Advice on reciprocal links

I am often asked how it is that, when I put up a new page with new keywords, the search engines like Google often have it indexed within a few days, and almost always have it indexed within a few weeks. Not only that, but except for the most popular keywords, they immediately rank on the first or second search page.

There are several reasons for this. Let me first briefly talk about several reasons other than Reciprocal links!

Quality reciprocal links - how to get yours for free!

reciprocal links are where one site, such as your site, puts a link to my site, and in exchange, I put a link from my site to your site.

With few exceptions, the evidence is that the more reciprocal links you have, the higher you, and the other site rank in the search engines.

The short story - how to get a reciprocal link with one or more of my sites

  1. Put a link to one (or more) of the pages on one or more of my sites.  Rules:
    • Put the link(s) on a page/on pages that have at least 75% content (see note below on links only pages).
    • The ideal seems to be to put a few links on the bottom of each of your "real" pages. The worst is putting a whole bunch of links on one page with no extra text. Note that I will put my reciprocal link(s) to your site on the same "quality" page that you link to my site(s). 
    • Make sure the page the link is on does not have parameters. So http://somesite.com?abc=123 is not acceptable but http://somesite.com/abc123 is. If your link has characters like ? and & in the path, most search engines will not search.
    • Make sure the page you give me can be reached by following links from your "home" page. Note that all of the links to get from your home page to there must not have any parameters either because the search engines will stop when they get to that page.
    • Do not use invisible text. Such as black on black, white on white, for the links. The search engines will catch this and stop indexing.
    • I will match up to a maximum of 3 of your pages on any one site. This means that if you give 3 links to "this site" and 2 links to my photographic site, that I will give you 5 reciprocal links, 3 from this site and 2 from my photographic site.
    • Also, if you own or control, say 10 sites, you could give links from each one, and I'd link back to all 10.
    • I do not provide reciprocal links to sites with nudity, profanity or content that I find offensive or believe may be illegal. (But, as below, I'll tell you if I am refusing to provide a reciprocal link.)
    • Don't Make sure the link to my site is based on a link you copied from the Address bar of your browser. For example, don't use www.MadmanPierre.com because that is a page that automatically redirects to http://madmanpierre.com/Peter/General/Default. So use http://madmanpierre.com/Peter/General/Default to link to (or one of my other pages, such as my FitFarm page - whatever makes the most sense from where you are linking), don't use the http://www.MadmanPierre.com
    • If you have questions - ask me!
  2. Include a bit (or a lot if you want) of text that tells people why you think the link you are sending them to is worth them clicking on it.
  3. Contact me (you can use the "Contact Peter" link on the left. Let me know the URL(s) where you placed the link to my site(s) and I will check them out and, if they meet my simple conditions above, I'll put links back within 14 days (usually much quicker than that.)
  4. I will inform you after I've put up the reciprocal link. If I choose to not put one up (yet), I'll tell you why and, if you want to fix it so that I will, just inform me again after you've done so.
  5. If you take down or move where you have the links to my site, please inform me so I can consider whether to make changes at my end.

Note: Periodically I personally, or using a computer program, do a check to see if your links to my site are still working. I have had people put a link to my site, then, after I put the link to their site, they removed the link to my site. Obviously when that happens, I am usually going to remove my reciprocal links. My sites rank very high in the search engines, in part because my links are "quality" links. I don't charge for providing reciprocal links, but I do expect to be treated fairly.

Some of my sites you could link to include the following sites. These are either sites that I own or that I manage for the owners and have their permission (and encouragement) to manage their reciprocol links. Go to each site, the copy from your adress bar, the full address that you want to link to, for example, http://madmanpierre.com/Peter/General/Default :

The last thing to do is go to each of the following sites and register/suggest your page. Be very careful to follow their rules exactly, especially the first one, because it uses humans to validate everything. No computers there!

Some more details

One thing to watch out for is the sites that specialize in reciprocal links. There are sites that you can sign up for that all they exist for is to provide reciprocal links. They often make money by either selling the reciprocal links or by having all the reciprocal links go through a site that has paid advertising or click throughs.

The search engines know about them, so much so that because google admits that they rank you lower if you use sites like that, these sites have tried to sue google. Last I heard they lost in court (google won.)

You might find one that currently succeeds in increasing your traffic, but when google finds out about them, you are at risk of having your site rank lower. Perhaps much lower. So the best is, if you want to use these sites, have mirror sites. That way you can build one the safe way while building one using the riskier way. If the riskier way works for a while and then flops, your other site has been steadily growing the correct way and will hopefully keep you high up.

Things may change, especially if google loses a lawsuit, but for now, I think it is best to trade reciprocal links on a one at a time basis, and that is exactly what I do.

Links only pages are another problem. Some people have heard that reciprocal links are where it is at. So they create a single page and put 100's of links on it and virtually nothing else. The evidence unfortunately is that these don't work. The computer searches may be fooled, or fooled for awhile, but as soon as a human checker does a spot check, and finds that your page is just a links page, you will get a permanent (or semi-permanent) black mark and your site will not rank as highly as it could. Notice that a human can easily tell the difference between a links page designed to fool search engines and a links page that is a quality directory or other 'useful' links page.

As I sit here, on in 2008, I think back on several so called experts who, since 2000 have been telling me that my ways used to be effective, but they aren't effective anymore. Some have sites that rank poorly, and since all their sites rank poorly, they tell me that the old tricks don't work anymore. (But when I went to visit their sites - they had almost no content, just every "trick" in the book to get advertising or massive links pages) Others have tried to sell me expensive (up to $900USD a month) services to have me rank high - yet when I have checked with customers of theirs, they almost never got the results they wanted, and even worse, some of these expensive "tricks" allowed them to temporarily rank very high, but then, once a human checked their page out, they sank quickly to the bottom, and no chance to get their money back. And, with a black mark so that they are recorded - and the next time google thinks to index them, it finds they are black listed and skips them. What an expensive mistake to make.

In June 2006, I communicated with a friend who wanted me to do business with them. They had spent 100's of dollars trying unsuccessfully to rank high on the search engines. I took the 2 of their keywords, built a quality, content full page around it, and within 6 days, my page was showing up on the first result page from google. Be sure if you are going to pay someone to help you rank high, that they have a proven track record. Don't just fall for the hype.

And again in 2008, I talked with a friend who has spent $500 trying to rank high on search engines. I created a page on one of my siets with the same keywords, and within a couple weeks I had people emailing me and phoning me about the opportunity. Obviously I got up in the rankings properly somewhere.

What it really means is - if you just use the tricks as "tricks" - you may at most, briefly rank highly. If you ignore the tricks and just have content, you might someday rank well. But to my research and ongoing testing, the best is: Provide excellent relevant content AND apply all the tricks. That combination is the one that works - and it just makes good sense. After all, think of it from Google and Yahoo's perspective: If you are searching, and you find that, under google, you never find what you are looking for, but with Yahoo, you usually find what you are looking for - what search engine are you going to use? The search engines WANT to give good solid useful links, it keeps you coming back and looking at their advertisers. So as a web site builder - build good content and then apply all the tricks that help the search engine love you.

And in the mean time, if for free you want to trade links with one or more of my sites, follow the instructions above. We will both benefit. You probably won't magically start to rank as high as my sites do, but it will be a solid step in the right direction. If you want to grow as quickly as possible, take my offer to the max., and talk to others you know that have web sites and set up reciprocal links with them too.