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Is link exchange still working?

Why some websites with link exchange still survive.

     
5:18 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've serveral websites, all of them are in the same industry and heavily exchange links with other websites in the same theme, but, after Jagger, some are dropped, while some are not. When I check the current SERPs, I found many of the top ranking sites still using link exchange.
8:36 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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my take on jagger is that link exchanges do still have some value just not the golden bullet to the top of the serps that they used to be - I'm trying to set up a mix of non-recp & recp links and I think more weight has been pushed back onto the site
10:28 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I agree with tigger. Pat - you need to try and seek out more one-way links. This isn't always easy but it should help your sites.
10:41 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> and I think more weight has been pushed back onto the site

Are you referring to content or to the internal text link structure?

Considering that internal link could be one way link, a good internal interlink could help in the new algo?

11:03 am on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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>you need to try and seek out more one-way links

been trying that for a few weeks you almost get the impression webmasters are scared to link up right now!

>>Are you referring to content or to the internal text link structure

internal link structure, but I'm also trying to rotate the anchors used around a main theme on a page

2:13 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It seems to me perverse to insist on links being one-way before they have value.

E.g., suppose The Register spots an item on my site and incorporates a quote with a URL in an article, I would like people to be able to read the whole article - so naturally I would put an extract in my press cuttings page and point back to the article.

The user benefits from seeing the whole picture - the only other way I can do this is to steal and rehost the whole article - infringing copyright.

2:34 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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are you trying to say Google is perverse? if so yep agree with you on that point

the one way thing comes from G wanting links to be natural rather than asked for (recp) and lets face it I get 100's of sites linking to me every day mostly from PR5 or higher just because they like my site LOL - Mmmmmmmmm we all know that happens

4:27 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It seems to me perverse to insist on links being one-way before they have value.

It's unlikely to be that simple (or simple-minded).

Google is perfectly capable of setting a threshold beyond which reciprocal links have less (or no) value. Its all about "natural linking patterns."

5:31 pm on Jan 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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"It seems to me perverse to insist on links being one-way before they have value."

Correct, and Google doesn't. This fetish over method of linking is just plain weird in how it misses the entire point.

5:58 am on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just some thoughts,

I think that Google, certainly, don't like artificial cross links, but they know that there're many possible cases of natural cross links, for example, if site A and site B both are good websites on the same thing, then, site A is likely to link to site B and site B is likely to link to site A as well. (I think this a fundamental concept for most seach engine algorithms)

The problem is how they detect wheter a link is an artifical or natural one. Therefore, if we do the link exchange naturally, I think it still works.

9:54 am on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Is link exchange still working?

yes, absolutely.

What is not working is link spam. Link spam comes in many forms, and one of the incarnations is reciprocal link spam.

A lot of webmasters (and SEOs for that matter) are pretty shallow. Everyone wants to produce more with less. Everyone wants their efforts to have a dramatic effect. To that end, when link analysis was born, people started saying ďwhatís the easiest way to increase my links?Ē Well, reciprocal linking stood out like a sore thumb, and the technique became heavily targeted by those wishing to manipulate their rankings.

Today, you still have people who participate in link exchange true to the original intent, or at least close enough to it to be innocuous. These sites still thrive in the rankings despite those that abuse the methodology.

On the other hand, you have people who do link exchange with the primary idea of manipulating the SERPs, people who are intent on abusing the system. Theyíll trade links with anyone, any site out there. Actually reviewing and qualifying sites is too much work for them. They send out 50,000 link exchange email blasts every week, figuring if just 1% link back thatís 500 links per week. Why do the work when you can automate it?

The way the search engines have fixed this is by defining bad neighborhoods. A bad neighborhood to a search engine is not a burb rife with prostitution, drugs and violence. Rather it is a set of sites that do not practice linking editorial discretion, and which link to other sites of the same ilk. I donít know exactly how the SEís identify such sites, but they say they do, and I believe that. They also say they penalize such sites. The easiest way to do that, for a SE that does link analysis, would be to discount the incoming links to sites that link out without discretion.

Since there are a lot of sites that engage in reciprocal linking that link without discretion, there are a lot of reciprocal linking sites that suffer when the SEís implement such anti-linking-spam procedures. That does not mean that all sites that participate in reciprocal linking suffer. Those that engage in the practice with discretion actually do better, they move up in the SERPs because the abusing sites move down.

Unfortunately, thatís not the whole story. Reciprocal linking, the way it was meant to be, is difficult work, and there is simply no substitute for the human review of sites. It takes a lot of hours of tedious work to create a successful link directory. Thatís labor most SEOs do not want to do, or canít do. Still, while labor intensive, reciprocal linking remains the most bang-for-the-buck method of linking available, but if you try to cut corners, you may find yourself screwed.

Because of the lack of the ability of many SEOís to do reciprocal linking correctly a myth has been perpetuated to the effect that most people now believe that one-way linking is better. Why would such a myth be perpetuated?

Because one-way links are pretty easy to buy, and it is a heck of lot easier to manage. The fact that such one-way links are expensive is just the cream of it, because the SEOs that push one-way links generally get a cut of the cost of renting such links. 10% of $10,000 is a lot more than 10% of $1000. Another nice thing about one-way rented links is that once you get the client ranking well, and they decide they donít want to pay anymore, the links disappear and the client loses his ranking. If he wants his ranking back, he has to pay, which perpetuates the cut of the fee to the SEO.

The problem with reciprocal linking (for the SEO wanting to make the most bucks) is that once the links are established (except for a natural rate of link degradation, somewhat like radioactive isotopic half-life), the links remain. If the client quits paying the SEO, their rankings remain.

One-way links are the crack cocaine of SEO.

And these crack-head SEOs fill the SEO forums, perpetuating their myth, to fill their shameless coffers.

What gets my goat is that while the search engines do quite well, given time, to counter spam links, they even help perpetuate this myth that one-way links are better. Yet thereís never any sound theory to go with it. I have yet to see an SE update that targeted reciprocal links.

So, yes, while Jagger caused some sites that used reciprocal links to drop in ranks, other sites that used reciprocal links gained ranks. Itís not whether the link is reciprocal or not that matters, itís whether you cut corners and get spammy links.

3:52 pm on Jan 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google says not to link to "bad neighborhoods," but how do you know? It's not like the website has a big H1 tag proclaiming "BAD NEIGHBORHOOD HERE." I'm sure that I'm linked to a few bad websites on account of my link exchanges.

It seems to me that, surprisingly, Google is more forgiving than other search engines. My main money-making site (only two thousand a month, not enough money to live on), that has been exchanging links for two and a half years, gets nearly all of its traffic from Google and barely anything from Yahoo or MSN.

 

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