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Optimizing for Google: Are Reciprocal Links Out?

What has the Update Done to Linking Between Sites

     
3:59 pm on Oct 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Now with the new update in progress what do people thinnk has happened to linking techniques?

Will reciprocal links be vaulued at all anymore?
Have directory links been given less value?
Has there been a stronger "themed/on topic" filter put in with even more weight given to these links?

I know we are going to have to wait to see what happens next but it would be worth getting others ideas on what going on.

briggidere

1:40 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Well since all my sites that have reciprocal links are gone, i would say reciprocal links on google are dead.
3:26 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Reciprocal links are the backbone of my sites and this last update has been good to me. In fact, my sites have steadily moved up every update in the last year. Just good ole reciprocal linking.
4:36 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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My sites all have lots of reciprocal links and this was one of the best updates ever for me (at least so far and knock on wood).
4:45 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I agree with the last two posts -- reciprocal links are not out! I started a website recently and do reciprocal linking and believe without them I would have no visitors and why would google even have backlinks that I reciprocate with if they are out?
5:04 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It looks like reciprocal links are no problem, perhaps even helpful for some people. I wonder if it has anything to do with how related the links are whether reciprocal or not.

I seem to be fine right now tho who knows what will happen with the third sweep of this update. Anyway all my reciprocal linking is within my topic. How about the others who are still doing fine?

8:42 am on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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It's not the method, its the meaning.
12:03 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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meaning meaning exactly what?
4:37 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I recall Matt writing on his blog:

"The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue emails–the best links are earned and given by choice."

And that doesn´t mean that reciprocal links are out. Maybe the method to establish them is in question.

5:01 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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probably.
Didn't google a while back devalue the links from *link.ext? Or was that just a rumor (not that we can verify much anyway)?
5:39 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I suspect that reciprical linking is out. I'm not sure about it, I just don't have enough data yet.

I recently (about a month ago) started a new site. I did not seek any reciprocal links, but did get listed in respected directories (haven't tried DMOZ yet).

I did not optimize the meta tags, I simply put the site name into the title and wrote a brief, one line, description.

I added original content daily, and already I have some fantastic key phrases via google - something that my much older sites with recip links and on-page optimization have not been getting.

It looks to me as if google is weeding out overly optimized sites in favour of other factors which point out a quality site more plainly:

1. Age of Domain
2. Incoming links from authority sites
3. Not overly optimized (lower key phrase saturation than favoured on Yahoo and MSN).

That's my take on it, anyway. I'm not an expert, it's just what I have noticed on my own sites and have read and heard from other webmasters.

5:46 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>> I recently (about a month ago) started a new site

a month ago did you in I think

5:46 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Reciprocal links continute to be the backbone of my SEO programs for my networks. Solely on link exchanges and good content I have secured top positions on competitive keywords with over 50 million other results. This did not change since the last update and isn't likely to change
5:47 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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JanFer, I agree with you in that I believe people shouldn't worry so much about optimization and just focus on content and user-friendlyness. But I do believe its fine to have reciprocal linking and affiliates as this has been done for years and years -- back to over 7 years ago when I first started designing websites.

Personally I haven't had problems with google nor the other search engines, and wouldn't begin to overly worry about website optimization unless I indeed ran into problems with google and was suddenly out of their index.

5:57 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I just looked up the dates, and the site I was referring to is more like 7 weeks old.

Time flies when you're wrangling with search engines. :-)

8:35 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Good quality related reciprocal linking is and always has been doing well for my sites, though my link page conations links to other sites without a link back.
8:50 pm on Oct 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Dude, if reciprocal linking is dead, the totally narly little nfp site I care most about is one mondo surfin' zombie, 'cause it's still cruising just off the crest of a tall wave and and hangin'(top)ten in a radical fashion
7:40 am on Oct 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Just to be sure before posting, I have just checked a keyphrase related to marketing & advertising on this DC.

[64.233.183.99...]

On position #1 is a linkExchange network which also has a forum where people discuss in daylight how to be "effective" in their network!

Long live "reciprocal links" ;-)

3:26 pm on Oct 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I own and/or control dozens of sites where the only links in are reciprocals - all but a handful of these sites are doing extremely well. Reciprocal linking isn't dead. It isn't even sick as far as I can tell.
3:18 am on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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So..if recip. links aren't dead than what is to account for the major sinking I have seen on our website? We have always done recip. links with theme/related sites and never done ANYTHING off the path. However, we have been hammered on almost every term from spot 1,2,3 to spot 40 + Not sure what to think.
4:10 am on Oct 31, 2005 (gmt 0)

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From SERP position #5 to #85 in the blink of a google

But I am not ready to close the door on reciprocal linking. I have been compareing my site to the top 3 in my keywords all day and I have yet to rule out reciprocal links. They don't seem to be the problem as #1 has 1400 inbound #2 has 1100 but I have 1100 also.

It is some thing else causing the huge flux

I can't rule out dupe content as .php offers 1000s of pages of dupe under the session ids. The number 2 site has the same problem I do with that type of dupe content.

Still looking

5:24 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I believe linking isn't dead, just Google's trying to do what it always wanted to do, giving good results :)

I believe Google are looking at all the things, and marking from there, rather than just for links, or just for metatags for example. Thats what I believe the Jagger update is doing (or trying to do).

6:40 pm on Nov 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This recip thing is overblown. What G has done, it seems to me, is to freshly identify the arteries thru which the greatest value flows. Major cities and big highways are presently (too) important. Cute country roads and interesting but out of the way cultural destinations aren't so highly valued right now. ;-)
12:10 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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What to you think those major cities and big highways are.

Are they EDU and/or GOV sites?

Or are they the biggies like Amazon.com?

Is DMOZ a big highway?

Are big cities based on high PR or is trust rank a part of this.?

1:44 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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>>>>I recall Matt writing on his blog:
"The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue emails–the best links are earned and given by choice.">>>

If it was a perfect world...then yeah. "given by choice" links are almost impossible to get unless you are Google, Yahoo, Matt's blog and the like

4:11 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I did observe during this update a competitor whose entire strategy has been recip links for the last several years dropping from consistently top 5 results to page 4.

The only explanation I could think of was the recips.

5:21 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If it was a perfect world...then yeah. "given by choice" links are almost impossible to get unless you are Google, Yahoo, Matt's blog and the like

people link to quality web sites. google counts these links as signs of quality. exchanged or bought links provide no sign of quality, just the webmasters desire to do well in serps.

5:52 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Yes, but back in the "olden days", before google came along, we used to trade links with related sites just so people interested in our topic would find our site. It isn't totally unnatural to trade links. I do think it's important to stay within your topic though.
6:40 am on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Indeed, annej. It's natural. Trading links between like minded, respected sites in the same or related categories. The WEB, ya' know? ;-)

Is a one way inbound from CNN better? Well, in most cases, yeah, prolly. Doh!

People set out to fool the SE's with their link dev plans, or their recip campaigns, and then get dinged in the SERP's, and say, "gee what did I do."

C'mon. Take a step back. The SE's are getting better at this, that's all.

4:18 pm on Nov 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Are Reciprocal Links Out?

Natural reciprocal linking is not likely to be out of favor.

Manipulative reciprocal links might well be less favorably looked on by the SEs.

But how to tell the difference? Even seemingly highly related sites can exchange manipulative reciprocal links.

Well if those links are hidden away on some obscure links page that can only be found by digging thru a site map looking for some equally obscure page name (like "other") so that no one other than a SE is ever likely to actually find the links page, let alone use the links, it's not hard to see why a SE migh think those links are of questionable value and nature, no matter how related the site they lead to is.

But if a site puts outbounds on content pages, or even on a links page that can be found via well named, easily spotted links (Favorite Sites, Resources, Related Links, etc) spread throughout the site, those links might be more trustworthy, even if they are reciprocal, and therefore may be less likely to be assigned a dimished value.

So maybe part of the equation is how easily the links can be found. Does the SE find them, or a path to them on every page of a site, on main pages of a site, or only on some obscure basicly hidden page.

And the there is the timing. Are all outbounds on a site reciprocated with-in a day or two, or is there a wide variance in the times between when outbounds appear on a site and when they get reciprocated, if they do.

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