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Reciprocal Linking is Dead!

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Web development: recipocal linking

Reciprocal Linking is Dead!

by Mike Banks Valentine

It was bound to reach this point, and now I've firmly put my foot down as of this past week and have begun to tell all potential future link partners I won't "swap links."

I will link, but I will not "swap links" with anyone now. I require content in the form of articles, press releases and news, quotes, testimonials or some form of content.

I link from the resource box of articles or contact info from the press releases, URL's of the honest testimonials I receive and contributed tutorials. Now the really bad news is that I must like the articles or content which is contributed - and I must play the role of editor to wannabe contributors and discard pieces that don't meet standards I set.

What was it that ruined strict reciprocal links for me?

It happened when I received a polite link request from an apparently well-meaning reciprocal link partner and, as always, clicked through to his requested linking URL. I was forwarded immediately to an affiliate program page which this scammer hoped to slip by without my noticing.

If I had merrily added that link to my links page, he would have another linking partner and would increase his link popularity for his cloaked forwarding URL.

My heart sank as I realized that yet another worthwhile and accepted, valuable web protocol has been subverted, perverted and is now being abused.

Reciprocal linking is dead!

Now just because one scammer has abused reciprocal links and distorted the true purpose of this practice, does it have to mean that everyone else will do this? No. But it does mean that others will adopt the scam technique and the value of links pages will drop dramatically because webmasters will no longer trust the process. We can't.

Scammers are a tight knit group that love to share their scams and schemes with each other. Reciprocal linking is definitely dead and this scam will inevitably go viral, just as every other abuse and scheme before it have done. Reciprocal links pages are as dead as FFA links pages.
Google has already seen the writing on the wall and only shows backlinks with a PageRank 4 or better. Webmasters seeking reciprocal links have consequently adopted a new strategy when seeking link partners. They breathlessly announce that the page your link will go on is ranked at PR4 at Google.

What's next? PageRank creep! Now that linking has been perverted, Google will begin showing backlinks with PR5 and then PR6, etc. Reciprocal link partners will claim that your link will be placed on a PR7 page and so on. Google essentially negated PR1, PR2 and PR3 by showing no backlinks with those ranks from their own index!

So after a bit of agonizing over the state of the web, thinking about how I can't even troll through the 2500 messages that are quarantined by my SpamFilter program because I don't have time, I decided to end link swaps.

Email used to work. FFA pages used to work. Reciprocal links pages used to work. Free classified ads used to work.

What still works? Content works and I am reluctantly going to insist on content from anyone who wants links from my sites or client sites. I've got to like what the contributor has to say and I've got to agree with their article before I'll publish it and link back to them from that article, press release or news.

I've even drafted an email note to use as a template for response to those requesting reciprocal links:

I'd be happy to link to you, but my current method of linking is through articles, not links pages. If you'd like to contribute an article for publication, I'd be glad to link to you through the resource box.

Take a look at those articles I currently use and send your own articles for linking consideration. Be sure to include a resource box with the linking text included within it.

The articles are the only way I link to anyone now. If you don't have any, consider writing a couple specifically for this purpose. I'm sure you also know the value of distributing well written articles for use by other web sites and ezines.


The above link leads to a contributed tutorial article which discusses the value of contributing articles to other sites and lists article distribution sites and free content email lists.

The first few recipients of this email response to their reciprocal link request have responded with polite but obvious surprise.

A couple have said simply, "Oh, I see."

I don't usually hear back from them if article distribution is not something they already do. But a few smart webmasters have set about writing content to distribute with their link requests.

I now do this routinely for search engine optimization clients that retain me for linking campaigns. If that client doesn't write articles of their own, I will then ghost write articles for them and distribute them as a part of link requests to increase client link popularity.

Success on the web is becoming increasingly complex and that means that specialists are becoming more valuable to web site owners seeking visibility and avoiding scams.

The latest scam is cloaked reciprocal links URL's that redirect to affiliate program sales pages.

Reciprocal linking is dead!
Mike Banks Valentine is a Search Engine Optimization
Specialist practicing ethical SEO for Online businesses

Take our Search Engine Quiz to test your Skills Level
More articles for Web developers : Search engines ranking, Technical Side, How To Get More Visitors, How you lose your visitors, My steps to success, Affiliate programs, Visitors by Ezines, Internet Marketting, Make your site known and more READ HERE

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