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Is Reciprocal Linking Worth The Effort?

May 18, 2008
Having incoming links to your website is the single most powerful way to gain recognition in the eyes of the search engines, Google, Yahoo and MSN. The types of links that you have pointing at your website, however, will make a large difference in the type of attention and recognition that you get from the search engines. Things that worked a few years ago are not necessarily the things that work well now. In order to stay on top of the search engine result pages, you need to stay on top of what the search engines require.

Several years ago, it was a fairly easy thing to get to the top of the search engine result pages, or SERPS by launching a massive reciprocal linking campaign. You simply sent out massive amounts of e-mail to webmasters offering a link to their website in exchange for a link back to your own. As a matter of fact, it really didn't even matter what kind of website you were acquiring the links from, as long as the link pointed towards you. Google was counting all of these links as being beneficial and pointing to the fact that your website was an authority on your particular subject.

Once the word was out, so to speak, some people over used this method to the point where Google eventually stopped counting reciprocal links as being all important as far as ranking your website. As a matter of fact, too much reciprocal linking may have even been an indicator that your website was participating in something that they disagree with. Overnight, people lost their position in the SERPS as a result of this change in the Google algorithm. Does that mean, however, that all reciprocal linking is bad?

Reciprocal linking can still be a very important part of your search engine optimization plan. What you don't want to do, however, is to rely entirely on this form of linking. Google loves links and they probably always will but you need to start developing campaigns that will result in one way links into your website from authority websites within your same niche. Links from off-topic websites and reciprocal linking will still continue to give you some weight but the all powerful one way link is what will launch your website to the top of the results.

Even though reciprocal linking may be close to dying, it is still an easy way to gain a little bit of recognition. There are still plenty of scripts out there which make reciprocal linking an automated process and if used properly, can make a difference in your rankings. As of right now, Yahoo and MSN still give credit to these reciprocal links and Google still credits them to a certain extent. Until they are totally dead, it will always be a good idea to include them in your marketing efforts as they may make the difference between you being number two on the listings or number one.
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