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Is there a legitimately safe way to three way link?

Quality reciprocal linking via subdomain

8:11 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I just wanted to get some opinions and most of all suggestions about whether there are any circumstances where three way linking can be relatively beneficial and harmless. I know there are more negative things than positive ones about this linking practice, and a lot of which states that the site offering to reciprocate via a third site provided no value for their link. Hence, the trade off was not worth it, plus it was a dreaded three way link.

But let's say I have a main site that does not have a links page. I get requests for link exchanges now and again, which is kind of odd considering the absence of a links page. However, I do have a blog that is a subdomain of my main site (blog.mysite.com) which I do link to each other. If I get a link exchange request from a site I think is valuable for my site, and this site would like a link back, would it be safe to either add a reciprocal link through a blog post or create a separate page on my blog to hold these reciprocal links? Both my site and blog have a PR 3, receive a great amount of traffic, and they cannot be mistaken for two separate sites that do not belong to each other, at least on page.

So while I would technically be using my subdomain to hold reciprocal links, is this a violation nonetheless? What if the site wanting a reciprocal is a resource or informational site and not a product site like mine? Would reciprocating them to my blog appear more relevant as well?

I definitely would not risk it if it violates Google's guidelines in any way, but I was wondering what you guys thought about it. Thanks for any and all insights.

8:20 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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>>>If I get a link exchange request from a site I think is valuable for my site...

Three way links are reciprocal. If it's a valuable link then just do a standard two-way reciprocal. Three way links are creepy. It's creepy to be asked to participate in them.

I would rather do an old fashioned honest to goodness back scratch than engage in a convoluted scheme where I scratch someone's back and a mysterious person with a hood over their head in another room reaches over and scratches my back with a crooked stick. Three way linking is creepy and sneaky because it's designed to cheat those it's receiving links from and to cheat the client the work is being done for because they're being sold the lie that it's a one-way inbound link and not reciprocal.

Just do the two-way reciprocal link and forego the pointless obfuscations that hide nothing.

8:25 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Good questions Sirkevon.

Get the link exchange anytime you can from relevant sites. There is nothing wrong with link exchange. 3 way links require engineering and the search engines know this. 3 ways are detectable. Why do them? because you think its going to inflate your rankings somehow?

Search engines realize sites link with each other. It's marketing 101.

The search engines don't want you making linking decisions based on how you think its going to affect rankings. They want you to obtain links from relevant sites using editorial disrection. So get the links anytime you can and if it turns into a link exchange, nothing wrong with that just as long as you maintain a natural trend rate which is very easy to do if you are not using a full duplex software or service.

Nothing wrong with using a subdomain to hold your links (http://links.yourdomain.com). We set up our customers with that integration method all day long and they rank just fine. Search engines use subdomains also such as tv.google.com or news.yahoo.com.

What if the site wanting a reciprocal is a resource or informational site and not a product site like mine? Would reciprocating them to my blog appear more relevant as well?

If the link opportunity benefits your end user, get the link. Don't worry about having a few irrelevant links. It won't hurt you. It only hurts when your site all of a sudden gets a very high volume of irrelevant links. So stay away from the full duplex "get 500 links tonight for only $50". Ask yourself "does this link I am considering benefit my end user's experience?" If the answer is yes, get the link regardless of other metrics (ignore pagerank). If you are not sure or if the answer is no, pass on it and move on to the next opportunity.

11:43 pm on May 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I understand where you're coming from, martinibuster, and you're absolutely right. I have no intention of misleading anyone if I were to reciprocate a link in this fashion. If my blog held no value whatsoever compared to my main site, then I could see it as cheating my link partner. But since my blog does hold value to the user and makes it quite useful to those I link to in my niche as well depending on the kind of site they are, I would hope that this is a situation where three way linking is not seen as some shady attempt to manipulate serps or pagerank.

cnvi, I never thought about that idea of a subdomain specifically to hold your links. I will have to think about that a bit. Though if I was going to do that, I may as well make a subdirectory and just create a links page on my site.

I totally agree that a link opportunity has to benefit the user first and foremost. It's just that if the site that wants me to link to it is better suited on my informational blog than my main product site, I don't want there to be the issue that I am three way linking for malicious purposes when the link is actually better on a site with a bunch of other resource material and is valuable and a part of the main site.

I guess I'm trying to find a fine line where a three way link exchange is actually viable and beneficial in the very same way a two way link would be. I would hope that clearly showing the fact that "site C" belongs to "site A" and is more valuable to be on than "site A" might deem particular three way linking legitimate. But if not, oh well. :)


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