Does linking out to these sites ad value for your users?
Does linking to your site add value for users of the other site?
Contact details should be on the sites concerned.
As piatkow eluded to... reciprocal linking is not necessarily bad so long as each site ads value to or benefits the other sites' users. But I would be careful of doing too much reciprocal linking.
In some verticals it's the standard way for sites to interlink... specifically in very niche verticals like certain hobbist sites... because there are so few sites related to that vertical. But generally speaking, this should make up a very small percentage of your backlink profile.
Do not do a link exchange! Google flat out bans them in their SEO guidelines (http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356). What you want to do is form business partnerships with other companies and help promote each other. For instance, a pet store and a dog walker have a real reason to link to each other (same target audience, relevant products/services). A pet store and a construction company do not have the same reason to link to each other. You want to build links from relevant sites!
|Do not do a link exchange! Google flat out bans them in their SEO guidelines |
No it doesn't. It mentions that "Excessive link exchanging" can negatively impact a site's ranking in search results. And Google can't flat out ban anything.
A well thought out exchange such as above is perfectly fine.
|For instance, a pet store and a dog walker have a real reason to link to each other (same target audience, relevant products/services). |
And why would this not be a link exchange?
There is a big difference between a "link exchange" and a "reciprocal link".
A link exchange is generally a service that you pay to be a member of, and all paying members agree to post links on their site to other members of the exchange. There is usually some scripting that you agree to install on your site to render the links from the service. These links are more times than not between sites that are not at all relevant to one another. Yes. This will get you penalized should you be caught participating in such a program or service.
A reciprocal link, on the other hand, is typically perfectly fine so long as the two sites "exchanging" the links are relevant to one another, there is no paid incentive for the linking, and the users of both sites would benefit from the link to the other. Government agencies do it. Educational institutions do it. Associations in various fields do it. Hobbiests with similar interests do it. Most all of them do it without even knowing what the acronym SEO stands for. It's perfectly natural for them to do so. This is not "banned" by Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Based on how lotusindustrial worded their question, I think piatkow and definitely myself thought that lotusindustrial was refering to exchanging "reciprocal links", not participating in a "link exchange" program.
I would never advocate the participating in a link exchange. But I have no problem with reciprocal linking as long as it is done between truly relevant sites where users on both sites benefit and the number of reciprocal links making up your backlink profile is in line with others in your same vertical.
I really don't think the language is that cut and dried. I actually didn't think of a link exchange as you defined it since such a service hasn't been on my radar for many years.
I don't see anybody here advocating a link exchange or reciprocal linking scheme or service meant to manipulate rankings.
There is a clue in www - world wide WEB.
If everyone removed their outbound links and refused to link out (either one way or reciprocal) then it stops becoming "the web" and all you'll have are isolated sites.
I won't stop linking out to related sites. I please my visitors, not search engines.
Hey jimbeetle, Believe it or not, they still exist. I've seen people promoting them still places like SEL's LinkedIn group, although now that you mention it... many have disappear in the last year.
Yeah, I looked around a bit today and found a few.
Google does not flat out ban link exchange. They specifically suggest you avoid "excessive link exchange" which means avoid high volume low quality services or products that guarantee you a high number of links over a short period of time.
If you link exchange with high quality sites in very low natural volume, you will not only brand yourself within its realm of interest but you will also get traffic from the links themselves.
Google would never say "do not link exchange" as that is a serious Restraint of Trade matter which could set them up for big time legal matters.
Link and be linked to! Just keep it relevant.
On a side note check out what Bing has to say about link exchange they recently updated their guidelines:
from [bing.com ]:
|Donít skip this as a valid link building tactic, however. New websites need links, and exchanging a link is a solid way to not only gain a trusted inbound link, but potentially to gain direct traffic form the other website. That traffic could easily bring with it more links as those new visitors spread the word about your own website. |
I just added a page to my website for "real estate service providers-add url". I asked that all participants be real estate related services for northern new jersey, so I am assuming this is ok. I then plan on adding the links to a helpful resource page for again my niche. Does anyone see any problem with this? I think it makes sense because the links I add will be for real estate not just anything. Thanks I am pretty new to the internet
@gerrigale when I ran a site for a community arts organisation I had resources pages which were primarily links to venues and artists and they ranked very well, often ahead of the artists' own sites.
I had some initial problems with this and I am not sure which of the several changes that I made actually did the business but one was to ensure that I didn't just have a list of linked names. Rather each link had some unlinked descriptive text beside it.
This was all over 5 years ago so G have probably changed things several times since then!
Here's a blog post by a real estate webmaster involved in a nationwide reciprocal link penalization [activerain.com] in 2007. It's an example of how not to exchange links. This post is an important one because afaik it preceded many other posts and discussions that described this important event. The penalization of a large group of real estate agents trading links nationwide was a big deal when it happened and I feel that members who aren't aware of this event should be made aware of it so that they understand the historical underpinnings of why certain things are done in a certain manner. As already mentioned above, nothing wrong with trading links with a few reputable good quality websites. The above blog post is about how not to do it.
That's a great reference Martinibuster. We educated our own clients NOT to link to evert other real estate agent on the planet but many drank the "seo expert" coolaid.
We have always suggested that real estate agents stay within their own local realm of interest such as linking with mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and that sort of thing within their own local demographic.
Search engines love local specific linking. The realtors who have done it right are the highest ranking in their keywords according to my latest analysis and I don't see any reason for that to change.