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link exchange a problem with google algo?

 10:22 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hello experts,

Since last few days we have been doing some research and found 2 different opinions as regards to the impact of link exchange or reciprocal links on the page rank for google search.

1. A few people including google say that participating in link exchange programs or having reciprocal links put a negative impact on the page rank of the web site. In fact, google can even penalize the site to the extent that it is permanently removed from the google index.

2. Others say that link exchange is a great way to improve upon the page ranks, and reciprocal links are not penalized.

We are confused, as we are not sure whether we should participate in link exchange program or not. We do notice that many of the web sites that have very good position on google do participate in link exchange programs, and have as many as 500 links on their site. We are not sure why they are still maintaining a good rank, given google doesn't like it. Is it because google takes some time to identify this?

Any help on this would indeed be appreciated.

Thanks in advance,



 10:32 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

well I'm with the 2nd lot, I've got over 1,000 links pointing to one of my sites and I rank well in Google so I don't see this as a problem


 10:42 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

The Key is to stay away from Free For All type of link exchange web sites and Programs. Reciprocal link exchange is not a problem at all.


 10:50 am on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

When is a link exchange programme not a link exchange programme?
When it's a reciprocal link campaign.

While the G guidelines probably referred to those semi-automated linking programmes (whose names escape me), those with advanced PaRanoia (such as I) became increasingly wary of any linking structure that might be seen as "artificial" at some future date.
Unfortunately, with one-way links getting harder to get these days, my solution is to keep the ratio of recips to one-ways low.


 5:05 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

You were given misleading information. Good advice mixed in with a lot of bad misinformation.

Exchanging links is a good thing and it helps you in google.

Of course getting someone to link you and not linking them back is best, but that's rarely possible.


 5:40 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>You were given misleading information. Good advice mixed in with a lot of bad misinformation. <<

One of the pitfalls of taking all your SEO advice from a free-form public forum...


 5:51 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Links are good!

Here is what Google says about them:
Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

It does not say don't link to anybody.

With our link campaign, I try to stay as close to our area as possible. In fact, we have generated many leads from people finding our site from a link from another site.

I don't link to spammers or bad neighborhoods even if they are relative.

Just stay away from the funny stuff and you should be fine.

After all, Google itself is nothing but a bunch of links, and what would Google be if it didn't link to anybody?


 5:57 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google bases its venerable PageRank formula on one very important principle...the web is "organic" in nature...you put up your website which carry's its unique message to the world...people begin to find your website "overtime" and gravitate towards what you are offering (information, memberships, subscriptions, services, useless trinkets)..and they link into you and create a "web"...and this web "overtime" becomes very descriptive and supportive of your site's main theme...

What Google does not want people doing is artificially inflating the actual value of their website in order to increase the value of their PR (thus the reason why Google is devaluing PR these days...way too much abuse going on)..

So you you are looking to use a link exchange service query the principle players, not the sales people, about their fundamental philosophy and make sure you don't find your self sucked into a FFA (Free For All) link structure or a bunch of unrelated high PR sites just to give you a boost...go for the long haul and keep it organic...

The principle conflict here is you have aggressive business models looking to be satisfied vs. the organic nature of how web sites naturally develop...thus the reason for Google's deliberate inclusion pace for new web sites into the index...(2 - 6 months)


 6:35 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Anyone notice that Linkpartners.com link pages now all have a PR of zero? Several of them linking to us had PR4 and 5 before the last update. They are all hosted by linkpartners.com


 6:41 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

here's the rub. Say you run a link site, where you review sites and list them by category (say, DMOZ) or you list them as a "best of the web". In order to be listed, you request that a reciprocal link be put on the site.

When does this stop being a service and start being a link farm?



 6:54 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well I for one am in favor of off-the-page factors, such as links/anchor-text, having a strong impact on Google's results. This helps with code-jacking from top-rated websites.

Are link exchanges SPAM? Ever try to get a badly designed, or questionable-content website some links? Webmasters are increasingly conscious of who they link to, and good sites have a much easier time. Also, I think most webmasters have a good feel for what many fly-by-night websites look like.


 11:28 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I still see linkpartners/linkmanager pages with pagerank, but some sites that got all their PR from that took a dive this update. Hopefully after the next couple updates they will be PR0'ed.


 11:57 pm on Apr 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Hopefully after the next couple updates they will be PR0'ed

There are other similar link exchange "progams" that I'd like to see "discounted" as well.


 4:40 am on Apr 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

Say you run a link site, where you review sites and list them by category (say, DMOZ) or you list them as a "best of the web". In order to be listed, you request that a reciprocal link be put on the site.

When does this stop being a service and start being a link farm?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Google can't bust every site that has reciprocal links, because nearly every website has a few; Google busts sites who have too many. (Of course, the part that annoys SEO's is that Google's definition of "too many" is confidential.)

Logically, it's probably about proportions: Google has calculated/assigned/guessed the "normal" ratio of reciprocal to non-reciprocal, and is suspicious of sites that a deviating too far from that ratio.

Which is the problem with many third-rate "best of" sites, as well as link exchanges. They get so out of control, some sites are getting a huge proportion (even majority) of their inbound links from reciprocation. That's when they become link farms.


 5:03 am on Apr 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

When does this stop being a service and start being a link farm?

When it is reciprocal? DMOZ is a one-way link resource, as is Yahoo. My guess is that any site that comes up as a potential link farm is reviewed by a human, which explains why those big link resources don't get penalised.

It also confirms that webrings within the same topic don't hurt your ranking.


 4:34 pm on Apr 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

anallawalla: That doesn't make alot of sense. There are millions of pages linked to yahoo, dmoz, etc (mostly as exit links, or as "search the web" type links... Heck, we use the yahoo linkbacks to check to see if there has been a dance. 692,000 links to yahoo... on pages with enough rank to be considered.

Links back to a site just can't be the issue in and of itself. Otherwise CNN would be PR0.



 5:04 pm on Apr 26, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think we shouldn't forget that the complete pagerank-system and nearly all of the very good results Google shows depend on linking! So Google has to be very careful with penalising for links if they don't want to undermine the system of pagerank that was so hard to establish.
And I don't think that there is suspicious only because it has more backlinks than the average + let's say 25% has. It would be too dificult and too time-consuming to maintain that system because it would alarm about 5000 times a day, becuase there are always sites with more backlinks. Also you would have to arrange the sites in the index into categories, because a private site about pets gets less backlinks than a buisness site.
So I think it is impossible to do that.

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