The Dangers of Reciprocal Links To Your SEO
Link Trading. You link to me. I link to you. Everybody’s happy. It does work for SEO purposes, to some degree. One thing is clear, though, and that it is not as beneficial as it used to be. Google has come out and said that those reciprocal links aren’t weighed as heavily as one-way links. But that’s not the real problem we want to deal with here. The real trouble with reciprocal links is something else entirely.
The real issue with trading links is the fact that it’s very easy for you to get the short end of the deal. In fact, you might get absolutely nothing out of it. There’s a few ways that this can be done without you knowing it.
- The No Follow Link. ‘No Follow’, if you aren’t familiar with it, is an attribute that can be added to a link. It tells Google to not give any SEO credit or benefit to the site being linked to. In other words, all the other guy has to do is put ‘Rel=NoFollow’ in the link to your site and that link is now worth nothing to you. You link to them in good faith and in return are given an empty shell.
- The Link That Disappears. Other times you’ll get a good link in return. At first. Then, after some time has passed, they take down the link to your site. What’s left? A one-way link from you to them, giving their scoreboard the full SEO benefits.
- The Link On The Page That’s Invisible To Search Engines. One of the tools webmasters use is the Robots.txt file. It allows them to tell Google which pages to index and which ones not to index. Your reciprocal link partner puts a link to you on a page they’ve told Google not to catalog. Google can’t give you any SEO credit if they can’t actually see and index your link, can they? Now you’re catching on.
What You Can Do To Protect Your SEO Linking
What can you do about this? There is reciprocal link software out there, but they can’t catch every technique out there used by less honest websites. Still, it can give you the advantage of protecting you from the most common ways. But do you really want to have to constantly monitor these less valuable links?
There’s nothing wrong with exchanging links with those sites you truly feel are helpful to your visitors or that have good content. Blogs exchange links often due to the traffic they bring, even more than for SEO benefits. That’s a great reason to exchange links.
However, if you have to keep watch 24/7 on these links, it’s probably time to look at other link strategies and especially at acquiring one-way links. Write articles, create beneficial content, start blogging. There’s a lot of ways that can get you the SEO advantages you’re seeking than just link trading. And they’ll probably last longer, too. It isn’t necessarily wrong to do reciprocal linking, but your time and energy can probably be better spent on other efforts.
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Article written by Jonathan Cook