Reciprocal Links are Dead

reciprocal-links-are-deadIf you are a purist, with a hat whiter than the pope’s, then you probably advocate growing your web site’s traffic organically by producing good content, and connecting with other sites related to yours that are also producing quality content. These connections can come via comments, or natural links that make sense in the context of the content produced. It’s a system that works well for non-commerical blogs, but what if you are trying to make a dollar and a cent out of the internet?

There are plenty of ways to drive traffic to a site, but the granddaddy of them all is gathering backlinks from sites related to yours, ideally using anchor text related to the keywords that you are targeting. Backlinks increase your search engine ranking, which brings in the best traffic – the organic kind that is searching for information. (Note: the anchor text must vary, otherwise Google will see what you are up to and penalize you for not taking the purist approach.)

This is not news. Everybody knows that backlinks are critical, and therein lies the problem. Once everyone knows that links are important, everyone starts trading reciprocal links with each other, and the only way to compete is trade more. That is where we are at today. Once your site is up you should probably be spending 80% of your time linkbuilding. And link building is boring.

My advice to those that are going to take on this mindless and boring task, is to request circular links, not reciprocal links. This is where you offer to link to Target Site from your Linkout Site, in return for Target Site linking to your Money Site. This way the Money Site gets a one-way high quality backlink, without Google discounting it because it is reciprocal. And yes Google does make that discount. The Target Site gets the same one-way benefit so everyone gets a better SERP boost.

In order for this to work you need to have a Linkout Site that is of comparable quality to your Money Site so that people see it as a fair trade. The best way to do this is create a really good article of at least 800 words, with photos and video and host it somewhere such as Squidoo. It will soon get a decent Page Rank, and should be attractive for an exchange, especially as its URL will have keywords that Target Site is happy to be linked from.

If you come across a Target Site that uses the same strategy then you will just have to settle for a Straddled Link where you both post links from Link Sites. It’s still better than a reciprocal. As far as I know straddled link is a new term, but it’s something that sophisticated MFA players have been up to for some time, often in private exchange clubs that are below the Google radar. It’s not really the positive mass collaboration of crowdsourcing, but it gets your site ranked.

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