Can you tell me if you think Link Exchanges have any marketing or SEO benefit? Or does free Link Exchange risk being swatted by Google for Link manipulation?

I've received a few invitations to exchange links with websites with higher rank than me, but have turned them down because it feels like link manipulation to me. Am I wrong? What is Google's view on this practice?

When I go to these sites to check them out, they often have long lists of 'Websites We Like' (or similar title) in their sidebars.

How can doing this possibly benefit anything or anyone? Or am I missing out on some extra exposure and potential traffic?

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LastMitch

I've received a few invitations to exchange links with websites with higher rank than me, but have turned them down because it feels like link manipulation to me.

Why do you feel manipulate? Exchanging links is about trust and long term partnership.

There must be something that happend that make you say that.

I don't think I ever heard a someone manipulate another person to do something.

Sorry, I didn't mean manipulating the other site, I meant trying to game the Google system to try to increase Page Rank - which is something Google penalizes.