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What Are You Doing With Your Reciprocal Links Pages?
Remove or Leave it Be

 4:30 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)


You must have read at least a couple of articles warning about the forthcoming overoptimization penalty. Many SEO gurus and guru wannabees :) warn you about reciprocal links pages.

Have you decided what are you going to do with yours?

I think I will remove all reciprocal links pages from my important websites and leave them on some smaller websites for an experiment's sake.



 8:14 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Leave em be.. My links pages generate link requests from high quality relevant sites. My sites rank #1-5 for my keywords. No problems here.

Relevancy - Natural nolume - Maintain editorial discretion. It still works.


 9:39 pm on Apr 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

...the forthcoming overoptimization penalty

Forthcoming? It's already come and gone.

A huge multi-page directory of links has been out of fashion for almost ten years. A page of reciprocals and useful links is nothing to worry about, ever.


 2:32 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

It's already come and gone.

LOL you got that right MB.. it came and gone a long time ago..


 9:51 am on Apr 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Have you decided what are you going to do with yours?

I would use external links if there are relevant with the content and placed in the right place within the content. I wouldn't use dedicated pages for external links.


 7:01 pm on Apr 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just nofollowed my directory.

Kind of a shame, because the people I linked to are small, non-profit, businesses that generally focus around religious activities.

I really think that the directory provided good value to my visitors and very little (if any) SEO benefit to myself.

But that's the precautions you have to take I guess.

Might move it to another domain and just run it as a hobby.


 5:06 am on May 1, 2012 (gmt 0)

While I've never really considered the main parts of my site a directory, it certainly has elements of a directory. You can't pay for inclusion, but if you have a relevant site it will get included if there is benefit for users.
I also have reciprocal links as a subsection, as long as they are in the same vertical, users may find value.
Changes due to FUD aren't a high priority for me, the FUD changes too fast.


 6:08 am on May 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Deleted them about 7 years ago.


 10:30 am on May 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

i worked on mine one links/resources page the last few days, trimming a bit here and there and then checking some links to make sure they were still active and valid. and added a few new ones. I've had a rather large list for some time, sites I enjoyed or thought my clients would find useful, and a few reciprocal links too - the page even got a good 'natural' link from a rather big player years ago.
not much traffic checks it out but oh well....I still like to have it around - some of the links are 'follow' and some 'no follow', rather whimsical about that.

Robert Charlton

 11:24 pm on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Good links pages and directories on sites take some work to put together and to maintain. Ditto with curated outbound links in your articles.

In the case of link exchanges, something I don't generally do, it's helpful to have actually looked at and evaluated the pages you're linking to, and to formulate your own anchor text and unique descriptions. Don't use something lifted off the submitting site, and don't use what they submit to you, even if it's good. Editing and writing your own anchors and descriptions is what saves you from serving up a page of dupe content.

I think well-curated, well-organized resource pages, with good descriptions, can be useful to users and can rank. If some of the links are reciprocal, at this stage of the game, probably no harm. Definitely use dofollow links on these. If you can't vouch for the links you've put into a directory page or an article, then you shouldn't have them there. To offer your site visitors a page of nofollowed links is effectively not taking responsibility for your own content. (These links are not the same as comment links, which you didn't put up and you may not want to maintain.)

Hard to say whether taking down a lot of reciprocal links at your end would preemptively solve a problem with Google... ie, if Google were to be bothered by the inbounds you'd received in the exchange. Depends, I would say, on the percentage of inbound links you have that are exchanges, how manipulative the links are in terms of anchor text, etc etc. If there are enough of them to worry about, you might want to see if can get the inbound links taken down. Perhaps you can do an unlink exchange with your linking partners to get things cleaned up. ;)

See some further comments on this thread...

How should you handle a link page on a new site in 2012?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4422860.htm [webmasterworld.com]

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