Is Reciprocal Linking Dead?

by Wesley Atkins

To this day I still hear the question asked on blogs, forums and even addressed in newsletters; Is reciprocal linking dead?

Here’s the truth!

The internet relies on links to and from websites. Period!

Google finds your website by crawling links on other websites and does this for the billions of other sites that exist online.

So in essence, reciprocal linking happens. If two similar businesses find each others products and services useful, then why not recommend each other on a resources page..Correct?

Nothing wrong there!

Now the reason reciprocal linking stopped working as well as it used too, is because people took it for granted that it was an easy way to increase the rankings on their site. Like most things on the web, where there’s a spammy way to exploit something, people go hog wild with it..

Therefore by sending out 50-100 link requests emails every day webmasters were easily able to obtain 10-15 links pointing back to your site every day, and back in 1999 this was the only strategy people used to get links.

…and it worked great!

But sites that were poor, outdated and oftentimes – scraped content, were appearing at the top of the search engines due to all the links they had received – and it was time for Google to react.

…and so they did!

Even though reciprocal linking is not as effective as it once was.. It still works if you don’t take this too extreme and use it as the link spamming technique it once was.

Start thinking like Google and you will be much better at SEO..

How to approach reciprocal linking in 2010:

1. If you have a new site, do not start the link building process by gathering reciprocal links first. You need to build authority into your domain first initially and this is not done through reciproal linking… This action will only put your site into the Aging Filter that Google puts on new sites if they fail to achieve enough trust in their site early on.

2. Reciprocal linking should never be used as a sole strategy for link building – mix it up with other strategies like directory submissions, articles submissions, press release distribution, social media interaction, online discussions, guest blogging, link baiting etc…

3. Don’t send out 50+ emails every day or week for that matter to people in *unrelated* industries requesting link exchanges. Find only the best resources for your market and contact them personally by phone or email with a *personal* message.

4. Focus on building relationships with these people and the links will come – try building 1-2 *good* relationships per week. Add them to your recommended resources or links page and then call them or email them. Tell them how you liked their website and have linked to it from your site, then kindly ask them to check out your site for a possible reciprocation. following along above you are not spamming your way to higher rankings, you are merely recommending resources to your customers and contacting the site in question to see what they feel about your site.

Note: Never create a resource or links page that has hundreds of links on it. Choose only a handful of very high quality resources in your marketplace and list those in return for the same. Keep it legitimate!

Because, It’s not the reciprocal linking that Google dislikes its the spammy way people approach it, that’s the problem.

Build a good site with excellent content, then build relationships with people in your marketplace, recommend only the best on your resources page and you’ll see better results.