Mention reciprocal linking on any internet marketing forum and you will be sure to get a barrage of heated replies.
There is a continual debate about the advantages and disadvantages involved in reciprocal linking and both sides make convincing statements.
So, should you or should you not get involved in reciprocal linking? Ultimately, the decision is yours but here are some guidelines:
1. The main goal of any linking strategy is to get more traffic to a website. Reciprocal linking can work for or against you in this matter depending on the site that you exchange links with.
If you exchange links with sites that receive a lot of traffic, some of that traffic may be diverted to your site.
On the other hand, if you exchange links with a low traffic site, you may divert some of your traffic to the other site without seeing a similar return.
The solution is to exchange reciprocal links with a site with a page rank no lower than one level below yours and to try to exchange links with many sites with higher page rank. Ideally, you would seek to exchange links with sites that have at least a PR 4.
2. Don’t exchange links with everybody that asks. What advantage is there in exchanging links with a site that sells wedding favors when your site is about dog training?
Anyone that visits the wedding favor site will be looking for information concerning weddings, not dog training, and very few will click on your link regardless of how high the page rank is for the wedding site.
The key here is to exchange links only with sites that are relevant to your site or to your keywords.
3. Avoid exchanging links with sites that have a huge link directory. If your site is listed on page 43 in your category of another site’s link directory, few people will ever see your link.
Although a link will be generated to your site for the search engines, you will not receive much traffic from the link exchange.
Try to exchange links with sites where your link will be displayed on the first, or at the most, the second page of another site’s link directory.
4. Build online relationships. Exchanging links with other relevant websites is a great way to start building partnerships with other website owners and may open the door for future joint venture requests.
5. Build your link popularity. Most search engines view sites that have many links to them as being important.
So, the more sites that link to your site, the higher your site might rank. But again, make sure that all reciprocal links are relevant to your site or the search engines will penalize you.
If you do decide to get involved in reciprocal linking, join only well established link exchanges that allow you to approve or disapprove the link.
Avoid link farms or link exchanges that will automatically exchange your link with their entire database regardless of the relevancy to your website.
The optimum way to set up a link page is to enter all links manually. Yes, it is time consuming but when you are starting out, this is the best way to do it.
You would first need to set up a page on your website just for your link categories. You can call this page anything you like such as Links, My Partners, Link Partners, My Link Partners, etc.
Set up this page with the major categories and subcategories that are relevant to your site. Then, set up a page for each subcategory that will contain the actual links.
Test to be sure that whenever anyone clicks on a subcategory that they are taken to the appropriate link page.
Prepare a short 3 – 5 line ad about your website or your product and include the URL to your website. This should be in HTML code for easy uploading.
Each linking company has its own procedure, but generally, each time you ask to exchange links, you’ll need to copy and paste the other web site’s HTML code onto your link page under the correct category and subcategory. You will then need to upload the updated page to your website.
Once this is done, let the other website know on which of your pages they can find their link. If the other website owner approves the link exchange, they should add your link to their link page and inform you on exactly what page you can find it.