I’m Calling Shenanigans on SEO’s and SEMs that Hate on Reciprocal Links

Putting Reciprocal Links to the Search Engine Marketing Test:

Most people site the Florida update as one which de-valued the role of the reciprocal link. Most of these people however, are SEO’s who want to charge big money to clients, SEMs who think that clients should go the paid advertising route and avoid SEO altogether, and well-meaning SEOs who don’t know better.

• However, this doesn’t mean the reciprocal link is bad or that Google will penalize you for a reciprocal link. Why else would people have blog rolls? Why else would people link to other people in their industry? Sure you need to watch how your link equity flows, but you don’t have to be overly paranoid about strategies that won’t hurt you. The alternative would create a race to the bottom of people on real estate sites linking to education consultants linking to door to door salesmen, which doesn’t provide a (fair and relevant) way for Google to assign value to links. Googles tactic was merely to stop the practice of mass spam emails (often via automated processes) to webmasters for the sole purpose of getting unrelated reciprocal links.

Second, Google uses your link based relationships on the web to determine where you belong. Here is the caveat: as long as your link is a) with a trusted site by Google b) in your marketing niche or a closely related niche c) has good anchor text, and d) is legit (ie no no follow) you should be fine 95% of the time.

Third, linking out to trusted sites actually builds link equity. This is SEO 101. And Michael at SEO Theory is the minority of one who doesn’t agree. Surprisingly, my bet is on the Aaron Wall theory of SEO here. (see also: Outbound linking for fun and profit)

I eventually want to build a site at least 1/3 on just reciprocal links to prove that these SEOs are either lying through their teeth or just not bright.

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4 responses to “I’m Calling Shenanigans on SEO’s and SEMs that Hate on Reciprocal Links

  1. I was advising people to link out freely to other sites long before Aaron Wall even heard of SEO.

  2. Pingback: Posts about SEO as of January 5, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge

  3. In this case, the proof really is in the PR. While it’s likely that G still penalizes sites that have an entire unrelated directory on their site, if you look at sites in any niche that have a regular links page, you’ll usually find excellent PR and not too many outbound links. There really is no reason to hate reciprocal exchanges; they’re some of the best links I’ve gotten and they work wonders for ranking results.

  4. @Michael Sorry if I misinterpreted something you said.

    @Eli S. Right on!

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