Link building is a critical part of promoting your website. Having incoming links alerts search engines to your presence, and allows people to find your site directly through other websites. However, you don’t want just anyone linking to you, as Google can penalize you for this. While one-way links can theoretically provide more “page rank” and “link juice”, reciprocal links are usually easier to get, and still provide great benefits in the form of traffic and increased search engine exposure. Here are five tips to make the most out of reciprocal link building.
Be Specific, Avoid The Link Farms
Exchanging links with sites that are similar to yours provides two important benefits. You’re more likely to get targeted traffic from a related website, and you don’t run the risk of turning your links section into a “link farm”. Stick to linking with quality websites that are similar to your own, but only if they’re doing the same. Chances are there isn’t a shortage of good potential link partners to pick from. If you see a site with hundreds of unrelated links, run away! Quality beats quantity.
Choose Frequently Updated Websites
A website that’s updated regularly makes a great candidate for a link partner, especially if it has good Google page rank and/or search rank positions. Sites that are updated more frequently rank better in the search engines, and attract repeat traffic. This will mean more potential traffic from visitors clicking your link. (Conversely, it’s important to keep your own website updated regularly, too.)
It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know
Once you’ve found a quality link partner, a good way to find more reciprocal links is to see who that website is linking with. Using this approach, you can expand your network of contacts and build many links. Not all sites will engage in reciprocal linking, but by networking through your existing link partners, you should be able to find quite a few that do.
Avoid Automated Link Exchange Scripts
The best kind of link is hard coded and contains your URL in a format that will benefit your rank on Google. Many webmasters use automated link swapping scripts in order to save time. Try to avoid sites like these. Many times you’ll sign up only to find out the webmaster has not logged on to approve any new sites in weeks, or even months. Find sites that manually add links, and make sure to do the same on your end.
Main Page Over Links Page
A link from another website’s home page typically provides more visibility and page rank than from their links page. Keep in mind that if you’re going to request a home page link, the other website will most likely expect the same in return. Look for websites with link partners on their home page, and link to them from your home page. A website with its link partners on a separate link page shouldn’t be ruled out automatically, but home page links are preferential.