Reciprocal linking is one of the oldest methods of SEO and it can still work quite well.
The best method of reciprocal linking is to write individual e-mails to specific webmasters whose web pages compliment your own and tell them that you would like to trade links with them.
It is important to personalize each e-mail, or your e-mails will be quickly deleted as spam.
To achieve the best results, include the following in your initial e-mail:
- Mention two positive items about their web site, so that they know that your e-mail is not a generic spam.
- Include directions to the specific web page where you have added the link to their web site.
- Mention the Page Rank of the page where you have added a link to their web site.
Reciprocal Linking Programs
Reciprocal linking programs exist to help webmasters share links with similar web sites.
Some of the reciprocal link programs are:
If you have a blog, try blogLinker, the automatic link swapper for blogs.
Warning: These link networks can generate a lot of e-mail. You will want to create a new e-mail account just for these networks.
Start a Reciprocal Linking Program on Your Web Site
If you want to trade reciprocal links en masse and automatically, you can setup a reciprocal linking program on your own web site.
Tips on that can be found in How can I add a reciprocal link manager to my web site?
Search for Reciprocal Linking Partners
These web pages exist to help you search for reciprocal link partners in the same market niche as your web site:
In my opinion, reciprocal links are pretty much dead.
I've seen the deteriorating value of these links over time - and, their value seems to be at an all-time low now.
The major problem is that, most webmasters have "themed link pages" from which they exchange links - which is absolute nonsense.
When there are more than 20 outbound links going from a particular page, Google mostly brushes the page off as a "resource" page and doesn't give too much value.
Sitewides are also of not too much value, and i've only seen in-content links working.
Three way linking MIGHT work, but reciprocal linking is definitely dead as a duck.
Great post Ash; this leads us into talking about the two different "classes" of reciprocal links.
I am working a link trade right now which will swap extremely relevant in-content links between two authoritative sites.
On the far other end of the spectrum, you have automatic submission to thousands of links pages.
I think, as you do, that the automated link exchanges which create links on spammy links pages don't work well.
But I've spoken recently with several fairly senior SEO's who say that strategy is working for them. I was quite surprised.
So where does that lead us -- back to testing! We will have to design and create a test for this. It could be as simple as creating an unlinked page on one domain and submitting it to a number of automatic reciprocal programs. Or, a number of separate pages could be created to test different link sources.
What I am doing with reciprocal linking currently is to only trade links with sites that are worth referring my site visitors to. In return, I only accept in-content links from my link partners.
Of course, my niches allow this fussiness. If I were in more competitive or spammier niches, the rules might change for me.
Any strategy will work out - but, its about what works BEST.
Originally Posted by Will.Spencer
Most of these senior SEOs might still be stuck in 1999 where "submission to search engines" was a big deal.
They may get results like moving from position #1497 to #875.
I remember using addme.com
It has been a little bit now but I get a laugh from people who tell me they submit monthly or weekly to the search engines. (yes in 2007 and 2008!)
There are a ton of companies who charge "$1999 Only" for submitting to the major search engines :D
Originally Posted by Shawn
As long as companies like this exist, I will continue to retain my huge growth rates.
Informative Post! The thread definitely goes to my bookmark.
As far as I'm concerned, I still used the old site-wide link trade
method but the new in-content high quality trade method
mentioned by Ash and then Will sounds a lot cleaner and better.
Will, the problem is unless you can find an honest 3rd world employee who understands the work fully and does it honestly, doing reciprocal is very difficult.
Just curious, anyone still using IBP for link building ?
From what experience I have, I can tell you that reciprocal linking works only, when done in content and in a niche, which is not so popular in the marketer world if you know what I mean. For example, no matter how many or what kind of links you swap in the V**gra or Pe**s Enlargement niches, you will not see any results. As for the networks : I always try to stay away from any kind of automated or semi-automated link exchange system.
The in-content links are what Google calls "natural linking". I have found them to be more effective than anything else.
Link pages have been dead for years. Plus, a lot of people who send messages soliciting a reciprocal link are scamming people. When they show that they have already linked to you, they frequently do so from a page that is unreachable by spiders, or the PR has been gray-barred by Google because G has penalized the page as a link page. No PR = no link juice = no benefit. The scam is that they are not providing any benefit to you, but you are providing a benefit to them. They win, you lose. Many naive site owners fall for this sucker trap.
Site-wide links in page footers can bite you, especially if they link to unrelated web sites. I used to belong to the semi-automate link exchange network called Link Vault until Google started wacking all of the sites in the network due to site-wide footer links, even though the Link Vault method only sets up links to related sites. I think site-wide footer links are typically tagged as paid links by GoogleBot.