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...Practically everyone, and I mean seriously EVERYONE, seems to strictly adhere to the policy of only putting reciprocal links on their sites...
That is exactly why I ignore all link requests (the link spams arrive every day, sometimes lots of them). We have basically no 3rd party links on my many websites since they all only do reciprocals.
Often they will link to me anyway even though I did not ask for a link but within a short time I get email saying they are removing the link because I failed to reciprocate, or giving me one last chance to do it.
It's a ridiculous game (even somewhat unethical) since it is mostly done to trick G to give a better Page Rank.
And yet another way to get good search engine rankings and PR is to create one or more Squidoo lenses. If your product is home decor widget, then think of several major keywords for that widget and create a lens for each.
This way, you don't have to rely too heavily on those reciprocal link only folks ... you can get one-way links from other places.
Well - just keep in mind that 2 way links - the dreaded reciprocals - can actually deliver far more marketing benefits than 1-way links.
A lot of people are stuck in a 2005-2007 mindset - that somehow a reciprocal link is a terrible thing. These people are often frightened to death about some unforseen SEO consequences. What they fail to realize - is that a 2 way link can often generate FAR more traffic - and awareness of your site. This means it can translate into real business benefits.
This is not to say that 1 way links are not good - and you should also think rationally about using your content uniquely to attract 1 way links, and try to use them in SEO appropriate ways.
But in the same way you want to be rational about 1-way links, be careful you are not being irrational about 2-way links. I have increased traffic (and income) on sites by up to 10,000% - and routinely by 60-200% by two way linking.
This has VASTLY OUTSTRIPPED the value of traffic from search - even though for a number of sites I have first page... above fold Google placement for my keywords.
So don't be irrationally - judge each link opportunity for it's business benefit - placement, etc. Not simply by whether it is 1-way or 2-way.
...a 2 way link can often generate FAR more traffic - and awareness of your site.
I'm having trouble believing that. How can that be?
Maybe he thinks about real and visible link exchanges between sites in the same topic or with the same demographics.
By the way, regarding the topic of this thread, a industry doesn't belive just in nothing; the people doing it well in this industry believe in something.
If you believe in another way to do it, go ahead. Once your results become better, your industry would believe what you want. It's not faith, it's just results.
I think the whole topic of scrounging for a few 1-way links - that are burried in some post or comment - or best case article - to try to slightly raise your SERPS is very labor intensive - and often is not the best way to traffic or market awareness.