What Is Reciprocal Linking History

Just a few short years ago, there was a web page description tag called the Meta Keywords tag. It quickly became popular with unscrupulous web masters incorrectly applying keywords in an effort to rank better in the search engines. Google, and many top search engines ended up discounting, and ultimately ignoring keywords. It is still important to include this in your page, but for different reasons.

Increasingly, search engines have been placing more importance on a websites „connectivity“ to other websites to determine how important, or relevant, your site is. This connectivity is done through linking. A link is like vote of confidence (in the eyes of the search engine) that says, „This site counts.“ The more links you have coming into your site means the more „votes of confidence“ that your site is worth a visit. Majority rules, democracy in action!

Who stuffed the ballot box?

Again, unscrupulous types have figured out a way to circumvent the system in an effort to gain position in the search engines. The technique was to build massive amounts of inbound links quickly, triggering the search engines to point to your site. The most effective way for the spammers (for lack of a better term) to accomplish this „fast linking“ was to band together and form reciprocal linking pools, co-ops, alliances, and partnerships. The majority could no longer be counted on to vote correctly. How true!

Google quickly caught on to this method and had to make a decision. It was decided that the majority could not be trusted, and therefore their vote will be discounted. In fact, reciprocal links from sites that have a page rank of PR1-3 don’t even count anymore. What’s more, associating your site with large reciprocal link swapping programs could potentially cause the search engines to label your site as „unreliable“ and have a negative effect on your over all web position.

Educated Voters Rule!

There is a new Vote in town, and it is called the „One Way Link.“ It’s not really new, it’s just more important today. The search engines have determined that if someone is willing to „vote“ for your site and receive nothing in return, than you must be worth a visit.

Every link into your site has a „value“ or „weight“ that is assigned by the search engines. Mathematically, it is very possible (even probable) for a dozen One Way links to have more value than 100 reciprocal links. Think of it as the „New Math“ on the web.

The Hanging Chad….

„So why not go out and purchase some great One Way links and be done with it?“ Is a question I get almost every day. The answer is simple. Google has a patent (yes, a patent!) on its method of determining a web sites overall valuation and relevance. Buying links circumvents their methods, and can absolutely result in being ejected from the search results altogether. What would happen if you woke up tomorrow and your website was no longer in Google?

In addition, that same group of unscrupulous types has come up with all kinds of methods to use the same tactics to turn those link pools into artificial looking One Way links. Google is a lot like the IRS – When they catch you cheating you loose.

The Votes are in.

1. Do not delete your reciprocal link inventory, or discontinue building reciprocal links. Just realize that they do not have the same impact. Swap links with sites that you feel bring value to your web visitor. Exchanging links is considered „natural“ in the eyes of the search engines – that’s a good thing.

2. Focus on building quality one way inbound links from sites that are in the same content arena as you.

3. If you are involved in any unnatural link building practices you need to ask yourself if the risk is worth the reward.

4. Provide outbound links to resources that are similar to your sites content.

5. Consult your SEO consultant if you have any questions – they have your best interests in mind.

6. Get creative – there is more to linking than just directories and websites.

Linking Ideas: Articles, Press Releases, Testimonials, Interviews, Contests, Forum and Blog participation, Social networks, Google Video deployment, and talk to every vendor (with a website) you pay for services, and tell them they owe you a link!

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