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Reciprocal Linking Turkeys!

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! Halloween is over people! We don’t need the mummies of yesterdays’ linking schemes haunting our Thanksgiving too! Oh, it must be a Thanksgiving TURKEY! A reciprocal Linking Turkey! Can reciprocal linking Santa’s be far behind? OK, I’ll drop the holiday metaphors.

I tried in vain to convince this client that he didn’t need that software for his review of the Myriad Pictures flm, “Kinsey” about early sex educator Professor Alfred Kinsey. We had just that morning distributed a press release online that was 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 new film 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 his press release would do.

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 page.

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. Read it at the following URL:

http://website101.com/arch/archive153.html

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 and Intrinsa© Testosterone Patchpages.

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 the programs or link fanatic webmasters looking for extra income and easy solutions.

Don’t be a linking turkey! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Here’s some free link popularity software if you want to see your own inbound links and those of competitors as rated by Google, Yahoo, Alexa, AllTheWeb and MSN. This article written about experience with SEO client Dr. Gary Schubach, of (NOTICE: This is an Adult oriented site from a sex educator) and is used with his permission. You may reproduce this article on your site if you make all lilnks live, maintain this resource box and provide author credit.

This article appears on the RealitySEO blog with working links to all referenced pages.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • cripchick52 December 3, 2004, 6:40 am

    Mike, I’m not a big fan of the practice of reciprocal linking because #1 it’s so damn time consuming, and #2 those canned link swap emails clog my mailbox. I agree that it’s value has certainly been diluted especially this past year. I visited your page that houses your article “Reciprocal Linking is Dead!” It appears to me that you’re straddling the fence. If you really believe this and think these exchanges are turkeys, then why do offer reciprocal linking software on your Web page?

  • RealitySEO December 3, 2004, 10:07 am

    That software is Link POPULARITY software to find out how many links you HAVE, not to beg for reciprocal links from others. It is a link popularity gauge that shows you the need to send out press releases, articles and gain valuable ONE WAY links. It MEASURES links that the search engines know about.

    The software I was referring to as bad was one that generates form letter type emails begging others to link to you. When you do that, you must then add, verify and manage THEIR links. That is pointless.

    I have several clients that offer reciprocal links through software that allows others to immediately post their links to the client sites. One of those clients has over 3000 outbound links and only 363 INBOUND links pointing to his site. If he once had links from those reciprocal linkers, they have since been removed by the reciprocating webmaster.

    I pointed this out to him and he said, “Yes, I know, but I just don’t have time to check up on people once the link is added. I really do need to clean house.”

    EXACTLY the problem! Wasting your time checking up on reciprocal linkers to be sure they maintain those links is idiocy when you don’t have time to do it. How much is your time worth? Spend your valuable time gaining ONE WAY inbound links and quit wasting time with the low value reciprocals!

  • kog April 7, 2007, 8:48 am

    Awesome post Mike. I wrote about this same thing and I was basically attacked by a so-called SEO who didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground.

    Here’s a link to ONE several posts I wrote on the topic. I hope you like it. (The post title is weird, but I have my reasons…)

    http://activerain.com/blogsview/60797/Top-Agent-SEO-and

    Karen