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The Dark Side of Exchanging Reciprocal Links
Some of the tricks Webmasters sometimes use to get around linking back to you.

 9:44 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bad webmaster! Bad...

  • Delink your links page

  • Bury the link to your links page on a single page that takes about five clicks to get to

  • robots.txt

  • Run your outbounds through your cgi-bin counter script

What are the worst tricks webmasters are playing on their partners today?



 9:45 am on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Only crappy sites request links anyway"

Hmm .. so profound! I guess my site is "crappy" since I often request links.


 10:06 am on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>"Only crappy sites request links anyway"

I found that to generally be the case. If only one out of 1000 link requests comes from a worthwhile site it's not worth the effort to weed out the 999. I'd probably play even if the ratio was 1:5. Checking five sites for all the tricks mentioned in this thread is a hugely time consuming task. Any worse than 1:5 and it's cheaper to buy advertising (unless you value your time at $0).


 10:57 am on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Maybe folk should consider that links are for people to find your site rather than to manipulate Google Page Rank. Just be careful about who you link to.


 12:13 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

""Just be careful about who you link to. ""
spot on


 2:31 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Only crappy sites request links anyway"

I get "links are great for both of us lets link" emails all the time. This morning, I got one from a site with a pr zero, and one back link.

I have 10 pr 6's and one pr 7, 18,000 backlinks in a very tough webspace. From my point of view, they are wasting my time (spam).

For new sites, I suggest they seek other new sites (simular pr and backlinks) out and exchange links. Pull out the cash for a high pr site link.

In today's web, I don't believe it is reasonable to give a penny link and expect a dollar link back.


 4:39 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

#When will web development go back to adding information to the internet or preforming services instead of pathetic attempts at outwitting a search engine?

Am I just angry or does anyone else share these feelings? #


I feel the same too.


 5:15 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

"#When will web development go back to adding information to the internet or preforming services instead of pathetic attempts at outwitting a search engine?

Am I just angry or does anyone else share these feelings? # "

I am always curious when I see only the extremes argued in an issue.

Where is it written that people who ask for links are *not* adding information to the internet. Or how is asking for links a "pathetic attempt at outwitting a search engine"?

Me thinks there is way the hell too much protesting and chest thumping in many of these messages.

My site is small, less than 400 pages. But it is good solid content, much of it original and researched .. information you are not likely to find anywhere else on the web.

So tell me fella, who the hell are you to "get angry" at what I'm doing. Or the "gent" who decide my site was "crappy" because I have asked for links.

You have never seen my site ... what an ignorant statement to make.


 6:21 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Pull out the cash for a high pr site link.

the point is, most of the tricks can be used for whatever links - reciprocal, purchased, etc.

This is why I see market for a software tool, auto updated like antivirus or firewal, as soon as new cheating method evolves.



 8:09 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

At the risk of being accused of repetition......
If it ain't cached in G, it don't count, and out it goes. The reason why G does not index a particular link is not of my concern, and should change on a continuous basis anyway.


 9:10 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

What I call Shady? well maybe not shady...how about stupid. That the engines put so much emphasis on links. It was suppposed to show popularity but all it did was make us all run around getting links to artifically make us look more popular. Bottom line? The Yahoo's and Google's of this world need a better system. It just ain't working folks and instead of us being able to concentrate on providing a better business enviroment for our surfers...we are running around begging for links... well not me.. I gave it up a long time ago...let the engines catch up to me! ;)


 9:10 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Links add to the relevance of the web. Yes even the "crappy links" too.

We have built a backlink crawler and you should see the relevance it turns out. I can tell you all for nothing that any search engine robot would be more than happy to follow my links pages.


 9:12 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

" Bottom line? The Yahoo's and Google's of this world need a better system. "

What you suggesting? Off topic but I am dying to hear it.


 9:53 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Where is it written that people who ask for links are *not* adding information to the internet.

Right on! I gave up adding links to my link page long ago and now add specifically targeted links to my other pages, i.e., on my "blue widgets" page I only link to other "blue widgets" sites if they want more info, in case what I provide isn't enough.


 10:10 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Okay, everyone write on the chalkboard 100 times...

Link Naturally Link Naturally Link Naturally Link Naturally...

When you are linking to other sites, do it naturally. What did you do before Google PageRank was released on the public? Why not go back to those methods? They were working then, right?

I just find it so much more easier to link naturally than to force a link if you know what I mean. And, don't just provide a text link. Add a short descriptive using your own words or the META description from the site (if available). You could even include the sites Logo to spice it up a bit.

Forget about those dull, dry, bland auto generated pages that the software is producing. Get rid of those now. Get rid of the footprints. Then build your partners section as if you were making money promoting them, their products and their services. Stop with the bulk link exchanges and focus on quality vs. quantity. If you are in this for the long term, it will definitely have its rewards. It may not be as immediate as some of the link exchange strategies being discussed but, it is a good solid linking strategy for long term results.


 10:39 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

...build your partners section as if you were making money promoting them, their products and their services.

That's really great advice Pageoneresults! Amazing how well it can work.


 10:51 pm on Dec 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

Excellent post PageoneResults!

After all is everyone actually forgetting what the code name for G was back in Stanf... and what it's foundation is built on?!?!?


 9:33 am on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Dark side of Exchanging Reciprocal Links"

Linking for raising link-popularity, & PR is in SE terms Dark Side in itself. Everyone does it, so it's only logical that blocking outbound with scripts is a natural way of stopping link dilution.

All the methods used for cloaking/hidden text can be applied to a URL. Some of which have already been covered here.


 11:38 am on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

"build your partners section as if you were making money promoting them"

Brilliant choice of words and we have proved many times that it works.

How come a site in Europe comes No.1 in G for a very precise real estate search in mytown USA?

There is a possibility that G has decided that it is a directory, or at least a very valuable resource, for mytown USA, despite the fact that it is a real estate agent in Europe.


 4:23 pm on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think I get the prize for this thread for one I finalized today. True story, short version .. paraphrased. [Martinibuster - these are not direct quotes]

Guy with an online publication asks for a link exchange. I happen to have a page where that link fits perfectly, content page .. no other links on the page.

He's ecstatic. "Thank you!"

Last week I check his page. No link.

Me: "Hey, what about our link exchange?"

He: "No excuses, sir. Sorry, I'll put it up. BTW, where is our link?"

Me: "Right where it has always been .. goodpage.htm."

He: "Okay, I put your link up. We will evaluate it for 30 days and check the referrals. If we like it we will keep it."

Me: WHAT! **** on you! I don't need your f***ing link! (link removed from goodpage.htm)

He: You have 48 hours to say "Sorry" or your trash will be published and a report will be filed with the police (and continuing rant)

Now *that*, gentlemen .. and ladies .. is the dark side of exchanging reciprocal links!

Mmm ... can I log on to webmasterworld from prison? :>0

SEO practioner

 5:53 pm on Dec 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

We dont swap links anymore, we rent them from link leasing brokers and we are much happier that way!

Sure it costs us some money, but at least we know the links are good and won't be removed.

When you pay for a service, you somehow are dealing with more serious people-- at least that's my experience in dealing with them so far.


 6:09 am on Dec 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

link leasing partners!


What else is out there?


 2:21 pm on Dec 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is it just me or do most link exchange requests appear to come from women? Is that a strategy? Using female names get you more results?


 5:04 am on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

You know what is funny, you all complain about link recips but I have contacted many of you with straight up link exchange requests, I have a new site with PR0 and I am willing to provide links on three of my sites PR5, and two PR4 if I can get some fresh links to the PR0 site. So We are talking like 3 for 1 links with no funny business, etc Just some honest exchange.

I must have tried to contact 3 dozen folks. Nothing!
Not even a "No thanks" just ignored!

Can't get no satisfaction here why should I expect to get it out there!


 2:18 pm on Dec 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

My team report that they deleted another 300 links over the weekend from those sites that say, "link to me through my link programme, and then I will link back to you."
Nearly 2,000 now.
It would appear than there are many webmasters out there in need of psychiatric help.


 4:07 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

old_expat - similar thing happened to me, could NOT believe it ... he got the linkfrom good.htm, pr5 and he just woud not put his up .. what an idiot ..

oh well


 5:28 pm on Dec 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another 300 gone today, again all from USA

Sweet Cognac

 4:07 pm on Dec 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

One time I submitted my website to a Link Exchange program, and had to link to them first before being able to submit, because they say "As soon as you click submit, our spider will check for our link on your website!"

Well, about a month later, when I was checking the stats and could not seeing any referrals from this huge industry, I went to their site, put my title in their Search, and pulled up nothing. So I deleted their link from my links page. Several days later, I receive an Email from them saying, "We removed your link because we did not find our link on your site." I, of course, emailed them back and said, "I did a Search on your site for my website, and it was not to be found, so I deleted your link. They of course did not respond, and I doubt seriously my link was ever on their website to begin with. So I think this was pretty sneaky.

I'm not sure whether this thread has encouraged me or discouraged me. I think I'm ready to just let "nature(al)" take it's course. HH


 2:11 am on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've never had a problem getting other sites to link to me. Most people focus on just getting the link, rather than focusing on adding value to your link partners sites.

When you ask for a link, you have to tell the other webmaster why it will benefit him. And no, saying you'll get a PR boost doesn't work that well. Tell them why your site is a benefit to their users. Be specific...explain what your site offers and why it is unique.

You will see a huge increase in the number of replies.


 2:59 am on Dec 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

OldSkool, I usually delete messages trying to enlighten me about the value a link will be to their users. I haven't seen a single link demand that convinced me that they weren't polluting the Web with their requests.

The worst type are those who hide behind the noname guy who has to hide his address for fear of being sued by people who think he's a spammer. And the best part has yet to come. He won't let you know who is the loser on the other end begging for a link! He just wants you absolute and conditional reply that yes you will link to his spam farm they've built by linking every stupid article and Web page with the word "women's purse." Of course, none of what I do has even as a remote tie to women's purses. The word just slipped by in one page because the contents we develop is not written to spam and try to fool robots. It's written for real people, where mentioning women's purse during the converstion in a specific context makes sense, but it doesn't make any sense for the wider site.

But I'm rambling and Christmas is coming. So, I'll end with a Merry Christmas to all of you, including all those annyoing folks with crappy sites requesting links.

Why Oh why, can't I ever a get a request from a genuine and real quality site for a change....

Merry Christmas again!

Small Website Guy

 7:20 pm on Dec 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Reading through my link exchange requests is the most frustrating part of webmastering.

I have a form where people fill it out and they are instructed to put a link up on their website first.

So I go look at their supposed page linking to me, and most of the time

(1) no link found at all
(2) link on a page with a url like [domain.com...]
(3) link on a page buried five clicks down from their home page
(4) not a real <a> tag link (this is not as common as the others)
(5) it's an "adult" site and I clearly say that I don't trade links with "adult" sites
(6) linking site has one name, but the "title" they always send me is "keyword1 keyword2". If I listed their site that way, every single link on my links page would read exactly the same.


 10:33 pm on Dec 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Small guy, instead of complaining about your link partners, how about making their lives easier?

Perhaps your system is too complicated. Also, why do you expect people to link to your first? Why don't you link to potential partners first? From my point of view, you should be happy that some folks even reply to you. Most people who ask for links are considered spammers. You're lucky that you can get that far.

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