Reciprocal Links Good For SEO And Google Ranking

Reciprocal Links Good For SEO And Google Ranking

ne of​ the​ important factors in​ ranking well on​ search engines such as​ Google is​ ensuring that you​ have a​ number of​ links pointing from other websites to​ your website. Website links can be a​ confusing thing,​ there are many terms used to​ describe them including one way links,​ reciprocal links,​ backlinks,​ inbound links but to​ explain what I’m talking about here - lets say you​ own ACME Shoe Sales,​ and you​ are on​ another website say aussie fotwear and you​ see a​ link that says “Visit ACME Shoe Sales” and you​ click on​ it​ - and it​ takes you​ to​ the​ ACME Shoe Sales,​ then this helps the​ ranking of​ ACME Footwear.

This type of​ link is​ called an​ “inbound link” to​ ACME,​ or​ confusingly,​ is​ sometimes referred to​ as​ a​ Backlink for the​ ACME website. These backlinks or​ inbound links tell Google that someone else thinks that your website is​ worth linking to. if​ lots of​ people think your website is​ important enough to​ create a​ link to,​ then this tells the​ search engines that your website must be important.

So how do you​ get these links to​ your website?

Well,​ there are many ways to​ do this including posting messages to​ forums with links to​ your website,​ listing your business in​ online directory websites,​ getting business partners to​ link to​ you,​ paying people for links (a risky practice these days),​ and “Reciprocal Links” where you​ agree to​ link to​ someone if​ they link to​ you. Many people still exchange links with others hoping that they will rocket to​ the​ top of​ the​ search results because “their cousin who’s an​ it​ guy told them that was how to​ get ranked on​ Google”.

Reciprocal links - will they help?

The answer is​ yes and no. a​ few years ago,​ reciprocal linking alone would get you​ ranked well on​ the​ search engines. the​ problem was that everyone figured this out and so many professional SEO companies abused the​ practice and setup massive reciprocal linking programmes - have you​ ever got one of​ those spammy emails from people asking you​ to​ link to​ them if​ they link to​ you? the​ practice is​ still alive and well.Give the​ disproportionate number of​ links that various websites ended up obtaining by the​ practice,​ the​ search engine companies caught on​ that most of​ this was an​ artificial practice,​ and they started to​ discount the​ value of​ links pointing to​ websites where that website linked back to​ the​ linking partner.

So they wont help?

The answer is​ yes,​ and no. There are two benefits you​ get from a​ link from someone else’s website that points to​ your website.

* a) Referral benefit
* b) Ranking benefit

Referral Benefit

By this we’re talking about the​ fact that if​ someone is​ on​ the​ other website,​ and they come across your link and they click on​ it​ - well they arrive at​ your website. if​ the​ place they found your link was on​ a​ site that is​ somehow related to​ your business (if you​ sell shoes,​ they may have been on​ an​ othopaedics website,​ or​ an​ price comparison website showing differnt footwear available for purchase in​ your country) then they may well be interested in​ shoes and so this could be a​ valuable website visitor. if​ they found your link on​ an​ online gambling website and clicked on​ it​ by mistake - well clearly there is​ limited benefit you​ receive from their visit.So typically speaking,​ referral benefit is​ strong when the​ link comes from a​ related website that is​ not competetive in​ your field (if you​ sell pillows,​ think bedding websites,​ if​ you​ sell tyres,​ think car websites etc)

Ranking Benefit

Ranking benefit is​ what we discussed earlier where the​ search engines will recognise this link as​ a​ vote of​ your websites importance and give you​ weighting / ranking for this.

So back to​ Reciprocal Links - will they help?

The answer is​ yes and no….but this time,​ we’ll try to​ answer the​ question I promise! if​ a​ website owner approaches you​ who has a​ website that is​ related to​ your industry but not competetive to​ your business,​ and you​ think that people on​ their website may be the​ right sort of​ target audience who you’d like to​ have come to​ your website,​ then by all means exchange links with them. Forget about the​ search engine ranking issues - if​ this business attracts people who are the​ sort of​ people who would buy or​ deal with your organisation (ie same area,​ same interests,​ same product category) then having a​ link from their site to​ yours has enough inherent value to​ exchange links. Same applies to​ whether a​ link should go on​ your website. Are your visitors going to​ find it​ interesting? Will it​ add value to​ their experience of​ your website? if​ so - go for it.

If a​ website from an​ overseas website approaches you​ but you​ don’t sell to​ overseas customers,​ or​ if​ a​ website from an​ unrelated industry approaches you,​ then don’t exchange links in​ the​ hope they will deliver strong rankings. on​ the​ issue of​ ranking,​ there is​ still much debate in​ the​ SEO industry about whether any rank is​ achieved from exchanging links. My personal view based on​ our SEO experience is​ that a​ small number of​ link exchanges with high quality “authorititive” websites in​ your industry will help to​ some extent. Be careful though,​ as​ linking out to​ a​ range of​ useless link partners who have sites filled with thousands of​ spammy links could actually hurt your rankings. if​ the​ person asking you​ to​ exchange links fits this category don’t do it.

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