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Reciprocal Link Exchanges.
The Safe & Effective Approach.

By Tony Subia
Subia Search Engine Optimization

Link popularity, particularly when strengthened by a link reputation is a significant driving force of higher search engine ranking. But you must be careful because linking mistakes can devalue the benefit and abusing search engine guidelines can even result in banning your website from engine indexes.

Long-term link popularity success mandates that website owners establish a Link Building Policy with assigned responsibility and accountability. It is a critically important component of search engine optimization where both intentional and innocent mistakes can destroy years of hard work and websites success.
Reciprocal Linking Policy Approach
1. Compatibility With Your Website
Seek link exchanges with compatible and complementing websites related to your site's content and user interest. Relevancy is rewarded by the search engines. The more closely products and services area aligned… the better. For example, links between two real estate agent sites are very compatible. Links between a real estate related site with a home mortgage broker would be complementing. A link exchange between a real estate agent and a pet food manufacturer would be completed unrelated.
Any inbound link to your website provides a degree of link popularity value unless the sending page is penalized or banned by a particular engine. But, it's best to limit reciprocal linking with sites that are compatible.
2. Focus On Gaining & Sending Natural Referrals
Reciprocal link exchange should provide a mutually advantageous marketing connection to users that may be seeking compatibility alignment to satisfy related solutions, needs or desires. For example, a website that sells shoes would be a natural fit to a site that sells socks. A furniture distributor would be complementing to a carpet distributor.
3. Look For Strong Transfer Value
A link from Web Page A to Web Page B is a popularity vote by Page A for Page B. However, all links do not transfer equal value. The greater the link popularity of the “ sending page ”, the greater the vote for the “ receiving page ”.
To illustrate this, we'll use Google's version of link popularity with it calls PageRank™ (PR). Through its Toolbar, Google “ estimates ” the PR rating of a particular web page with its PageRank “ Green Bar ”. It estimates PR on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the greatest link popularity value.
There is significant evidence that the PR value of a web page is transferred in ratio across the number of outgoing links on the same web page. Hypothetically let's assume a page has an estimate PageRank of 6 and has 6 outgoing links to 6 different web pages. Simplistically, each “ receiving page ” would realize a transfer of link popularity value of 1 (6/6=1). If the number of outgoing links were reduced from 6 to 3, the transfer value would be 2 (6/3=2).
Using the above examples, your greatest derived reciprocal linking value would be from a web page with a PR 10 with its only outgoing link being your receiving web page. Of course that's utopian. Ideal reciprocal link partners would be web pages with PR8s, 7s, 6s, 5s, etc. with the fewest outgoing links.
Those are great targets, but do not exclude reciprocal links with low PR rated web pages. They all add-up and provide value.
4. Avoid Links to Bad Neighborhoods
Links to websites that practice spam methods or free-for-all (FFA) link farms must be avoided. Links to bad quality sites can get your site penalized or banished. It's often difficult to determine a bad link. Review the coding of reciprocal sites looking closely for spam practices. If you discover such abuses, do not exchange links.
Using Google's Toolbar, check the PR rating. If the PageRank Bar displays a totally “ gray bar ”, the site is either yet to be indexed or has been banned. If the PR bars show a totally “ white bar ”, the PR is 0 which could either be an applied penalty or simply has not inbound links if it is a recently launched site. Proceed cautiously.
Link Farms can be a group or family of websites where all link participants cross-link to all other participants. Or a program where every participant uploads a common link page to its site that includes all participants. Do not participate . Inevitably your site will be penalized or banned.
5. Inbound Links Must Be Traceable By a Spider
Verify that all incoming reciprocal links are hard-coded HTML links and that any link partner pages are linked from its home page. There are unscrupulous webmasters that may hide your return link from search engine spiders by creating an “ orphaned ” (unconnected) web page or use a JavaScript link, which will not be detectable by a spider and therefore would not transfer link popularity value.
6. Continuously Verify Reciprocal Linking Quality
Some unethical webmasters will disengage a reciprocal link without notice. Monitor link partner pages frequently to verify active reciprocal links to your website, Periodically check link partner sites for spam methods. If you discover spam techniques, dissolve the reciprocal exchange. Websites that practice search engine deception will eventually become “ bad neighborhoods ”.
Seek quality compatible reciprocal link exchanges. Avoid exchanging with bad neighborhood sites which practice spamming methods. Ignore link farms and verify spiderable inbound links. Focus on sites with higher link popularity but don't avoid quality sites with lower link popularity. An effective linking campaign takes a lot of time. Dedicate time frequently. Establish a written policy and delegate central responsibility and accountability. The rewards of an ethical approach will be long-term search engine ranking success.
Copyright © 2003 by Subia Corporation
Tony Subia is the CEO of Subia Search Engine Optimization , a search engine marketing company and Subia Creative , a marketing communications graphic design agency.

  ©2004 by René Fong at Free Home Base Business Opportunity.Com