Google now discounts all reciprocal links

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When it comes to link building, there is a very high possibility that all the webmasters have faced a dilemma known as Reciprocal Links. Before we dwell in on the details regarding SEO and reciprocal links, we will have a detailed look at the topic and find out the possible benefits that it has to offer.

Reciprocal links

Reciprocal Links are links between two sites that have been made and connected to each other for various conceivable reasons. The site proprietors may do this to allow guests to see the two websites, as they might be connected, or as a show of partnership. There is a misconception that reciprocal links are not good for SEO purposes and that the major search engines dislike them. But the truth is way more complicated than what it appears to be.

Shouldn’t something be said about websites that connect to each other on each page in their blog rolls? Or, then again connects between sites possessed by a similar proprietor that is sensible! Shouldn’t something be said about sites that cover comparative subjects or give correlative goods or services and find that it’s useful to connect to each other for the advantage of their guests?

What do web crawlers think of resource pages, where sites incorporate pages of links and descriptions to different websites that they figure their guests may discover accommodating and helpful? What happens if some of those sites connect back? Does it have any kind of effect if those resource pages incorporate an announcement on them that they will list your site on their page in return for a reciprocal link back? The answers to all the questions above lie in the guidelines provided for the major search engines.

For example, if we consider Google’s link schemes, there are some points mentioned that can impact the website ratings in a rather negative way. They are as follows:

  • Links expected to control PageRank.
  • Links to web spammers or awful neighborhoods on the web.
  • Excessive reciprocal links or over the top link trading.
  • Purchasing or offering links that pass PageRank.

Even Yahoo mentions the instructions in their Search Content Quality Guidelines that they want the webmasters to avoid such as “Sites cross-linked excessively with other sites to inflate a site’s apparent popularity (link schemes)”.

But the thing to consider is how important are these guidelines to the webmasters. When you search about a particular query on the search engines, the pages that appear as a result of the search are ranked accordingly.. Now ranking the pages is one hell of a task for the search engines, the reason being thousands of pages using the same words you are using in your page for the search. The search engines want to provide the best suggestions at the top of the results or at least, better results than the other search engines. These distinctive signals that a search engine may use to decide the order of pages in search results could be characterized by a couple of various ways.

These signal are classified into three different categories- content based, user behavior based and link based. The content-based signals seek the actual content that appears on the website’s page. User-based signals consider the data that indicates how people might react to your website or web page, the visibility of your website in the search results and so on. The link based category consider the links that are shared between your website and the other sites on the web. A search engine can utilize a mix of a decent number of signals to decide in which order it may indicate pages to the searchers.

The timing of using reciprocal links for the success of your website should be exquisite. There was a time when reciprocal links were widely used as they were very crucial when it came to the aspect of link building. But in recent times, things have changed and the focus has shifted towards the readers (or viewers). It can surely work to make things better for your website in terms of SEO operations. There are a few things to keep in mind in order to make full use of the opportunities that reciprocal links have to offer.

relevant links

Focus on Natural and Relevant Links: You should not ignore this rule just because it is tempting enough to be ignored. You might need to put a reciprocal link in the sidebar so that it doesn’t hold as much weight, however, this wouldn’t look normal to Google. The same can be said in case you’re connecting to something that isn’t important to your site. You need to take care of the standards if you wish to avoid getting punished.

Don’t build your campaign around Reciprocal Links: It is not a wise move to build your entire link building campaign around Reciprocal Links as it can cancel out all your hard work. The goal is to earn links naturally without asking for them and you need to give links back as well after receiving them.

Never reciprocate with a Competitor: The best thing to do is to work with a website that compliments your business model and not with the one that competes fiercely with you. It helps to make sure that the links are not competing with each other and serving the purpose well.

site authority

Authority of the Other Website: If you are exchanging links with a website, it is good to check their authority and likewise the authority of the links they provide. It makes no sense linking your website to a lower ranked website as the link you will receive from them is not going to be worth it. Evaluate the other site in terms of potential and quality of the links they provide as it is a good measure for the authority they hold.

And it is good to know that Google now discounts all the reciprocal links. The algorithm responsible for the reciprocal linking has been altered by Google in order to identify the links that are exchanged by two websites for increasing their inbound links. Google has always laid emphasis on quality content and also the fact that quality content should attract links. The fundamentals of Reciprocal Linking defied this algorithm and hence, Google made some changes in the algorithm to make sure that the practice doesn’t prevail anymore.

Though many people claim that Google will now be able to bust the webmasters who are using three-way link building schemes, one thing is certain- It wouldn’t be a wise decision to center link building strategies around Reciprocal Links.

Recommended Reading: The Importance of Anchor Text in Backlinks

Zac Wallace is the co-founder of Zac Wallace Inc, an ingenious agency offering result oriented digital marketing solutions. He can read a spray chart and a balance sheet and has helped organizations increase their website traffic and sales by up to 3,000%

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