Every day, I get emails from someone or other, in regard to any one of the web properties I have or that I manage for clients, asking me for a “link exchange.”
In the “good old days” .. as in way way back.. think 1997…1998… yes, link exchanges were pretty popular. That was what the internet was all about.. I will link to you, you will link to me, and internet surfers might click on and discover the great information we have for them! Sounds good, right?
Not so much today. Link building through link exchanges or reciprocal links pretty much means nothing. There are just so many websites out there, and going to a page with tons of outbound links on it..will you be clicking on everyone of them? I doubt you’d click on more than a few. And if you don’t find what you are looking for, you’re going back to Google or whatever other search engine you were using in the first place, to try to find some webpage that answers whatever question you have.
Yet today, I still get emails from so called “link builders” asking me for a reciprocal link to their website. They promise me that if I link to them, and they link back to me, that this will be helpful to me in the search engines. This might fool some people that don’t know anything about SEO, but it doesn’t fool me. If you get an email asking you for a reciprocal link exchange, you should probably just ignore it.
Often, these promises of a link back to your site are pretty deceptive too. In their email, the person requesting the reciprocal link from you will provide you with a url to a page on their website where your link to your site will appear. Except, the url is not linked anywhere from their site. It’s just a “lost” page on their site that is unlikely to be found by anyone. Even worse, they may also have that page marked as ‘noindex, nofollow’ which tells the search engines to basically ignore it. So, they get the “link juice” from your website, and give nothing back in return to you.
Although there is nothing wrong with reciprocal link exchanges where there really is value for visitors to your website (and the website you are linking to to provide their visitors with a link to your site) in some circumstances, what you should be trying to obtain are one way back links without the condition of your site linking back. One way back links are far more valuable to you than a reciprocal link exchange, especially with regard to the sneaky methods some employ, as discussed above, to “trick” you into thinking it’s reciprocal.