Part of linkbuilding for beginners month At Hobo!
A lot of seo will say avoid reciprocal links because they are less benefit today. Some years ago it had seemed apparent that ranking improvements via reciprocal linking strategiesÃ‚ had been to a large extent nuliified. I remember reading in the forums something like a 90% reduction in effectiveness – statistics, eh?.
Theory – If someone links to my site, and I don’t link back to them, that’s said to be a good link. A one way link. When you link back to that site, that’s what a reciprocal link is.
If a very trusted site links to my site, and gave me a ranking boost, am I expected to believe that linking back to them will remove my ranking boost? I don’t believe that to be the case. I don’t think it aligns what Google is trying to do (when not trying to make money) – ie improve their search results.
When a trusted site, or a site with online business authority, links to a site it deems trustworthy, and boosts rankings to improve it’s SERPS in line with it’s algo, it’s not going to dump that site back down the rankings just because it reciprocates.
Linking back to a site that links to you is actually a very common thing on the web. All these links build your own sites trust and authority in Google, which you can unlock with fresh topical content via a blog for instance – which I think is more useful these days than ranking for a major keyterm.
Consider the small site that links to it’s industry body, and a year down the line the small site is a big player, with links from the industry body. Is that link useless?
I would think Google is a lot smarter than that, at some level anyway.
I think Google would at all times take into account the trust and authority of the sites in question.
Perhaps in the algo it’s about who links first, but even then, I think it’s about HOW TRUSTED the MOST TRUSTED SITE IS IN THE PARTNERSHIP and whether or not Google will like the links. I would think trust in a site lifts it out of the normal filters Google applies to low quality sites, or untrusted sites.
My rule of thumb is I don’t mind reciprocating links at all, especially if the other site is more authorative or is highly relevant to my audience and I never use low quality reciprocal linking between untrusted sites as an actual ranking improvement strategy.
I never answer reciprocal linking request emails, or send them out. I never link to a site JUST BECAUSE THEY LINK TO ME, because the chances are, they are linking to any site out there reardless or not if it is in, or has the potential to be one day, a bad neighbourhood, and Google reserves the right to penalise you badly if you link to one of these.
- avoid low quality reciprocal links where possible, and avoid get-links-quick schemes
- try and get other sites to link to you first, Google has a LONG memory
- don’t worry about reciprocating links with real trusted sites
- don’t use reciprocal links as a ranking improvement strategy – get those kind of links elsewhere
- don’t just link to just anyone, especially just because they link to you