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Reciprocal linking scenarios - effects on Google rankings?



1:28 pm on Jun 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

A lot of people these days completely discount reciprocal links, I was wondering what other people’s opinions and experiences were on this age old technique.

First lets define reciprocal linking – domain1 points to domain2 from a page, and domain2 points back to domain1 from one of their pages.

We mostly condition this with link exchanging, “I’ll link to your site from my links page if you link to mine from your links page” – this method is generally considered a black/grey hat technique, and I really don’t believe has any benefit any more with your rankings.

But what about other scenarios:

Business relationships – suppliers might link to their customers and vice versa to show they are business partners.

Article referencing – if a web site writes a nice article about your site, you might want to show you visitors that you have been mentioned to add credibility to your site or product.

Related fields – a site may want to show their visitors other sites on related topics, these other sites might also wish to do the same.

In-house web sites – your company may have more than one web site and want to network them all together.

These were some of the more white hat scenarios I could think about. So will these impact your rankings still?


2:39 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Even flat-out link exchanges can be OK - if they're not a big part of the total profile. The other scenarios you mention are also quite natural and not a problem.

Many webmasters have been freaking out about reciprocal links for far too long, IMO. The whole picture is more complex (and more balanced) than all this paranoia. It's a sign of not understanding the way the Google algo has evolved.

The way I see it, the main lesson is to find ways to earn other types of natural backlinks for your site.


3:21 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

The other scenarios you mention are also quite natural and not a problem.

A thousand times this. People who talk about similar topics link to each other. That's how the internet works, and one of the reasons it's so great.

Just keep your reciprocal links on topic and relevant. Adding a reciprocal link to that spam directory in exchange for a free listing isn't going to anyone any good. Neither is having a partnership with an off-topic site.

It's probably not worth your time to actively seek out reciprocal links, though, unless they're actual traffic drivers in their own right. Whether they work or not is irrelevant -- they very well may. But there are many other ways you could be making use of your time.

[edited by: Sand at 3:22 am (utc) on Jun 14, 2012]


3:22 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks Tedster, I feel exactly the same way. So it is to our advantage that we are not so paranoid - due to our extra experience. Of course you don't want to exploit any tactic too much.


3:34 am on Jun 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Every website I create starts off with a "resource" page. That's the only way I know to get links in the beginning. I look for semi-quality sites in my niche to exchange links with. Never understood how so many people can be state so positively that exchanging links don't work. It's always worked for me.
Ecommerce sites might have it harder. But, reference sites like mine, what's wrong with listing other resources?
At least it's worked with Google. Bing is always extremely hesitant to send traffic to my new sites until they've been around a year or two.
Recently, since Penguin, I've started filling the resource page with non-exchanged links to quality websites to camouflage the few which are exchanges.

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