Reciprocal Links 2.0

There's a new form of reciprocal linking that is sweeping the blogging world. Big name bloggers are promising to link to any other blog that writes a review about them. At first blush this seems like a win-win situation, but I think one side is getting a much better deal than the other.

First off, let me remind everyone that the idea behind the original reciprocal linking efforts was to improve search engine rankings by getting as many inbound links as possible. Such links were a key ranking factor used in Google's algorithm and the method worked for quite some time. However, the value of these sorts of links has diminished as Google has tweaked its algorithm to identify unnatural linking patterns with the intent of discounting the value of these types of links.

Reciprocal Links 2.0 adds a new element to the game. This updated effort has people writing reviews and including a link in that review. This is good for the site being reviewed because it obtains a link from a page with relevant content. Unfortunately the reviewer, in exchange for 200+ words of content, gets just a link back from a page full of other links with no content. Because of this, I believe that the value of these links back to the reviewing sites is limited even if the PageRank of the reviewed site is relatively high.

However, I will admit there's one angle to all of this that might still make the effort worthwhile. That element is the Technorati rankings which is a system that is easily gamed. A high Technorati ranking can attract additional visitors and have a snowball effect. Also, a high Technorati ranking can help increase the value of the site since such rankings are used in the calculations used by the likes of ReviewMe and TextLinkAds to determine how much a site is worth.

So if you're interested in this form of link exchange, check out Tyler Cruz's and John Chow's request for reviews.

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3 Comments

  1. If only Google practiced what they preach. here is what Google say in their google webmaster help area: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66356 Examples of link schemes can include: * Links intended to manipulate PageRank * Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web * Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging ("Link to me and I'll link to you.") * Buying or selling links that pass PageRank The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page's visitors? This however is not what is actually happening, unfortunately i know sites that are ranked only from link exchanges, and the keywords are the big most competitive ones. Until this has been implemented in the google ranking i am not sure when honest SEO can really make a difference. Why bother with fantastic content when lots of easy links will work just as well?

  2. Marios Alexandrou

    Doug, I suspect most people skip over the reviews just as you do. That's part of the problem with them appearing as a list in a post with little commentary. If John and others somehow highlighted their favorites or did something with the reviews then at least some reviewers would get something for their work. I submitted a review a while back and watched my traffic. I got a whopping 34 clicks. I'm expecting the SEO value of the link to be minimal as well especially with the dubious links now appearing on John's homepage under the featured sites heading.

  3. It does appear a little out of control. I did a review for John Chow quite a while ago and the reciprocal link was nice but the batches of reviews did not seem to come as often as they are now. I find myself easily identifying the post and just moving on to my next read. One interesting note... the more you wait, the better the link is for you. You shouldn't jump on the bandwagon when these guys are in the top 1000 - wait until their in the top 100, then do a review!

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