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Link Swapping
Reciprocal Linking is DEAD?

 7:27 pm on Mar 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just read an article claiming that recip linking is "dead" and that the links "cancel each other out".

The article goes on to explain that [mod paraphrase]reciprocal linking is a signal of low quality content[/mod paraphrase] Has it really come to this now?

Can anyone attest to or rebuke this - I'm planning on launching a linking campaign for a client which will most likely include recip linking.

I might just do it regardless since it'd benefit for the browser, but it sure would be nice to know if I could anticipate the affects on rankings.

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:52 pm (utc) on Mar. 24, 2008]
[edit reason] Removed specifics. Please see TOS. Thanks. [/edit]



 8:07 pm on Mar 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's just more FUD .. sure, it's true that link exchange won't shoot a new site to the top of the search engines overnight but to state it is dead is ridiculous.

Link exchange works great for small business websites that want to brand their sitename among other related sites. If you exchange links as a branding function and a traffic building function in slow natural volume - instead of abusing it in hopes you are going to be #1 for your keywords, it still works.

Example: I've got a personal website in the aviation industry that is about nine years old. I've exchanged links with about 750 sites strictly relevant to my industry over those years.. and I rank #1 for my primary keywords. About 40% of our traffic into the site comes from our link partner's sites.

It works if you do it right. It will not work if you do it wrong.

The search engines trend how often you get links. So as long as you get them slow and steady and maintain relevancy, it still works and will always work because the search engines realize sites exchange links. Marketing 101.


 8:54 pm on Mar 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's not raining. Just look out the window.

In other words, take a look at the SERPs. There are entire industries ranking on the back of reciprocal linking relationships. So yes, they still work. It's a fact.

What the search engines think about it is a different matter. But not liking something, and actually penalizing it are two different things.


 1:08 am on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

The FUD surrounding reciprocal linking was brought to you by the makers of "NOFOLLOW" and all the hype about paid links.

If someone gets a penalty for reciprocal linking it's probably a hand penalty just like the paid links debacle so I wouldn't worry too much as long as you don't play up the situation and keep it low key.


 3:37 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

I believe search engines do cancel out reciprocal links, but this doesn't mean you should stop exchanging links with relevant sites. My website gets about a third of its traffic from referral sites where we have exchanged links in the past. The link itself may be neutralized since there is a link on either site pointing to the other, but visitors have used links from other sites to find ours. I would never release those links, even though they are two-way links because we get a lot of traffic from them.


 1:45 pm on Mar 31, 2008 (gmt 0)

Exactly my thoughts, guys. Thanks for the confirmation. Slow and steady recip linking is natural for the browser, so don't be too concerned with the SE's.

A note to KALOVAST - you indicated that you DID think the recip links cancelled each other out, mentioning that the outbound link neutralized the inbound link. Can you tell me why you think that and how you came to believe it?


 1:30 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

The "link cancellation" theory makes sense only in the special case of two sites each consisting of a single page and linking to each other.


 1:32 pm on Apr 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Long Live Reciprocal Linking


 11:58 pm on Apr 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

The FUD around reciprocal linking isnt just from search engines. Some "top" seo bloggers tell the same story.

I fell for it until I saw competitors steam up the serps on the back of link page links (not always reciprocal though).

You just have to be intelligent and very careful and slow about how you do it.


 11:26 am on Apr 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

As an absolute statement, reciprocal links do not cancel each other out. There isn't anything to cancel. If the two sites are in the same niche, nobody would be surprised if they linked to one another. Once you introduce paid links or signs of unnatural linking, e.g. same link anchor text from many sites, things can go wrong. But that is not the fault of reciprocal linking.

Before dismissing Google as promoting FUD, revisit Matt Cutts' blog. He only talks about "excessive" reciprocal linking.


 3:04 pm on Apr 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Just for the record - I did not hear about this from Google, but from a small SEO/SEM newsletter that arrived in my inbox, one which has lost a lot of credibility in my book!


 5:27 pm on Apr 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

Reciprocal linking is a bad technique. Sorry.

"Excessive" reciprocal linking will actually cause penalties. But chances are you'll get far less value from traded links than from one-way links. So frances' example is the one that makes the most sense: They saw a competitor move up because not ALL of their links were reciprocal.

Best to mix it up a little, and rely on good link bait as your primary driver of authority.


 12:06 am on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Reciprocal linking is a bad technique... "Excessive" reciprocal linking will actually cause penalties.

So which is it? is excessive reciprocal linking bad or is all relevant low volume reciprocal linking bad?

Folks here want to know the difference between the two.


 12:12 am on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

Reciprocal linking *within moderation* is just fine. Try to stay within your niche and avoid bad neighborhoods.


 12:20 am on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

I don't think it's a bad technique when done in moderation and with sites that are useful and helpful. I have not had any kind of penalization issues whatsoever with the light recips I've done. It's a good way to get a new site off to a start for longtail phrases, to get known by the community of sites in your niche and pick up some more links, possibly one way if they like your site. I wouldn't rely on it to get me to the top of difficult SERPs though.


 12:24 am on Apr 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

I recently went from a PR1 to PR3 on an art related site with just link exchange. Though finding those who were willing to trade was real time consuming. So many think it doesn't help anymore, and do not trade.

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