Reciprocal linking involves finding and exchanging links with other websites in an effort to increase traffic and rankings. While the strategy is relatively simple there are a few areas where you should exercise caution:
- Make sure that your linking partner continues to link with you as there are those that will put up a link to your site and then once your reciprocate will take their link down.
- There are cases of people linking with 302 redirects which may cause Google to assume that your page belongs to the other party.
- Check the PageRank of the page you are linking to. If the page shows a PR0 it could be because its a new page, or it could be a page that Google has penalized. Check it out before you link.
In general, while it may be a good idea to do reciprocal linking to increase your traffic and provide interesting links to your viewers, the bottom line is at this point that the only thing that really matters much with regards to reciprocal linking is the anchor text that is pointing to your page. This could possibly change in the future or it might not.
How to find reciprocal links
The biggest problem many webmasters experience is where and how to find reciprocal links. There are many ways of doing this, among them are:
- Email the websites that share the same directory categories as your own site.
- Use one of the many websites that offer link exchanges
- You can use one of the automated tools for finding links, but you should be aware that they need to be used carefully and that you need to compose the emails requesting links to reflect the content of the site you are linking to. Many webmasters of popular sites have so many link exchange requests that are almost identical that they simply trash them.
- My favorite, when you find a site you like to take a moment to put up a link to that site on your page somewhere, then email the webmaster and tell him why you liked his site so much you put up a link to him and asking that if he would like to reciprocate could he please format the link in “such and such a way”.
- Or you could hire one of the many companies who do this sort of work commercially.
Reciprocal links can be a valuable asset to your site and your rankings but they are not always easy to come by and often represent a large investment of time.
Reciprocal links often do not help webmasters as much as they should because the links are most often not formatted in a way that will help your search engine rankings.
If you are asking for a text link you need to make sure that you specify the anchor text you would like together with the URL. A good idea is to provide the webmaster with a snippet of code that he can simply copy to provide a link formatted as you wish it to be.
If you are asking for a graphic link it is important that there is text in the alt tag similar to that you would use for anchor text. Again a snippet of code that calls the graphic from your site and is ready formatted may just be the difference in getting a link or not