Reciprocal Links: Do They Still Work?
July 12, 2013
During the early days of the internet, reciprocal linking was considered a great idea. Owners of various websites would exchange information and would create a reciprocal link URL to help each other. Back in 1998, this was known as a web ring and both websites would benefit. Over time, link farming and other black hat tricks to boost your website were attempted and Google put an end to it.
Reciprocal Links : A Little Background
Today, reciprocal linking is still used and while it can help to boost your online visibility, having a reciprocal link that involves you and an unrelated website, can actually harm your ranking in your niche. Google is regularly changing their algorithms to weed out irrelevant websites linking to each other and catch suspicious reciprocal links. This can cause a penalty on a website, whereas good solid links can actually help to increase your visibility.
The important thing to understand is that Google now looks at reciprocal linking as having little to no authority. When determining the popularity and value of your website, it will not consider most backlinks that take place. The exception to this would be highly regarded digital authorities posting a link to you in a particular article and you linking to that article on your website.
Not All Links are Bad
This latter version of the link to your website is often called a resource link. In this section, they are referring back to your website for more information. In this section, the individual who is posting information about you has a link that goes back suggesting that you are an authority on the topic. This helps to build placement and can actually help you to increase traffic and web results.
Keep in mind that while this type of reciprocal linking can help you, the relevancy is still important. If you are selling diet pills and the link lists you as a resource on how to make cabbage soup, the impact won’t be nearly as strong.
What Does the Future Hold?
Of course, with more people finding the loop holes, Google there will be new requirements in place, when the next Google Algorithm is released. Knowing that it can have a negative impact on your business, it will be important for you to take a few moments to think about the stance that Google has already taken in the past and focus on building your online presence. This includes not only toning down on reciprocal linking, but also slowing down on the places you leave your link.
Keep in mind that the third party search engines that people have never heard of paid directories that no one uses and even posting comments on hundreds of websites all at once are going to hurt your rankings in the long run. Knowing this now, the best approach may be to continue to build your website and increase your visibility as an authority in your niche. As people link to your useful pages, you may just find that the boost you have been looking for is found in your own personal knowledge and expertise.
So what do you think about the current state of reciprocal linking? Do you feel that Google is going too far in policing the internet, or are they keeping everyone honest? Sound off in the section comment below.