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Reciprocal linking - I've heard it doesn't help
whatson




msg:4398940
 7:03 am on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was told by a reasonably credible source recently that reciprocal linking just doesn't help. It gets discounted. At first I disagreed, but have given it a lot more thought now, and think that they might be right.
I think although it may boost your Pagerank, I don't think it is making any increase to actual rankings.

 

goodroi




msg:4398991
 1:59 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

When you think about the basic concept of reciprocal linking it would seem to cancel itself out. Simply explained if you give me a dollar and I give you a dollar, we still have the same money at the end of the day. Personally I still use reciprocal linking but IMHO it is more for marketing and less about ranking.

One way you can still gain some value in reciprocal linking is by exchanging relevant links with high traffic sites. This can boost direct traffic to sites. A local doctor's website could exchange reciprocal links with the local dentist. This is helpful to users and helps both sites better promote themselves.

Also if a webmaster manages to negotiate reciprocal links with stronger websites they can come out ahead. For example imagine negotiating a reciprocal link on the Google homepage.

Webmasters can also be sneaky and recruit reciprocal links that are then cloaked from Google. This would sorta turn them into one way links but I would not suggest it as there are multiple issues involved.

The trouble with reciprocal linking is that some webmasters think that reciprocal linking by itself is strong enough to convince Google that they are an authority website. That is not the case. Authority websites typically have many one way links to them. Webmasters need to think about how much time & resources you can commit to link development and then figure out which links will return the best ROI. Also it is better to have at least some reciprocal links than having zero links.

ps Don't forget that the Google keeps becoming more complicated and that backlinks are not the only item in the ranking algorithm.

Planet13




msg:4399017
 4:40 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

While one-way inbound links are good as gold, I don't believe in the mantra that "reciprocal linking just doesn't help."

As goodroi mentioned:

Webmasters need to think about how much time & resources you can commit to link development and then figure out which links will return the best ROI.


That is why when I go around asking for one-way inbound links, I ONLY ask from sites that I would be proud to link OUT to as well (i.e., a reciprocal link) if they asked me to (most don't, occasionally one does).

If it is a good, on topic site that would benefit my visitors, then I wouldn't hesitate to give a reciprocal link to them should they ask. And since I only spend my time trying to get links from good, on topic sites, it is generally a good use of time.

Hope this helps.

tedster




msg:4399021
 5:07 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

It appears true that reciprocal links may be discounted by Google - but "discounted" does not mean "ignored". It means that such links have less power than freely given, editorial 1-way links from the content area.

Simsi




msg:4399032
 5:44 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

The answer probably lies in the way Google thinks. Do they think "we don't want any webmasters artificially influencing their positions" or do they think "we want to give the user the best experience". One would have thought both but with the latter being the priority.

Therefore, it makes sense that a reciprocal or "2 way" link could help, providing it does the latter. This means a 2-way link might not carry equal benefit both ways but if one side has linked to a page that is potentially authoratative, relevant and more importantly "useful" to readers of it's own page then it stands to reason that Google would see this as a good thing.

Who benefits from that most isn't obvious (there's effectively 4 connecting lines in a reciprocal link) but that's how I see it anyway.

All that said, I think link value on the whole will continue to diminish over time as algos get better at recognising quality content.

martinacastro




msg:4399047
 7:10 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some of my sites have reciprocal links and seem that works.

But some of them have a link directory that have more reciprocal links have out going links without reciprocal.

Today the relation between reciprocal links and only outgoing links is 55% (reciprocal) - 45% (only outgoing)

Planet13




msg:4399049
 7:17 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just to rib you a little bit, Simsi, but...

I think link value on the whole will continue to diminish over time as algos get better at recognising quality content.


I don't see the algos getting better at recognizing quality content. I see it going the other way; they are rewarding sites with more "authority" or that are more "trustworthy" at the expense of returning results that are less relevant.

To me, the emphasis on big brands, combined with the higher tolerance for semantic latitude, seems to have created less relevant search results.

And this is coming from someone whose sites have GAINED traffic over the last year and a half of algo tweaks, but has become frustrated using google to search for stuff.

mememax




msg:4399076
 10:53 pm on Dec 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think that link value will diminish so much it is the base of the whole internet, referencing googd resources. However I think that SE will be able to recognize interesting content from non interesting.

The problem they got in evaluating a site content is that they tried to recognize quality and original content. Actually I think they're boosting interesting content. All social media give information on what users like. I don't think google wants to show what HE think it may be the best content, but what searchers think is best. And why not use social data? Popular means the most liked content, so many happy users.
I think social media will start impacting a lot more in SERPs.

Simsi




msg:4399199
 7:02 pm on Dec 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just to rib you a little bit, Simsi, but...

I don't see the algos getting better at recognizing quality content.


No problem Planet13 :) Actually I don't disagree but I believe that's what Google would *like* to achieve and what I think many would agree that they are aiming for. Not easy or quick to acheive I'm sure.

I myabe also ought to clarify two things in my initial reasoning: firstly that when I say "recogniisng quality content" I don't mean that in a literal read-and-appreciate capacity, I mean by measuring multiple signals that suggest quality content, such as user behaviour.

Secondly, by link value "diminishing" it might be more accurate to say that I think other signals will gain more value over time as they become more trustworthy thus devaluing link benefits.

Planet13




msg:4399214
 9:07 pm on Dec 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your clarification, Simsi, and agree with your points.

Joshmc




msg:4399472
 6:15 pm on Dec 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I tend to agree with others here that i believe recip linking still works well in the beginning of a new site. This helps to get the link juice flowing to the site and helps to get links from sites that have already developed a following as well as authority. I wouldnt link with sites that provide little value but good authoritative sites are awesome. I was able to get great rankings for a new site in 3 months with good content and a lot of relevant link exchanges from higher quality sites.

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