Reciprocal Linking. An Unbiased Analysis.

by Cristian Lungu
Posted on February 22, 2010

Reciprocal linking is without doubt one of the most disputed subjects in the SEO community. The reason for this is because they simultaneously can greatly contribute to your link network and also damage it pretty seriously.

One thing is certain though, Google is getting better by the semester in finding and demoting low quality link exchanges to zero and even negative values.

Search engines have not declared war to link reciprocation but rather to the unnatural linking patterns meant solely to increase the number of links and consequently, enhance rankings.

There are 2 directions to follow

1. Build reciprocal links by going beyond you niche limits. This will benefit you short term but once practicing these obscure exchanges chances are you'll get penalized.

2. Staying in your field; although it takes more time to find and initiate quality link exchanges opportunities, keeping the relevancy level high will empower your sites position in that niche's organic listings.

Still, keep in mind that it takes time to build a presence online and brand yourself. The good news is you build a solid foundation for selling your product or service.

After securing a considerable number of quality links pointing to your site, it's advisable to diversify your linking sources and even include some low quality ones; and there is no easy alternative then reciprocal links.

This tactic it's beneficial as it enables you to build relevancy for your website by extensively using targeted keywords as anchor texts.

Junky back links are not a thing to worry about as long as you don't return the favor.

A white hat method for link exchange is reciprocal promotions, where each linking partner promotes content referencing the other party on their own website.

From a marketing perspective reciprocal links are especially valued for being an efficient medium for brand promotion. Still, if you can obtain a one way back link the better.

Then again, this statement is contradicted by our incorrigible human nature that constantly cries the "what's in it for me" exception.

To make this human behavior work for you, you must gratify them with some top-notch content that they feel they must reference and discuss and debate around it, on social platforms, with blog posts, etc.

Another, more subtle approach to promoting your content is to present it among other relevant resources. This gains you credibility and impels the recipient to take note of your suggestions.

As 99% of automated link requests are simply ignored resume using such link scouting tools only to researching. Once a link exchange opportunity is spotted address the webmaster in person.

When to Drop Reciprocal Links as a strategy

Once you start getting involved with the reciprocal linking networks, consider this:

1. The featured websites in these back link catalogues have at best 0 PageRank. Reciprocating with these low quality,( most importantly) irrelevant websites is easily spotted by Google.

2. At best, these sites reach 10 pages in length, giving them no chance of ranking even in markets with low to no competition at all.

3. Not only does their copy sounds as hype from a mile away but they're also built in the spam religion with keyword stuffing in the title and description tags, etc.

4. All things being said, common sense will tell you that you do not need these artificial linking schemes to get good rankings.

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