANY organic traffic. And the SEO value is also dubious (the search engines aren't dumb -- they can recognize links pages).

Obviously, we all want OUR links to appear on the other guy's content page -- a link coming from a relevant content page is worth FAR more than a link hidden on a caveman links page. But are we willing to link out from our own content pages?

I can hear the screams of horror now: "Heck no! We're not gonna bleed away our precious PageRank and risk losing visitors to someone else's site from our precious CONTENT pages!"

I disagree completely. Here's why.

First of all, you can easily solve the problem of leaking visitors by making the outbound links open in a new window -- just add target="_blank" to the link tags. When the visitor closes the site you sent them to, your site will still be there, reminding them who just showed them how to find all that interesting content.

I've written about the PageRank question on one of my other blogs. Executive summary: stop freaking out about "bleeding" PageRank already. This isn't 1998.

Did you know that OUTBOUND links can actually IMPROVE your search engine rankings?

I haven't experimented with this myself, so I'm trusting the word of other experts, but it makes perfect sense: if your site is helping visitors find good information on a topic (eg. by linking to it), that makes your site more valuable to users. Search engines want to rank sites that provide value to users high, so why WOULDN'T they reward you for linking to related content?

Not convinced? Let me remind you about the "Google Slap" -- one factor that contributes to a low quality score for an AdWords landing page is a LACK of outbound links. Google's telling you that if you're not linking out, they don't think people want to visit your site.

So that's why I've turned every single post page on 4 of my blogs into a link exchange page. For more info, scroll back up and you'll see a very obvious "Let's Trade Links" section on the side of the page.

Still think I've gone bananas? Use the form below to tell me about it.