How to Spot a Link Exchange Email Spammer

Article submitted by Erik M. Cunningham - March 2, 2006

Link exchange email spammers are relatively easy to spot if you know what to look for. I don't want to discourage you in any way from accepting legitimate offers for link exchanges. Exchanging text links with other sites can be of great benefit to you, your link partners and your site visitors.

The goal of this link building article is to help you exercise due diligence and research potential link exchange candidates to protect your site from developing a bad reputation by association. You can find clues that expose potential link exchange email spammers within the email itself, and also at the website requesting the link exchange.

Emailmentory My Dear Watson

You can dismiss many prospective link partners almost immediately with some simple detective work. Any of the following clues in the requesting email should raise red flags in your mind.

  1. The email is addressed to a non-existent email account.

    Many companies configure their incoming email servers to forward any email addressed to their domain name to a particular account regardless of the prefix. If you receive an email that is addressed to a generic or unfamiliar email address like "", throw up a red flag.

  2. The subject line does not match the body of the requesting email.

    If the email's subject line refers to your account billing and the body of the email requests a link exchange, you've probably found a spammer.

  3. The email request contains no reference to your domain name or any other information specific to your website.

    Spammers love to do things in bulk. Email requests without any references to the content of your site or your domain name may indicate that you're the recipient of one of thousands of link exchange email requests sent by a spammer.

  4. The email request contains frequent misspellings. Did we spell that right?

    The occurrence of misspellings isn't the most obvious indicator of whether or not a request was sent by an email spammer but if it accompanies one or more of the other clues above, it's a good bet.

Identify Spammers on "Site"

Bad puns aside, the website requesting a link exchange will likely contain all of the information you need to determine if you've encountered a link exchange email spammer. Below are a few more indicators that will help you decide whether you should take the request seriously or just ignore it.

  1. The content of the requesting site has nothing to do with yours.

    Most legitimate search engine marketers know that search engines pay little attention to links between sites with unrelated content. If your site sells furniture and the requesting site sells weight loss products, odds are that the link exchange request you received was one of thousands sent out indiscriminately.

  2. The requesting site is full of nonsensical text and loaded with keywords with no valid description of products, services or an informational message.

    If you run across a site with text like, "We love widgets. Widgets are great and everyone should have one. The widget is the best invention ever", you've likely found a search engine spammer.

  3. The requesting site is littered with hundreds of text links with similar titles and keywords.

    This link exchange spamming technique is relatively easy to spot. If you come across a website with a column of 50 or so links with very similar keywords that link to other pages with (what else?) more links with similar keywords, you've caught yourself a spammer.


I hope these examples of how to spot a link exchange email spammer will help you avoid linking to a site that could damage your website's standings with search engines and your site visitors. I would like to reiterate that exchanging text links with other legitimate websites is a good thing. You just need to know how to separate the bad apples from the good.