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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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