Reciprocal linking is a topic that generates a lot of discussion: everyone wants to know how to get it to work for them. Much of this discussion involves link trading, or linking together their own websites, and whether it’s going to get you in trouble or not.
They invariably fear that they will run into problems with search engines who may consider it cheating. Many of them have heard horror stories about Linking Farms which often get banned from Google along with every page associated with them. This fear is justified by the obvious disasters that link farms can ensue upon a web site. There are very few webmasters who are willing to take the risk and rightfully so.
Misunderstandings cloud the debate on reciprocal links on both sides. Reciprocal links deserve a fair hearing, because some are bad for a website, but most aren’t. In the beginning, almost all sites had plenty of reciprocal links (the tradition of the ‘links’ page), and they worked exactly as intended. Links brought in additional traffic, and affiliate links let people make money. These ‘links’ pages are less and less common now, but seem to be making a slight come back during this period in which SEO work has become a phenomena and a hobby for many web masters. The fact that SEO work is so common now will inherently lead to answers to questions which have been guarded for years. These answers will help people decide if the old fashioned ‘links’ pages are worth having or not.
Most people see nothing wrong with good, old-fashioned link trading, but swapping links is only one aspect of reciprocal linking. These link swaps are allowed and, in many cases, considered beneficial. Link trades are great for web sites because they allow them to communicate a greater amount of information to their visitors. These link swaps are only beneficial, however, if they link to pages that are somehow relevant. Links to completely random pages that visitors will not find interesting are useless and could be considered fraudulent exchanges.
There are also automatic link exchanges on the good side of things, and link farms on the bad one. Link exchanges can be extremely beneficial, but before you allow yourself to get roped into this kind of situation, make sure that it pans out as a legitimate source of traffic. If you subscribe to a link exchange, the links should be hand made by you. They should not be kept in a gigantic database on the middle man’s server. They should also be done upon request rather than automatically. You should be able to look through each link and view each page to insure quality.
Reciprocal links are popular because of the good things they give you: they act as ads for your site as well as increasing your search engine rankings. Some people, however, say that you shouldn’t link to other websites as it decreases your own link popularity – they don’t realize that you need to give a little to get a little.
Third Party Link Sites.
These sites allow anyone to join, like a club – but they don’t usually work to your advantage. They say they’re going to make it easier to find sites that will exchange links with you, but in reality you often won’t get the kind of link quality you were expecting. It’s a bad idea to use one of these ‘link agencies’, as many of them lack basic linking knowledge and have no idea of the best link strategies.
There are some rules that you should follow when you agree to link to another site, and some rules that you should expect the other sites to follow. Many webmasters don’t know how to trade links effectively – you need to teach them. There’s a right way and a wrong way to manage links – always remember that quality is more important than quantity. FFAs with hundreds or thousands of links are completely useless, and no search engine wants them in their index. Many have been banned from the search engines.
The abuse of linking going on today is proof of the ignorance that surrounds link trading – just look at an FFA if you don’t believe me. Trading links has been going on since the beginning of the web, but all it would take for it to lose its popularity is for the search engines to start paying less attention to it, as they will soon be forced to do.