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Reciprocal linking

penalised, ignored/devalued, or beneficial

     
1:50 pm on Jul 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I've noticed a comment or two in recent weeks where the poster is assuming that reciprocal linking is either penalised or ignored/devalued.
Has anyone got any evidence for this?
Reading back through recent threads on this topic I can't seem to find any.
12:30 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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No concrete evidence then, or has the topic of reciprocal links just been done to death?
12:47 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Recip linking does not get you penalised

Recip linking is not ignored (unless you are the 101st+ link on the page).

No evidence that recip linking is devalued

Recip linking is beneficial

How and where it is used is the difference ;)

1:39 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Fathom.
Confirms my own thoughts on the subject.
It's been getting confusing lately with so many theories flying around.
5:13 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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when you say 101+... you mean the size of the page.. right?... not the number of links on the page....?
Thanks....
5:21 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Google suggests a maximum of 100 links per page.

[google.com...]

7:15 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Read the posts of the last 6 months and you will definetly see that Google is reducing the value of Recriprocal links.
7:44 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I can't possibly imagine Google penalizing for reciprocal links. Assuming 2 sites are on a related topic, without Google that they might exchange links naturally is quite high. I can possibly see Google giving more weight when the links aren't reciprocal. If reciprocal links are ever weighed lower, I'd expect it to happen where the number of reciprocal links seems incredibly high and unnatural.
7:47 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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AFAIK the received wisdom is that G looks at pages rather than sites, and most reciprocals go from links/inner page to index page, so without a site wide overview how can recips be even detected?
8:06 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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how can you say google doesnt look at the whole site? if she didnt you wouldnt get two pages for a site showing, one with the highet pr and the other more relevant.
8:31 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I can't possibly imagine Google penalizing for reciprocal links....snip...
>I can possibly see Google giving more weight when the links aren't reciprocal.

I detect contradiction here. ;)

8:44 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I detect contradiction here.

No. I define a penalty as a change that would cause my ranking to be worse. If I managed to get 5 more reciprocal links with other sites and this cause me to go down in the SERPs, *that* is a penalty. If they are just ignored, that isn't being penalized.

9:05 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>If reciprocal links are ever weighed lower, I'd expect it to happen where the number of reciprocal links seems incredibly high and unnatural.

I assumed from this that you meant the reciprocal links are normally not weighed down. I agree and I also assumed that the reciprocal links get "normal" weights normally.

>I can possibly see Google giving more weight when the links aren't reciprocal.

From this I read that you possibly see situations when non-reciprocal links are weighed higher than reciprocal ones. That is, reciprocal links are devalued since non-reciprocal ones could be called "normal."

I made the mistake of interchanging 'devalue' with 'penalty'. :) I agree there is no 'penalty' BUT I also think like fathom does, that there is no 'devaluing' too.

9:12 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Just using some logic, surely google is going to ignore or even penalize recip links.
Someone having a one way link to your site shows that they value your site. Swapping links (possibly in their hundreds from what I read here) does not provide any evidence that anyone values your site. This has got to become a case of a last years SEO becoming this years penalty one day.
The question ramains, when?
9:24 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>I agree there is no 'penalty' BUT I also think like fathom does, that there is no 'devaluing' too.

I've seen no evidence they are devalued either. If this were done with low level reciprocal linking, this would be a Very Bad Thing. The reason is that there are a lot of topics where there are less than 10 sites on it. In those cases, it isn't unusual for most, and sometimes all of the sites to be exchanging links with each other. However, if the algo could spot cases where it was obviously done to boost Google rankings, this would be OK. I don't think Google is at the point yet where they can by algo spot this sort of reciprocal linking to devalue them.

9:36 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.

What if I have over 2000 pages, should I ignore creating a site map, Cuz I don't think a site map will be any good if it's over 20 pages.

10:33 pm on July 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Sometimes I think we can do ourselves an injustice and paint ourselves into a corner by making absolute judgments and believing the absolute judgments that other people make.

There's a big difference between a penalty and devaluation. And there's certainly more than one way that reciprocated links can be devalued.

2:57 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Marcia
>There's a big difference between a penalty and devaluation.

For me devaluation is a form of penalty. Here both are used in different sense.

>And there's certainly more than one way that reciprocated links can be devalued.

Agree.

3:07 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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fathom
>>How and where it is used is the difference

For instance...?

3:27 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm with denisl on this one. Everyone here knows G likes links. Soon everyone out there will figure out G likes links. Once everyone has realised that a really good way to jump up the rankings in G is by getting 3,000 completely unrelated sites to link to you G will become broken.

G penalises sites that use link farms. I suspect but don't know that G is starting to ignore (maybe even penalise) links pages.

IMO G has to. I can't see any benefit to a site vistor to give them 3,000 links to unrelated websites - but wow at the moment it sure helps SERPS.

[edited by: chamade at 3:29 am (utc) on July 12, 2003]

3:29 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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After most of the linking pages received PR0 (was it update Esmeralda?), I started to search for reasons. My linking page is a PR0, but I do not really care. People are still sending reciprocal linking requests. However, I found some really good linking pages with a high PR. All these pages had CONTENT! The links were woven into the text. I could give you some real good examples, if posting URLs was ok in the forum.

I am sure you will have links on your content pages too. And these pages didn't get (penalized) PR0, right?

Google probably found that most of the linking pages are there just because of SE's. No sane user is going to read these pages. And all Google wants is good pages for the user. How can a page with only links and many many many links have a high PR? No content, no readers, no nothing. Yes, links, but who is interested in that?

I guess that if your page consists of a certain percentage of links, your PR will drop. It is about time to give real credit to other websites. Link to them from your content pages! Or build more content on your linking pages.....

4:36 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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fathom
>>How and where it is used is the difference
For instance...?

How - I look for good content sites with good highly relevant titles (Meta and visible page title) then request and give links that also use the page title to develop the anchor text.

Where - the most appropriate page. Since I don't manage any sites that have a topical area call "links", I view a "Links Page" as "off-topic" and know of few sites that are actually about "links" anyway. ;)

I find the most relevant page possibly to put the link on - and that's where it goes, and request linking partners to doing the same (explaining why in the process). ;)

4:41 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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However, if the algo could spot cases where it was obviously done to boost Google rankings,

I dont believe Google has the ability to divine intent.

4:57 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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AFAIK the received wisdom is that G looks at pages rather than sites, and most reciprocals go from links/inner page to index page, so without a site wide overview how can recips be even detected?

Goole regularly conducts experiments to improve results by tweaking their algos. One Such experiment Link is :-

[cse.lehigh.edu ]

I believe both the researchers(Krishna Bharat and Monica Henzinger) are employed in google.

I am not saying that reciprocal linking is penalised now or something.

Sometimes I think we can do ourselves an injustice and paint ourselves into a corner by making absolute judgments and believing the absolute judgments that other people make.

I couldn't have said it any better. There are some very good concepts of linking out. And some pretty ordinary. Linking from content falls in the former category. HTH :)

9:21 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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How - I look for good content sites with good highly relevant titles (Meta and visible page title) then request and give links that also use the page title to develop the anchor text.

Where - the most appropriate page. Since I don't manage any sites that have a topical area call "links", I view a "Links Page" as "off-topic" and know of few sites that are actually about "links" anyway.


Thats good policy but I feel an incomplete one.
I have a local directory with a page that offers reception locations. Part of the deal with the limited number of vendors, as well as design intent, is no banner ads. However, no one allows rice, birdseed, etc. at their locations and there is an alternative so a text link to the alternative would be perfectly logical there. It benefits the surfer as well as the vendor. However, after filling out the request for info page you are redirected to a thank you page that offers you a more wedding info page. Here you can find stuff about invitations, etiquette, national directories, etc. The thankyou page also offers a choice that includes local directories, government agencies (licenses), etc. Could I put these on the content pages? Usually not, and I really do whenever I can. But I see no reason to not link to five different choices for invitations. I do see a reason not to put that much on a content page. I don't want an invitation page on the site because they are not local companies. It doesn't mean the user doesn't benefit from the links. If Google wants all the links woven into the text then the web will soon be distorted in that fashion instead and real content will just be that much harder to find. And Google should NEVER be in the position where they can dictate the design of pages. I know they do to some extent already but that is mostly due to limitations rather than choice.
9:27 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I just had one more observation.
How many of you, when out looking at someone elses links page to evaluate it for your a link to your website, have followed a link from which you learned something or gained some insight about your industry?
Sometimes I go searching for links and get lost in the info.
10:04 am on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I have to disagree that there is any type of devaluation for recip links. I have a site that is nothing but recip links...loads of pages of them on different topics, almost a directory, and over 10k recips. I have steadily increased in ranking as I added links and it has not suddenly stopped. There is some textual content, but each page (over 101k and way more than 100 links) gets good placement in G. Just for my own interest, I also looked at some of the sites I link with on these pages and I am showing as a good backlink for them. Not even close to being a link farm as each page is topical and each link hand reviewed for relevance for the surfer. Based on my experience with this site and knowing many others that do the same...Im going to keep finding people to trade links with and watching the traffic flow.

before anyone goes down the path...we have never made a decision on linking based on PR (most sites that I looked at that were submitted had a 0 in the toolbar till I turned it off)..only based on interest to the surfer...and it seems to have paid off.

10:30 pm on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Powdork
>How many of you, when out looking at someone elses links page to evaluate it for your a link to your website, have followed a link from which you learned something or gained some insight about your industry?

I have learnt a lot. :) When I started out a few months ago, I was aware of only a dozen or so organizations. Now, by following those links, I know of many more. I like links pages. Not the ones with 1000 links, but a managable list of say 100 or so, with subject divisions, works best for me. I don't care much about the descriptions there because the actual site is just one click away.

10:47 pm on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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How many of you, when out looking at someone elses links page to evaluate it for your a link to your website, have followed a link from which you learned something or gained some insight about your industry?

I usually start at the top and work down. If an "astronomy related site" -- NASA and JPL is the starting point. Go to mainpage - backlink check, copy and paste into a word doc and start at #1 and systematically go through a few each day or two.

Then backlink check on these NASA backlink sites - if anything of interest, goes into a second doc to investigate later.

Note: sites that link out and open to link exchanges - tend to also link to the authorities in their industry.

11:43 pm on July 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>Fear as a motivator can be a powerful sales tool.

Googlenoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... Uncertainty and dread are part of the life of anyone in e-commerce who depends on doing well in the SERPs.

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