Linking to relevant or frequently visited web sites has been a phenomenon on the internet. Reciprocal link exchange is a somewhat mechanical form of this phenomenon. In reciprocal link exchange, webmasters get into an agreement (usually no paper documents, so don’t be worry) to link to each other hoping to increase link popularity of both parties.
If you have an understanding on Google Page Rank, you can understand the attempt. Rather than keeping apart, linking two web pages increases value of both pages. Since link popularity plays a major role in search engine rankings, webmasters have made a big weight towards it and this very reason also has led to misuse of this technique.
Effectiveness of Reciprocal Links Exchange
Reciprocal link exchange is mainly effective in two aspects, in link building and in traffic building (which is less considered and can be really effective if you put it right). There is a school of discussion that reciprocal links are becoming less effective in search engine optimization over one way links (links that you don’t link back).
But remember that if you only engage in relevant web sites, both links come in go out are in same theme which are two good SEO practices. If you get links from relevant sources SEs can assume that you are reputed among the community and if you link to relevant sources then intuitively you increase the value of your content to both your visitors and to SEs. When you got tons of irreverent links from low quality sources and when you link to tons of irreverent sources, exactly the opposite can happen.
Considering traffic aspect, if you have just 100 link partners and all those links are in visible scopes then chances are you get at least 2 visitors per day in average. 200 targeted visitors per day? Wouldn’t it be nice? Remember that this is an overlooked aspect and actually difficult to achieve with the way most of the webmaster doing it. However keep the effectiveness in mind and always try to achieve it in your campaigns.
Natural Way of Reciprocal Link Exchange
This is the way that comes from the birth of World Wide Web and still exists. As a way of increasing the value of your article, you mention relevant sources in it. Since it’s something that goes into your visitors rather than to a buried section of your website, your visitors would visit mentioned sources.
Those webmasters can see your referrals via their log files. These notices lead to consider you as a source in their articles. Remember this is extremely effective and really happening, especially in blogsphere. So, never hesitate to mention good sources just because they don’t have an obvious way of linking back to you.
Mechanical Way of Reciprocal Link Exchange
Unfortunately, depending on the competition, natural links wouldn’t come to you at all (especially at the beginning). That’s where you need to (always decide whether you really need) implement a dedicated way. In this way, you keep a directory (usually called Resources, Links, Partners etc) for your link partners.
Then you locate prospective link partners and ask for a link exchange (probably after adding links to them). If they agreed, they will link back to you with the Title and Description you provide. If not, you can decide whether to keep their links or not. If the case was being new then you better keep the links and contact them later.
You will then have to do occasional check ups to see whether they still link back to you and remind them if they don’t. This can be done manually (tedious) or through a specially designed tool (efficient). Below are useful articles to build an effective reciprocal link partner directory.
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