Do Traffic Exchanges Work? No: Here's the Reason Why
Traffic exchanges are tools which can be used to increase visits to your websites. Technically these visits are really generated, however, are those services a good way to gain new interest in your website? Do traffic exchanges really work? To answer this question, we should start to analyze how does a traffic exchange service work.
I Visit Your Website, You Visit Mine
Traffic exchange services work through a virtual currency. When you visit other websites, you are earning credits. Instead, when someone visits yours, you are spending them: this virtual money transfer makes it possible for a traffic exchange to work. Every user can boost traffic to their website by simply helping other ones to achieve the same thing. And here is the first problem: hits to your website come from users interested in earning credits, not in your website itself (unless they stop and pay attention to your web page and find it interesting, but the typical traffic exchange user just skips sites as fast as possible in order to earn credits, without looking at them).
Have you ever used a traffic exchange network?
Autosurfs vs Manual Surfs
The problem becomes harder if we consider a specific type of traffic exchange websites: autosurfs. These are basically services in which you have to open a frame, and then leave it opened. The frame will automatically load websites on a specific time basis, while you are doing other things. In this case, the hits you get from users are completely automatic, and so they are fake. Also, while you have an autosurf opened, it may happen some websites automatically load popups and other things that could block your computer, or even stop the autosurf's flow (these websites are generally banned from traffic exchange services when discovered). With manual surfs users are obliged to look at the website, even if also, in this case, they are not visiting it because of a true interest, but only in order to earn credits. Do traffic exchanges work? They don't work as manual services, try to guess how they could drive genuine visits to your website as autosurfing services!
Manual, Requires User Input
Engagement With Website
Nearly Zero (an automatic system visits your page)
A Little Disinterested Engagement (the user visits your website only in order to earn credits)
Some websites may block your autosurf, causing you a waste of time
Your input constantly confirms your visits to other websites, so you always earn credits
Another problem involved with traffic exchange services is that they provide you with visits to only one page of your website. Every user will still load the same page, without doing any other operation on your website. This will affect the Bounce Rate's Google Analytics value badly, and it may lead you to get a lower ranking in Google SERPs. You can solve the problem by removing Google Analytics on your websites, but I think it would be much better to stop using traffic exchanges. Do traffic exchanges work? If your target is to get your website on the last page of Google search results the answer is yes: they work great!
In many traffic exchanges, you will be able to find more promotional pages than interesting websites. Actually, most of them come from referral pages posted by users of other services in order to earn some money or credits in other networks. You will find a lot of pay-to-click tools, forex investment related websites, other traffic exchange networks and many pages showing you "how to become rich in a week." All of them keep maintaining traffic exchanges' quality low, as they are over-filled with spammy websites or referral pages from other users.
Getting Banned by AdSense and Penalized on Google SERPs
AdSense clearly forbids users to put ads in websites promoted on traffic exchange websites, and violating this rule may result in you getting banned from the ad network. Maybe also other ad networks have the same rule. Finally, you also risk getting penalized on organic search results, as artificial ways to increase website's hits are seen as a black hat SEO behaviour.
I do not recommend traffic exchange services to promote your website, as they will provide you with artificial hits and no real benefits (you can even risk your AdSense account and your Google ranking). If you want to get more genuine traffic to your website, without relying on artificial hits, you have to constantly update it, focus on quality, SEO and to put every effort in making it an excellent product.
© 2016 Alessio Ganci