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The Devaluation Of Reciprocal Links

Written By: John Lessnau

Three or four years ago a massive link trading campaign could get your site to the top of the Search Engine Rankings (SERPs). However, things are changing quickly concerning reciprocal links. Companies like LinkAdage [ http://www.linkadage.com] are receiving increased reports that reciprocal links are becoming a less effective part of SEO. In fact, it now seems sites that go overboard with reciprocal link campaigns are getting penalized in the SERPs by having most of their reciprocal links completely ignored by the search engines.

Adding to the problem are the Link Exchange Networks that are popping up all over the web that put websites at risks associated with being part of an artificial linking network. Remember, any “link network scheme” is only as strong as its weakest link. It is to your advantage to stay away from these link exchange network schemes, programs, or clubs if you want to keep the search engines happy. If your dead set on trading links, do your trades one-on-one with other webmasters and not through some multi-level like link trading scheme. Remember, if you participate in an artificial link exchange network, one slight algorithm adjustment can knock all the participating sites out of the search index in one swoop.

Websites should have no more than 15% reciprocal or traded links. The key ingredient to SEO linkage strategy is to make your backlink structure look natural. Websites with huge amounts of reciprocal backlinks and few one-way links are clearly trying to game the search engines and today’s search engines algorithms are smart enough to spot and penalize these websites by potentially ignoring all of their reciprocal links. If you have gone too far with your reciprocal linking program, you are at risk of those links simply not being counted. This makes it extremely important to only use reciprocal links in moderation.

If you read any of the major search engine forums, you will see lots of threads about established websites that have been top 10 in the SERPs for years, suddenly dropping to the top 100 without making any changes. I have had the privilege of studying many of the affected sites, and the common denominator seems to be an over reliance on reciprocal linking programs. We believe that reciprocal links that formally counted as “real” backlinks are now being seen for what they are – links traded to game the search engine algorithms. If a website passes the 20% reciprocal link threshold, there is a very real danger that all of its reciprocal links will be discounted. The effect of this can be a disastrous drop in the SERPs. It seems many websites that have thousands of reciprocal links suddenly are only being credited for a handful of natural links they have accumulated over the years.

So what can you do?

If your website currently ranks well but relies heavily on reciprocal links to achieve its good rankings, now is the time to start figuring out a strategy to increase your percentage of one-way links to reciprocal links ratio. Here are a few simple things you can do to achieve this goal:

** Offer something on your site that inspires other webmasters to link to your website ** Write articles for content hungry sites in exchange for a link to your website ** Eliminate any cross-linking between your own sites ** Delete some of your reciprocal links to garbage websites ** Delete reciprocal links to totally unrelated websites ** Delete any reciprocal links received though participation in an artificial link network scheme. ** Start buying one-way links from related websites
About the Author

John Lessnau, the CEO and founder of LinkAdage Text Link Advertising center, invites you to visit http://www.linkadage.com to learn how you can make extra money buying and selling text links on your websites.

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