Increase On-line Website Traffic with Reciprocal Linking!

by Doug Williams

Even though reciprocal linking has come under scrutiny by search engines such as Google, having links from other websites is a critical element in every search engine optimization campaign. Linking is at the center of how the Internet works. Link popularity is and I believe always will be a key component in getting top ranking website.

An election analogy works well in explaining link popularity. Each link to your web page counts as a "vote" for that page. "Votes" from websites with high link popularity count more than links from other sites. Links that use keywords that match your page also have their "votes" count more. 

These "votes" add up to PageRank, which Google uses to determine the importance of a web page in the search engine results. If your site gets enough "votes", your website can "win the election" with top rankings and increased web traffic.

The "election laws" are set and enforced by the search engines. The job of the search engines is to give consumers accurate and relevant results if they want these customers to keep coming back. The search engines are constantly changing and improving their algorithms to detect "election fraud" from those who are trying to trick their way into a top ranking spot. The best way to succeed with the engines is to focus on giving good content that visitors would be interested in and then you are working along with the search engines toward the same goals. This includes how you approach your linking strategies.

The SE's are now clamping down on "campaign finance violations" in the form of paid text links. These links typically have poor anchor text and may be on a page that is over saturated with links. Many times these identical links appear on hundreds or even thousands of web pages. The search engines, particularly Google have set-up methods for detecting these links. These links now are being devalued or filtered out completely.

Search engines are also clamping down on "unfair campaign practice" This includes link farms, hidden links, search engine spamming, cloaking, doorway pages and other black hat SEO practices.

So exactly what is a link farm? This is a type of "ballot box stuffing." A link farm is a web page (or even an entire website) that is set up for the sole purpose of allowing webmasters to exchange links with each other for search engine ranking purposes only. These links are usually unorganized and many have little or no relevance to the topic of the website. The key element here is that link farms are not created for the website visitor, but for the sole purpose of getting good rankings.

What do the search engines consider ethical "campaigning"? Don't opt for the quick fix in order to generate instant sales. Focus on good content and designing your website for your visitor, not the search engine. Make your website compliant with what the search engines want, rather than tricking your way to good rankings.

Does reciprocal linking work today? Absolutely! Here are some things you should consider as you develop your linking strategies. The websites you select to trade links with should be of interest to your site's visitors. Choose a theme and topic that is consistent with your website. Keep the maximum links per page to 10 and categorize your links to make it easy for visitors. 

Choose only websites that are high in quality, high in PageRank, and links with your targeted keywords. To get links, try I like this link exchange directory because of its research resources. It has keyword search capabilities and shows the PageRank of every link... and best of all it is free.

Other ideas to consider, try adding a paragraph of text or content to each links page. This tends to give a natural look and less like a link directory. During any link trading campaign change your link text regularly. Add your links on a slow and regular basis rather than all at once.

Link building has always been on the scene, and links have a nice benefit, they drive direct traffic to your site when clicked. They have an added benefit in that they greatly improve your standing with the search engines. But be very careful if you are doing link building purely for the sake of the search engines.

Link building is usually the most time consuming and most powerful part of effective broad based SEO.

This article may be reprinted in its entirety for use in newsletters, websites, article archives and newspapers provided that this resource box is left intact and all links are left active.

Copyright November 2005

About the Author: Doug Williams is the founder and president of Doug Williams and Associates, LLC. DWA is an Internet marketing and search engine optimization firm. DWA also operates a managed linking service "Don't Worry About Links" at Visit 

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Your success is preceded only by how prolific your name and your website exist on the internet. This is the goal of every web marketer, even if they are not aware of it. Word of mouth on the web is how many sites mention YOUR website.

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