September 24, 2007

"Yes Virginia, reciprocal linking is more than ok. It's a necessity for all websites."

Link trades, link swaps, reciprocal linking, link exchanges, or whatever else you want to call them, are NOT bad. Like everything mankind has created, they can be bad if used inappropriately.

I'm talking about two or more websites that trade links to and from each other's websites.

There is a lot of talk about why webmasters should avoid reciprocal link exchanges, and even more talk about how reciprocal link exchanges are just not right.

Let's put an end to all the ranting and raving. Let's finally answer the question of whether or not reciprocal links are beneficial to websites, and if they are morally legitimate.

So, are reciprocal link exchanges - or the trading of a link on a website for a link on another website - beneficial? Will they affect a websites ranking in a search engine? Is it a online sin to exchange links with a website? The answer is easy:

Yes Virginia, reciprocal linking is more than ok. It's a necessity for all websites.

The truth is that everyone exchanges links in one way or another. Most people are too prideful to admit it, or are too arrogant to realize they are even doing it.

Google, the leading search engine at the moment, has even been caught exchanging links - as well as selling links. Major corporations like Apple Computers, use a strategy to highlight well-known professionals in articles, then the professionals often link back to the Apple website.

The fact of the matter is: link exchanges are natural. Whether you like them or not, they exist and they always will. If you have a website you NEED people to link to you and you NEED to link to them.

If you don't link, and if you avoid link exchange e-mails like the plague, then you truly degrading the value of your website.

For example: if you run a website that sells t-shirts and you get an e-mail from a website that designs t-shirts, you should definitely take one minute to look into it. Your website visitors may be able to benefit from visiting that t-shirt design website. Your business could greatly benefit from linking with them.

In the end: the internet is a network, not an ant farm. Instead of watching, poking, prodding, and laughing at all of the websites around you, consider networking with them and expanding your visitors experience.

And whatever you do as a webmaster: don't mock link request e-mails. A lot of links will never make themselves known to you unless they e-mail you. Ignoring that fact makes you look stupid.

As for those who are sending out link requests, be sure to avoid bad link request problems.