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Reciprocal Linking Leaves Way for Link triangulation and Quadrangulation
Reciprocal linking has been a widely used strategy for web promotion, in spite of requiring significant effort from us webmasters. First you need to evaluate the convenience of every exchange, then do the actual link publishing and finally, it is necessary a periodical check-up of the corresponding link prevalence.
Trying to make things easier for busy webmasters, a wide number of Link Exchange Managers have appeared. These tools are now a very competitive field in the e-Marketing arena. As a result, links in the web have grown much faster than quality contents.
The main purpose of current reciprocal linking is to earn link popularity in the search engines, which means better ranking. However, it ads very little value to the Web, and takes away traffic in the same way as it brings it in.
For the search engines, telling good from bad links is getting more and more difficult, and it makes sense for them to penalize such links.
We have found several evidences showing that reciprocal links are outmoded.
“Google has started to penalize sites that provide two-way links to each other”
“As of October 2005, Google appears to have implemented a new penalty on sites which are excessive with their reciprocal link exchanging”.
“Having too many reciprocal links eventually works against you.”
Are Reciprocal Links Dead?
To verify it, we selected the first 100 websites found in the Google SERP under “SEO”, and ran Back Link Analyzer version 2, which simplifies the analysis task. This tool is free and anyone can check our results.
Reciprocal link exchange can be hard to detect, because it might require complete spidering of both sites. We established a 3-level limit in our crawling.
Some of our findings:
• There was no correlation between ranking and incoming links.
• There was no correlation between ranking and PageRank.
• Keyword density in the domain was a weak indicator of better ranking
• Keyword density inside the home page was irrelevant.
• Keyword density inside the incoming links (anchor text) was relevant. This is the single most valuable ranking factor publicly known, so far.
• Reciprocal linking, either in absolute or relative terms, was found to have a weak negative correlation with ranking.
This facts confirm our perception that more and more sites are now focusing on non-reciprocal inbound links. However, those must be earned with quality content or plainly purchased.
Much easier is a new mode of link exchange, involving triangulation or better yet, quadrangulation.
Triangulation is more difficult to detect than 2-way linking, and quadrangulation even harder. Both techniques are useful for webmasters who manage several websites, since they can use some domains for outgoing links and some for incoming links. Quadrangulation makes easier to compensate the value of incoming vs. outcoming links.
A new generation of Link Exchange Managers with Triangulation and Quadrangulation ability is appearing. Whether Google and Yahoo will start detecting and battling the new schemes is yet too soon to speculate.
About the Author: John Tello works for http://www.foundfirst.com, a company that makes SEO tools, some within the text processing field like Synonymizer software