Do Not Respond to Reciprocal Link Requests

I am sure you have all received the spam email from a webmaster that has clearly never visited your site before. It usually goes something along the lines of; I have visited your site and think It is relevant to my own, I feel it would be beneficial if we exchanged links.

The request then goes on to tell you how they want their link placing on your site and then gives you a list of pages to give you a link back in return. Now someone who has some knowledge in SEO and how search engines work will simply the email and forget it ever happened, however a less savvy webmaster may agree to a request of this sort.

There is a massive problem with agreeing to a link request of this sort, one of the main reasons is that the page they are offering you a link back from, is a sort of directory page filled with random links to other partners they have found on the web.

The first issue with a link from a page like this is that the page may not even be indexed as it is highly unlikely it has any inbound links pointing to it. If the page is not indexed the link back to your site is 100% worthless.

The second issue is that a link page like this is not a natural link and in fact look’s very similar to a link farm. The page has been created to artificially boost rankings of sites by awarding unnatural links. This will result in a Google penalty somewhere down the line and unfortunately your page may receive some sort of penalty.

The third type of issue with this type of link is that it is not a fair trade; you will no doubt be giving them a powerful link in return for a really poor link, barely worth the effort. I believe this is a totally unethical way to build links and webmasters should stay as far away as possible from link schemes like this.

The problem is webmasters who are not SEO savvy will no doubt go along with this kind of request not realising they are getting little in return and potentially doing serious damage to their own rankings in return. Keep your links natural and if you are going to exchange links make sure you are getting a link back from a powerful page and not just a poor, low quality link directory page.

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