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Reciprocal Link Request From a New Site
Would you do it ,or wait unitl it had some PR?

 2:56 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

I have a site that gets about 900 pageviews a day with the main pages having a Pagerank of 5 in Google, possibly 6 in the next update when my latest reciprocal link efforts take effect. The links page for this site is a PR4. Most of the pages are already in the top ten or twenty SERPs in Google for their keywords.

Somebody with a brand new site (no search engine listings, no inbound links in any search engine, gray toolbar) just sent an email request to me to do a reciprocal link. It's a very professional looking, well done site on a similar theme as mine. Since the webmaster is reciprocal link savvy, I suspect the site will eventually be well placed.

My questions are:

Would you link to this site now if you were me in the hopes that it will soon be link-worthy? (I usually don't link to sites lower than PR3, but since this site looks very professional I thought maybe I'd make an exception.)

If not, do you have a polite way of pointing out that it would not be an equitable link exchange at the present time and would prefer to defer the request until the site has some traffic and placement?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.



 3:12 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

"similar theme as mine"
When working in certain areas you get to know the competition very well. Do some research before you make up your mind. Whois data, do you reconize the owner, does the style of writing look familiar.
A well done site with good content should get a link. Even if they are starting fresh after being penalized on another domain. If your research leads you to believe they are recovering from a penalty, let the owner know.


 3:28 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

If you think the site is well done and has a savvy webmaster, I say, go for it. A well-worded link from a site of similar theme can reinforce your target keyword(s) even before it has built much page rank. If you're one of the first people they trade links with, they might well be more accommodating than usual for making sure your link back is worded exactly the way you want, and as the other site develops its web presence the link will grow in PR value too. Think of this link exchange as an investment in the future, not just "doing a favor". And not so very far into the future at that!


 3:55 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Research on this one is very important because someone does know what they are doing. What sites are they linking to? If the design company is given credit and/or linked to, check it out very carefully. Knowing your area makes it alot easier to spot duplicate or "borrowed" content.


 5:09 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Okay, thanks for all of the advice. I checked the site out more per all of your suggestions. Here's what I found:

The web design firm was listed on the site. Their home page is a PR6. The web development firm has a list of client sites, mostly PR5, and lists the one that wants the link as "under development" so I think it is legitimately a new site and not a banned one.

The web design firm does advertise search engine promotion, but it doesn't look like they are spammers at all. I think they know about reciprocal links but probably not much more. The client site I looked at didn't seem to be optimized especially well for any particular keywords. It didn't use a lot of the basic tips one could get from just hanging around the webmaster forums. Which is probably good news for me because I wouldn't be linking then to a potential "bad neighborhood site" that would get kicked out of Google for spamming techniques.

A search for the product advertised on the site doesn't appear in any other pages, so I don't think it is anyone starting over with a new domain. I think it is a new product on a new site.

I found one link to the site in Google from a PR6 page, but the site itself isn't showing up yet. I'm assuming that's okay because it is a new site and proabably just didn't get crawled yet, while the site linking to it did. (Please let me know if I'm wrong in this assumption.)

Whois shows the site as just registered a few months ago to a company in the same state as the web design firm.

The site is on a related theme, some overlap with mine, but selling different products so its not a direct competitor.

I think I will link to the site. Thanks for all of the great advice!


 5:39 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Great research!
One more question. Is the whois data for this site "I found one link to the site in Google from a PR6 page", the same as the one requesting a link?


 5:57 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Startup - Thanks for the kind words. I'm learning slowly but surely from all of the great advice I get here.

One more question. Is the whois data for this site "I found one link to the site in Google from a PR6 page", the same as the one requesting a link?

Good question. I just checked - no, it is not. The link is from a site owned by someone from a different state with a different web design firm listed as the technical contact.

[edited by: Jane_Doe at 5:59 am (utc) on Aug. 25, 2002]


 5:58 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

There is little risk here, at least in the short term. It is quite obvious that the site is new. Google will not penalize a new site (even if it is spammy), and your link will help Google index it faster. More likely than not it is a good find and will help you alot over the long term. Just monitor the site at www2 and www3 for the outcome.

Brand new (current) orphan sites are excellent for fast turnaround on PageRank, particular since you are effectively getting all of their PR (at least until they multiple their outbound links).


 6:13 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Have to agree with fathom, give it a link and try to get to know the owner.
Web design and SEO companies that list their clients should be monitored very closely. When a neighborhood goes bad you don't want to be caught.


 7:38 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for starting this thread Jane, as I have a similar problem and have been reulctant to link to someone asking for one - because of them having a PR.0.

You have now inspired me to look closer. Especially so since I have virtually decimated my outward links since being penalised by Google 10 months back and only have ones to PR4 sites and higher now.( my penalty probably relates to my being involved in Zeus program at that time - among other things).


 8:17 am on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

kneelsit there are many ways to minimize the risk to a low PR site and even a PR0 site/page (PR0 penalized or not). Remembering that PR is a bonus value from their site - click through visitors is the primary advantage.

You can add a new page to your site, a... "what's new links page".

In your navigational hierarchy made all internal links to and from this page JavaScript links. Add new links here. Keep a running log and get in the habit of checking the reciprocating sites periodically after a dance and note how the PR is doing.

Those links where the sites move up in PR vice down deserves to receive the same courtesy from you and the PR link back and those that drop in PR, stay the same (low) or those that provide no traffic... well let the owners know your intensions and break the link completely.

In addition, as these are reciprocating make sure:

1. that the owners are providing a non JavaScript link back,

2. check their robot tags on the page where your link is, and

3. check their robots.txt to see if the directory or page allows bots to index. (this is assuming the page is not already in google).

All of this can be done very quickly and by default helps to protect you. External links help alot and in many ways but they are also very problematic and hurt more if you don't manage them wisely.


 4:18 pm on Aug 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all of the tips, Fathom + Startup. I've just started realizing that I do need to manage my links better. I've started keeping a log of where I've asked for reciprocal links, the response, who owes me a link back, etc.

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