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Never Do Reciprocal Linking!


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27 replies to this topic

#16 sightkid

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 02:31 AM

there isnt a correct answer for that at all. So far as i knwn i'd say limit it. Dont over do it. bcoz i've seen some say "dont to that" some say "do that" so being in between is always the safest.

#17 bobmeetin

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:13 AM

Sometimes I read, reread, overthink, underthink then I realize that there is some lack of unerstanding, perhaps definitions.

The prominent question: is reciprocal linking bad or good or indifferent?

The missing ingredient, the definition, the true meaning of reciprocal linking, what is it? Some various cross-linking methods:

1) Parent/child businesses - the parent links to all children and the child links to the parent and maybe siblings - any link value?
2) Sister business types - I service cars for vehicles in county A and my pal Gus does the same in county B so we link/refer to each other - any link value or simply a nice gesture of good will?
3) I do web development and place pics/links to my clients' site on a page on mine and place a link to my business/service on their websites' footer - ditto?
4) NBC writes an article about my business and includes a link to my website; on my website I want to note the article and link to NBC so I place a link to the article - any value or discounted value because it has "become" an exchange?
4b) - OR - something similar happens by pure coincidence - oh my, do I get penalized for an accident?
5) Link farm - everyone forced to buy into the same link sharing experience - yuk.
6) 3/4/5 way link schemes designed to fool the search engines; A to B, B to C ... E to A ; these can also happen by accident, coincidence.

Do search look at things differently based upon context? If there is a link exchange/reference page where you list business that you recommend and vice-versa as opposed to articles, perhaps in a blog, like #4 above?

#18 chrishirst

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 06:13 PM

Like most of what you probably read about SEO, the prevailing wisdom on reciprocal linking is BS.

Sure, massively cross linking a network of sites is a bad idea. But linking to and from a few sites where it makes sense to, or is advantageous from a visitors point of view, is not going to be a "problem"

#19 draft34

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:55 AM

Its like the more I read this thread the more confused I get. Im trying to get much traffic and make money with my website. The reason I read these posts at the High Rankings forum is to learn how to increase my search engine rankings. That would also be the reason why I would pursue or not pursue reciprocal linking. Obtaining and keeping good content relevant reciprocal links is a pain. I understand its my right as a human being with a website to ask for reciprocal links that have nothing to do with my content. If its going to hurt my search engine rankings, or not increase them Im not going to bother. Im assuming, and probably incorrectly, the underlying theme to all questions at this forum is "if I do this will it get me a high search engine ranking". Call it what you will, if reciprocal, mutual, high quality, content related links increase my search engine rankings, then I'll spend the time composing complimentary email asking webmasters for links, wait weeks for a response, then wait more hoping my search engine ranking increases. Its much easier to post links from my website to other resources I feel are relevant to my content and not ask for links. If reciprocal linking doesnt help my rankings why would I bother??

From someone who doesnt know whether or not to pursue reciprocal linking to increase search engine rankings, after reading this thread I can honestly say I still dont know.

#20 SelfMade

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 07:05 AM

QUOTE(draft34 @ Jan 5 2010, 11:55 AM) View Post
From someone who doesnt know whether or not to pursue reciprocal linking to increase search engine rankings, after reading this thread I can honestly say I still dont know.


Chrishirst pretty much nails it above ^

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#21 Jill

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 08:53 AM

QUOTE
From someone who doesnt know whether or not to pursue reciprocal linking to increase search engine rankings, after reading this thread I can honestly say I still dont know.


That's because you're not seeing the bigger picture. That is--the why of whether or not a specific tactic will increase the visibility of your website.

You have to stop looking for formulas, and start thinking like a search engine. What do they want and why do they want it?

We can sit here and tell you yes, reciprocal links will help your rankings, or no reciprocal links won't help your rankings...and you know what, they both may be correct. It depends on the links you end up getting that point to your website.

But the bottom line is that if you don't start off with something worth linking to--something TRULY worth linking to--the the chances are the links you get (reciprocally or otherwise) will be of such poor quality that they won't help you much in terms of increasing the traffic to your site.

#22 Mhoram

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 03:44 PM

QUOTE(Jill @ Jan 5 2010, 07:53 AM) View Post
You have to stop looking for formulas, and start thinking like a search engine. What do they want and why do they want it?


Exactly. If I were writing a search engine, I would give some value to reciprocal links, but not as much value as I gave to one-way links (all other things being equal, of course). Plain old common sense tells me many of them don't mean anything. For instance, many bloggers, especially new ones, link back in their blogrolls to everyone who links to them---not because they recommend that site, but because they're hoping to keep that incoming link, or just saying thanks. So a reciprocal link might mean "I recommend this site," but it might also mean, "I have a small blogroll." My search engine certainly wouldn't give them zero value or a negative score, but they'd be discounted.

I have a client who was making a six-figure salary from AdSense in about 2005, on a single site that was little more than a large niche directory based on reciprocal links. There were about a dozen pages of actual content, and 1600+ pages of link directory, broken down by location and category. It was done by the rules: all sites were checked manually before the link was approved, to make sure the site fit the niche. But the site was still 99% pages with a couple reciprocal links with short descriptions, surrounded by lots of AdSense. All the pages (even ones with no links at all!) ranked well for their keywords at that time, so the ad revenue was rolling in.

Then in the spring of 2007, most of the pages fell out of site on Google and revenues dropped to below 1/4 of what they had been, in a matter of a few days. Since then, we've done all the right stuff: optimized the pages, added a bunch of content, including a blog, and so on. The one thing we couldn't scrap (without scrapping the whole site and starting over) was the reciprocal links, since they were the core of the site, but we overhauled everything else. The previous rankings and revenue have never returned. So I'm fairly convinced, from that experience as well as the common sense reasons I gave above, that an algorithm change reduced the value of reciprocal links, at least in cases where they make up the bulk of a site's incoming links. I can't prove it, of course, but it makes sense. Like I said, it's how my search engine would work.

That doesn't mean I'd refuse to trade links with a related site; not at all. That will always make sense on a limited basis. But I wouldn't build a site around that idea today, or look to a reciprocal link campaign as a way to improve my rankings.


#23 SelfMade

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 04:20 PM

QUOTE(Mhoram @ Jan 5 2010, 08:44 PM) View Post
Then in the spring of 2007, most of the pages fell out of site on Google and revenues dropped to below 1/4 of what they had been, in a matter of a few days. Since then, we've done all the right stuff: optimized the pages, added a bunch of content, including a blog, and so on. The one thing we couldn't scrap (without scrapping the whole site and starting over) was the reciprocal links, since they were the core of the site, but we overhauled everything else. The previous rankings and revenue have never returned. So I'm fairly convinced, from that experience as well as the common sense reasons I gave above, that an algorithm change reduced the value of reciprocal links, at least in cases where they make up the bulk of a site's incoming links. I can't prove it, of course, but it makes sense. Like I said, it's how my search engine would work.

That doesn't mean I'd refuse to trade links with a related site; not at all. That will always make sense on a limited basis. But I wouldn't build a site around that idea today, or look to a reciprocal link campaign as a way to improve my rankings.

Thats just about as solid proof as I have ever read...probably about as much sense I have ever read as well! notworthy.gif

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#24 Randy

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 06:01 PM

Solid proof? No. Anecdotal evidence of a possible cause? Maybe.

But what if I used the same set of known facts (a 1,600+ page site of which a less than 1% had actual content and the rest was dross that happened to include hundreds or thousands of links that were reciprocated, and add in the fact that Google could see exactly what was happening on a monetary basis because of the Adsense quotient) and I said if I wrote a search engine I would want it to key in on really solid content that would have high value to users, and conversely heavily penalize sites where it was obvious more than half the pages were complete and utter crap. And further assume that I was a mean SOB and didn't automatically or even easily remove penalties when I discovered someone had been making a bloody fortune on a spammy Made For Adsense site for months or years. Once discovered the site would be penalized, period end of story.

Same facts, different approaches. Same results.

Both are plausible. Mine however explains why sites that have a good number of recips don't get immediately penalized. Mine also explains why sites that don't consistently have solid content where recips are not heavily evident get dinged. Especially if they make it plainly evident by letting Google see all of the Adsense financial data.

Who can say which is correct? Only Google, and they're not gonna tell. Ever.

In practice I wouldn't call Mhoram's example a typical site. Sounds like it was over any tipping point both with recip links and with oodles of pages with little or no content value. For a more typical site whether to recip or not just isn't an issue. Because even if you do some of that to help get the word out, simply by getting the word out you're also going to start collecting one way links.

To me reciprocal linking or really linking in general has always been blindingly simple. If someone contacts me or I happen to run across a site and it's a good fit, I'm all for it. If not, I'm not. And by a good fit I simply mean that our sites are going to naturally attract the same types of people who make up my Perfect Customer profile.

If you actually made it through that incredibly long run on sentence in paragraph two, I commend you!

#25 SelfMade

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 10:50 AM

QUOTE(Randy @ Jan 5 2010, 11:01 PM) View Post
Solid proof? No. Anecdotal evidence of a possible cause? Maybe.

Especially if they make it plainly evident by letting Google see all of the Adsense financial data.

Who can say which is correct? Only Google, and they're not gonna tell. Ever.

How can you prevent G from seeing your Adsense data? is that possible then?

Didn't know that.

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#26 Randy

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 11:12 AM

You can't. If they can't see it you don't get paid.

#27 Mhoram

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Posted 06 January 2010 - 04:56 PM

I wouldn't call my story proof either, just evidence. And as Randy says, this site was over the top. It didn't have much content, it had loads of placeholder type pages that were nothing but ads, it wasn't optimized well, code was sloppy, etc. All it had going for it was heaps o' reciprocal links, and apparently that was enough to rank on page 1 Google for virtually any keyword that appeared on a page--until the spring of 2007.

When I think about it, I don't know if I can remember the last time Google sent me to a pure directory site of that sort, where the only content is some links to pages about your topic. In the earlier days, it happened quite a bit, and even pages in Yahoo's directory would come up on page one. Not now. I'll get links to other things at Yahoo like Yahoo Answers, but not links to their directory or others like DMOZ. Which again makes sense, looking at it from Google's perspective. If you search for "interior lighting", they want to give you ten pages that are about interior lighting themselves, not ten pages that can link you to other pages that might be about interior lighting. As their index has gotten bigger and their algorithms more sophisticated, they've gotten better at taking you directly to the page you need, and "middleman" sites like directories are less attractive to them.

So maybe in 2007 they devalued directories somehow---though I think that would be trickier than devaluing reciprocal links. Thinking about my own theoretical search engine again, I might give full value to the first 5 reciprocal links on a page, then 50% value to the next 20, and then 10% value to any beyond that. Or it could go by the percentage of links to a page that are reciprocal. It could also give more value to reciprocal links between pages that have related topics, while devaluing others. Who knows; they're a lot better at this stuff than I am. But I'm pretty sure my search engine wouldn't just treat them all the same as one-way links.

Oh, and as Randy says, it's also possible the site just got slapped with a permanent penalty. There have been numerous reinclusion requests, and back-and-forths with various people at Google, asking them if the site is penalized (which they won't say), and what we can do to remove any penalty, which we've always done when they've made suggestions. But there could certainly still be a penalty on it. That would also explain why competing sites in the same niche doing exactly the same thing didn't necessarily fall off the rankings at the same time---some got a manual review and a penalty and some didn't.

Of course, manual penalties are another thing that some people believe in and some don't. But trying to think like a search engine again, there's no reason they couldn't or shouldn't exist.

#28 Busine55

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 10:26 PM

In my opinion, reciprocal links are ok, provided these links are exchanged with the targeted and right market for your site. It's a win win situation for 2 sites to exchange link on their websites.

One of the way to get a more positive linking partner is to request link exchange with sites that do not directly compete with each another.

Sometimes, the owners of the sites might be reluctant to exchange links as they only want to exchange links with sites that have huge traffic. It is understandable as both sites want to get the traffic from one another. Therefore, before you do exchange link, you have to ensure that your website has quite a decent traffic.






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