Archive for June, 2011

Reciprocal Linking

Is reciprocal linking bad? This is the practice where you place a link on your site, in exchange for someone else doing the same back to you from theirs.  I think the answer to this question depends on your site, how well known it is already.  Because if you have a new website with few or no backlinks coming to it, then getting reciprocal links can help you to get started, to help you create your ‘web presence’.

On the other hand if you have an older established website that is already decently ranked by the search engines, then reciprocal linking can be bad. By linking to other sites, you lend your good credibility to them and can thus dilute what you have.  So as your site moves up the ranking ladder, you don’t want to be linking to sites of lesser or questionable value.

And if you do create a link page on your site, here are a few rules to follow:

  1. Give it a good name like “Partners” or “Sites We Recommend”.  Don’t call it your backlink page.
  2. Place links on the page that really will be helpful to your website visitors.
  3. The links should be helpful to your customers, relevant to your industry, and be quality sites
  4. Include not only sites that are linking to you – also link to sites that don’t. Magazine sites about your industry, trade groups, and any other sites people might consider ‘helpful’ to them.

Having nothing but a bunch of links to bogus sites is bad, it identifies your site as nothing but a spammer site engaged in a linking scheme. Google says this about it:

“some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites… and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results”

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Do you really need backlinks?

I’ve worked SEO for some years now, and remember fondly (not) how I would put my websites into various directories, lists, blogs and phone books.  Spent quite a bit of time doing it, and today find that it means next to nothing.

So I saw the image below recently on Wikipedia, under Page Rank, which clearly shows that 1 good backlink will trump a hundred lesser backlinks every time, (the orange website C).  Even though website B (red) has lots more backlinks, website C is almost as high with just the single link coming into its site from a highly ranked site.

So the point I would make here is this: stop wasting your time on getting lots of poor back links. Instead concentrate on getting authority backlinks – backlinks that are from “quality” websites relevant to your own.  I’ll write a another post on this, because it is important enough to deserve its own space.

And to be clear on one point. For a new website just starting out, the lesser known backlinks can and do help to get your site discovered around the web.

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