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Directories Forum

To ask for a reciprocal url or not to ask
this is the problem !

 3:38 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I am in a bit of a dilemma.

Should I ask for a reciprocal URL when webmasters submit to my directory site? If I make it optional most will not bother. If I make it compulsory ... most big sites will not be listed which is not the idea of a niche directory.

I tend not to ask for a back link, but feel guilty about all that PR lost and much needed crawl depth.

I am leaning towards asking a reciprocal link. If the submitter does not provide one, and it happens to be an authority site, will list it anyway.

what do you guys think about this?



 5:14 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wouldn't ask for one. If it's a valuable resource, they should come naturally, though slowly.

[edited by: skibum at 6:08 am (utc) on July 27, 2005]


 5:37 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Am with Skibum. Not asking for a reciprocal link itself can be a USP your directory can have, and thus get many to bookmark your site. "Rome wasn't built in a day" is true in most cases IMHO.


 11:38 am on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Reciprocal links cancel one another out, so you won't gain anything by doing so.


 12:16 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> Reciprocal links cancel one another out, so you won't gain anything by doing so.

Crikey - how did you find that out? :)

For the couple of directories I run, I ask for recip links, but it's not a requirement - I get a reasonable % linking back so I figure it's worth it. That said many people submitting to directories are just after static one way links, and as skibum said, if the directory is good, you'll get picked up by the directory lists, and industry related sites over time.


 3:58 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

This is one thing I've never completely decided about. Although link swaps are free, unless they are targeted, otherwise they are mostly useless and a waste of time. I could waste hundreds of hours per year, sending begging letters asking for link swaps - it's my experience that the majority of decent sites won't swap, as it's a power thing, to be able to refuse desperate sites. I also think that link exchanges are really a thing of the past, which was popular at the webs infancy, and that has now declined somewhat. I must get about 100 emails each month from dodgy, unrelated and illegal websites wanting free links in my business resource, and they actually expect to get in.

Site owners want one-way links mainly, and except for a few directories and the odd search engine, are pretty impossible to get. Also webmasters try it on by insisting on a link whereby theirs must be on your homepage, but will only return the favour with a link in some link page located deep within their site. Lots of that going on.

If there's no advantage by PR or the swap isn't fair, then I won't bother going ahead with an exchange. I imagine there are tons of webmasters that feel the same way, but I also reckon links should come automatically, if the site is worthy it'll get links.


 9:58 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have them as an option but I don't really care too much to get them . I do not display them on my website since I don't want them on my homepage and I don't believe people really much go to 'link' pages attentionally.


 11:44 pm on Jul 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you run a good quality service you will get plenty of webmasters who link to you out of appreciation. Requiring links is not needed.


 2:43 am on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Correct stoner, and your website is a perfect example for that. I think your directory is one of the best one out there.


 2:47 am on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Reciprocal links cancel one another out, so you won't gain anything by doing so.

I can barely contain the laughter.

Back to the original poster:

Don't REQUIRE a reciprocal link but give them top billing in your directory if they do give you a reciprocal link. Basically show all reciprocal listings first, then all the rest.

Gives them additional value by getting the most clicks from your site in exchange helping make your site a true authoritative resource.

It's a win/win.


 5:24 am on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

incrediBill, good suggestion.


 2:21 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)


Reciprocal links cancel one another out, so you won't gain anything by doing so

I agree totally. You mean webmasters just trade links and place em in each other's link pages right?

Therefore it cancels the links out, because there's no advantage of being on a link page. Link pages not being the same as directories, so who's going to take the trouble of visiting a link page? Homepage for homepage exchanges are better, but no webmasters are willing to do that. lol.

All it seems to be is linkpage exchanges deep within sites. No value in that.

I think thats what Mcavill means.


 2:52 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Well my links pages get traffic in their own right - I can see this by some of the search terms from my stats. I also get some traffic from decent reciprocal links with related sites.

The use of reciprocal links is a good method of promoting your site and helps with search engine rankings. They should be used with other links, such as those from directories and other one way link sources.


 3:03 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

so who's going to take the trouble of visiting a link page?

Over 20,000 people a month on my site. Of course my resource (links) pages are very easy to find, there's two or three links to them on every page on the site.


 3:25 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Reciprocal links cancel one another out, so you won't gain anything by doing so

I agree totally. You mean webmasters just trade links and place em in each other's link pages right?

I thought the topic was about reciprocal links to a DIRECTORY (topic) not a "links page" tacked onto a web site. I have over 5K reciprocal links and while everyone else moans and groans about the roller coaster ride in the SERPs every time Google blinks my site is pretty well anchored, has been for years, and rarely budges even a little.

The reciprocal links also generate 20%-30% of my traffic so people do use those links surprisingly enough.

Cancel schmancel, I'll take reciprocal links any day of the week.


 5:16 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Recip links are good, if you manage to get homepage for homepage swaps. Link directories ARE placed deep within websites for a very good reason. I'm sure I don't need to explain the reason for that, as it's fairly obvious why it's done. Anyway, links to linkpages are always placed with the least prominance, and I get fed up with arguing with webmasters who give me a raw deal, and then expect a decent link from me.

But yes, the discussion is supposed to be about directories, so here goes........

Most webmasters are sooooo desperate for a link, that they'll ask for them on any site that's willing to support them for nothing. Why should we as site owners, give this away for free - with no return whatsoever, as this is what 90% of exchanges turn out to be.. We spend hundreds of hours every year, developing, advertising and maintaining our sites, and others expect to get free advertising/traffic for free - when they should be paying for it. If I wanted to be a charity, I'd have applied for registered charity status officially, complete with my registration membership number. Websites are businesses - let's never forget that!

Or ask yourselves this one. When was the last time a popular company gave anyone something fantastic for free? Would Search Engine Watch or MSN give away a top sponsored advert for 12 months free? I don't think so.


 5:29 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

You're confusing a reciprocal link with a top sponsored advert as I do both, the adverts first, then the reciprocal's, then the deadbeats. Also, I won't exchange with any off topic sites, all links are on topic only to make sure the authority of the site doesn't get diluted.


 5:58 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Anyway, links to linkpages are always placed with the least prominance, ...

Always? That's a pretty broad statement, and doesn't match my experience in general, maybe it's the sites I visit. But as has been pointed out, that's another topic.

As far as directories and reciprocal links go....

Yesterday I took time to explore one I've seen referenced here several times lately as being a "good" directory.

I navigated through empty page after empty page to get to my category. It might be a "good" directory, and well worthy of a reciprocal link, in some categories, but apparently not all.

I can't help but wonder why a directory owner would even put up an empty page, let alone several in a series leading no where.

There is NO chance I would submit to a site like that for even a free listing, let alone give them a reciprical link. And that's true of many, but not all, such sites that I've looked at.

On the other hand, I've seen a bunch of topic related directories that are well populated and easy to use. If one is into reciprocal links, those sites would be well worth considering.

If a directory wants a reciprocal link they should be able to demonstrate some value before asking.


 8:47 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)


Well, I'm not really confusing the two as I get emails from sites wanting a link on my homepage (which would be one of my sponsored areas) - this is what many demand.

Directories that offer recip links should ensure that they get like for like, and I certainly wouldn't place a link/advert in my search results, unless this is reciprocated. Most sites don't have search results, so the only thing open to them is to place links on the homepage, but as I said before, they just won't do that. I personally don't see what the problem is, as they would be getting a like for like link back which isn't costing them anything - but in reality, that seems like they are losing something maybe. Perhaps that's how some people just feel, but they are the losers in the end. Infact both parties can end up arguing over where links are placed. One won't be prepared to do it, while the other one don't mind where the link goes. Usually, an exchange won't go ahead when that happens, but there's no way a site's going to get one of my sponsored slots, unless it follows my very fair rules - that's just the way it's got to be. I'll give a sponsored slot if they add my code to their homepage, some do add it, but others don't, then it's just a 10 second delete process for them. What's the point in them first contacting me?

Pointless exercise lol. I do very few link swaps now, as it's just too much hassle.


 9:07 pm on Jul 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

OK, we're in agreement here as the front page is not for cluttering so if someone feels obliged to drop my link on their home page, thank you very much, but thats a paid spot on my site.

However, I might be inclined to swap home page links if their site is pushing anything north of 1 million pages/month and consider it a flat out trade.


 1:05 pm on Aug 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yup, some sites are well worth just giving a decent listing for free. Not lol.

Question you have to ask is "If I give a decent link, will I get one in return"? Some webmasters just want to shaft me big time.. I am willing to pay for a good link placement, but nothing to outrageous, but if a good exchange is beckoning me - then I must exchange. I do get peeved if they remove my link for whatever reason and 'forget to tell me' Grrrrrr


 1:57 pm on Aug 12, 2005 (gmt 0)

Let them tick one, something like:

a) I have put reciprocal link at this url: http//...

b) My site is most authoritative in the field

Give reciprocating sites more visibility as suggested before, explain your policies in no more than 2-3 clear sentences.



 4:24 pm on Aug 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

I bought a listing in a directory that gives you a better listing if you link back to them. It's not a requirement, but that's a great incentive. It's a good directory and so I felt fine about giving them a link.

I ignore link swap requests by email because they're usually from low ranking sites looking to take advantage of a link from my high ranking site without paying for it. I don't have time to waste checking out each one in hopes of finding that 1 out of 100 that isn't garbage.

I hope that the practice of swapping links disappears. It's bad for the quality of the web because it encourages sites to link to bad sites, which makes it harder for search engines to deliver good quality results. I think it's a shame that swapping has become such a widely accepted practice.


 7:57 pm on Aug 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yeah, I see what you're saying. It's true. More low ranked sites than high. Someone will come back with "But how do the low ranked ones get anywhere if noone gave them a link"

That also is true. Linking isn't what it was when the web first started. You used to be able to get a tons of links really easily and sites could get 5, 10 even 20'000 links easily. But with more useless sites being accepted by Search Engines, it's more difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff. - Time consuming..... The sites that do have 10'000 plus links pointing to em are now sitting pretty, and it's all free!

But if you want free traffic, link exchanges are still probably the best way.

Muddy Gun Dog

 12:15 pm on Aug 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Personally if a directory I go to asks for a recp I leave. I don't want to go to the bother of setting it up on my site.

A recp (unless as a few has suggested gets you a sponsored type of listing at the top) is a waste of time. Asking for a compulsary link or no lisitng gives me the impression of desperation.

I think the happy medium is 'it would be nice' but not compulsary. And if they do link reward them a higher listing or something of that nature.


 4:10 am on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

omg, fuggedaboutit


 12:55 pm on Oct 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

Personally if a directory I go to asks for a recp I leave. I don't want to go to the bother of setting it up on my site.
A recp (unless as a few has suggested gets you a sponsored type of listing at the top) is a waste of time. Asking for a compulsary link or no lisitng gives me the impression of desperation.

I do likewise. There's no shortage of directories who will link to your site without one, if you know where to look.

There's also the question of how carefully you check the link. Do you look for robots.txt exclusion, nofollows, etc? And is the recip page even linked to from the main site, or indeed anywhere? How often do you check back?

Not getting shafted on reciprocals involves a lot of policing, even though it may cut down on spam submissions. Your directory is also likely to get more links in from various directory lists if you don't ask for a recip.


 9:16 pm on Oct 7, 2005 (gmt 0)

I get a lot of Gambling sites linking to me recently, although I feel linking to off-topic sites is not advantageous to that site/s. It's a bit desperate hehe

Any traffic is not good traffic.

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