When a webmaster is faced with the seemingly colossal task of increasing a website’s search engine ranking, he or she usually begins with the easiest and cheapest tasks. Link building can be one of the easiest and cheapest means to increase search engine ranking so web administrators usually give this a lot of effort.
Link building per se can be a time-consuming and complicated undertaking. However, through reciprocal linking link building has the potential to be one of the most economical and effortless ways of increasing a website’s search engine ranking.
— Reciprocal linking
Reciprocal linking is the process of exchanging links between websites. One web administrator agrees to post another website’s link on one of his or her pages, in exchange for a similar link on the other website.
Ideally, reciprocal linking is a win-win situation for webmasters. A website could gain so many inbound links this way. Furthermore, it is not a difficult matter to convince other websites to post an outbound link because these webmasters also gain inbound links in the process.
— When reciprocal linking hurts instead of helping
However, search engines do not deem all inbound links equal. The origin of inbound links matters in the ranking configurations of search engines. On the other hand, search engines do not distinguish among the direction of the outbound links. In effect, search engines make distinctions on inbound links so not all inbound links count equally towards page rank, but they don’t make such a distinction on outbound links and all outbound links count equally against page rank.
Search engines look at the quality and relevance of the pages on which the inbound links are posted. The higher the page rank of the inbound link source page, the greater the weight most search engines give to that particular inbound link. Likewise, the more related to the destination website the inbound link source page is, the more the inbound link matters in rating page rank.
This inequality in inbound links taken together with the equally diluting effect of outbound links should make it very obvious that reciprocal linking can hurt more than help a website’s search engine status.
— To make reciprocal linking count
Reciprocal linking is basically a good SEO practice and with a good exchange linking strategy, the harmful effects of reciprocal linking could be eradicated in their entirety. This objective can be attained only through careful deliberation before permitting or soliciting a link exchange.
1. The search engine ranking status of the potential link partner. This is the number one consideration in choosing reciprocal linking partners. A web administrator should seek reciprocal linking with websites or web directories that are known to have high engine ranks as inbound links from these sites are more valued than others. The rank of the actual page where the inbound link would be posted should also be considered. Even if a site’s overall ranking is high, an inbound link from that site may not help at all if the page where the link would be posted has zero page rank.
2. The relevance of the potential reciprocal linking partner’s content. Inbound links from similar-content websites carry more weight than inbound links from unrelated websites. Webmasters should choose relevant websites to link up with.
3. The position of the links on the other website. Some webmasters trick other webmasters into giving them inbound links without giving favorable link exposure to the latter’s links. Webmasters should intermittently check the position of their links in their link partners pages.