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Reciprocal Linking Silliness

November 11, 2004

by Mike Banks Valentine © November 11, 2004

I had an email exchange with an SEO client today after his webmaster called him pushing reciprocal linking software (when all this web designer was after was to generate some extra work from a client that hasn’t needed him for awhile). Then that client called me after he received my email denouncing the software, fully convinced by a follow-up phone call from his web designer that the reciprocal linking software WAS valuable.

He had been assured that the spamming, er – I mean, linking software, would increase his visiblity for an inside page on a hot topic currently in the news. He didn’t want to hear my unpopular opinion that reciprocal linking is DEAD!

I tried in vain to convince this client that he didn’t need that software for his review Myriad Pictures flm, “Kinsey” about early sex educator Professor Alfred Kinsey. We had just that morning distributed a press release online which is now posted on over 100 high visibility news sites and Yahoo news picked it up!

These are hugely valuable ONE WAY inbound links that will vastly improve his search engine ranking immediately due to the topical nature and excellent timing of the release. This client is a sex educator and runs an educational web site about sex and love. His press release put down the idea of the use of the new Intrinsa© Testosterone Patch to cure the low sexual desire of post-menopausal women and praised the flm, “Kinsey” about early sex educator Professor Alfred Kinsey. He’ll be top ranked for two highly desirable and valuable (to him and his web site) keyword phrases within the week.

By the way, I HIGHLY recommend this approach for those with newsworthy issues they want to promote to the press. http://www.eReleases.com will send your newsworthy press release to over 100 top news sites, hundreds more radio, television and newspaper reporters, and tons of journalists who have signed up to receive them. Ereleases.com is syndicated by major news organizations and you can gain hundreds of links while generating interviews and even television appearances, all for only $400! Some people will pay that much for worthless reciprocal linking software and installation by webmasters having a slow week. ;-) Back to our story…

I re-affirmed my opposition to the use of the software as we ended our call and he hung up disappointed because he wanted my support and assurance that the sales pitch he got from his web designer on the reciprocal linking software was accurate and that it would do more for him than this press release.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know because he bought the sales pitch from the web designer, installed the software and immediately sent out a sp*m – AHEM, er, I meant to say – email to his newsletter mailing list announcing the availability of reciprocal links and asking them for links to his newsworthy new pages.

When will this linking insanity end?

Following is my reasoned – and decidedly calmer than I am now – email response to him.

Dear Gary,

This link generation scheme is standard for reciprocal link software. The value of “Reciprocal links” is far lower than the value of the ONE WAY links you already have from that press release distribution and the posting of the press release on your site which, by the way, includes linking instructions at the bottom of the relevant pages.

I’ve written an article call “Linking Psychosis is Treatable” which discusses the foolishness of links pointing all over the web.

It doesn’t address reciprocal linking so much as the insanity with which webmasters persue them. Your press release has ALREADY generated a huge number of inbound ONE WAY links that will increase the visibility and rank of both “Kinsey Film Review andIntrinsa© Testosterone Patch pages.

Doing the reciprocal page will initially LOWER your rank because it is RECIPROCAL. There is a concept called “Authority Site” that search engines use where ONE WAY inbound links are ranked VERY highly and reciprocal links are devalued BECAUSE of software like that being promoted by link-crazy folks not willing to do the hard work of generating the more valuable one-way links.

The search engines know about the software available from linking fanatics and DEVALUE pages that use it. Ultimately it can increase your visibility, sometimes, over the long run, but it just isn’t that helpful in most cases.

I’ve taken a hard line about this and get a lot of flack about it from those without SEO experience or knowledge. But smart professional SEO’s agree that reciprocal linking schemes – AND ESPECIALLY SOFTWARE GENERATED PAGES – are not worth much in search engine rank. The search engines are reducing the importance of those type of pages daily because it is too easy and too commonly used by scores of webmasters looking for an easy ranking.

I have written in the past that “Reciprocal Linking is Dead!” in which I outline my linking policy and encourage all reciprocal links requests to submit articles to be used on my site and that I’ll link to them through the resource box of their articles – IF I decide to publish them – but that I just don’t do reciprocal linking – period. I don’t even require them to link to me, but I point out that I have over a hundred fifty articles on my web site available for use on their site if they use my resource box, provide author credit and link to me through my resource box.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. ;-) No matter how unpopular it makes me with software vendors selling programs or link fanatic webmasters looking for extra income and easy solutions.

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