Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Tina Willis on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 12, 2018).

Is it an unsubstantiated myth, or true, that reciprocal links do not help?

Is it an unsubstantiated myth, or true, that reciprocal links do not help? If true, is this page to page, or site to site? Also, if true, could you share any studies showing this? Or does anyone having any experience suggesting that they DO help? I`m talking about domain to domain, not page to page (meaning: different pages & keywords). I understand they are supposed to help the user -- they will do so either way. But do you know whether they *help* / improve / boost / increase search rank if there is a reciprocal link back to the linking site?

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Michael Martinez: Let me make three points. FIRST, no one outside of a search engine knows which links contribute to any ranking success (or penalties or downgrades). SECOND, the search engines *tolerate* natural reciprocal linking because that is how the Web works. THIRD, they watch for organized, scalable reciprocation (aka "link exchanges") and specifically forbid it in their guidelines if it`s intended to influence their search results -- and they don`t share any specific information about how much is too much, etc. So, if you`re just interested in helping get another site indexed then you`re probably okay with what we discussed in your other post. If you`re hoping to scale it up somehow purely for the sake of SEO, I think you`re asking for trouble. https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356
  • Tina Willis: Thank you. This is actually a different issue from my other post (meaning I had two different questions). The other post involved how to get things like directory changes crawled, because I recently converted from http to https. And, going forward, I`m developing other links that will not involve reciprocation. I guess the question is how much is "scaling it up, " and I think experienced web masters probably know that from experience. That`s why I`m asking it here. Meaning, how much can you do without penalty? I know that can`t really be answered. But my other question, my main question, putting aside penalty is: will a reciprocal link help as much as a link without reciprocation? And how much is "scaling it up" that gets into the danger zone?
  • Michael Martinez: Tina Willis As a rule of thumb I generally advise my clients, "If you feel the need to ask how much is too much, you`re probably already in dangerous territory." This is not something you want to pursue with any kind of domain you hope to invest in a long-term strategy. Even someone who "knows how to do it" would be treading on thin ice. This is such an ancient topic that the search engines have seen an unbelievable number of ways to attempt it.
  • Tina Willis: Michael Martinez I`ve just seen competitors do this, successfully, with some scale, and they haven`t been penalized, e.g., round up posts with links back.
  • Michael Martinez: Tina Willis We`ve all seen the competitors do it, every year, year after year. But just because you see them do it doesn`t mean it works. They MIGHT be doing okay but that could be in spite of their link spam, not because of it. There are quite a few SEO consultants who have spent years cleaning up these kinds of link campaigns because people believed that these tricks really work. They work for a while and then BAM! You lose everything. In my opinion, it`s not worth it. I develop 10-year SEO plans. You cannot do that with link schemes.
  • Tina Willis: But thank you for explaining. I do appreciate you taking the time to explain.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: To elaborate a bit more on the "other people are doing it" topic... it often DOES work for a while. And then some flag gets tripped or some algo change happens, or a manual penalty gets applied, or any combination of the above. It works for sites and companies that have the "get in, make your money, and get out" type plan in mind. For companies hoping for long term growth and success - not so much. It`s basically a risk to reward proposition - is the reward for major short term success going to be great enough to outweigh the risk (or actually, probability) of a long term penalty? For me, that`s a question left for the client to answer. I agree with Mr. Martinez here in the other areas - linking things on the small scale like this sounds to be is probably not a problem. And keep in mind, when we talk penalties and all that - it`s typically in the context of pagerank values. A link - especially nowadays - has a whole lot of intangible value to it. (And it can also have a lot of negative impact). A link helps to give context to something. If page A links to page B - then page A (or at least the section of content near the link) must have something to do with what`s on page B. If some time goes by and that relationship between A and B can`t be validated by other links or contextual clues, then the link will end up being devalued - both in terms of PR (probably) and in terms of some contextual relationship between the pages. It can also negatively affect your authority value if you have a lot of links where G can`t figure out what they are there for. Once it starts to see a pattern, it starts to distrust any new links it finds. Then again, if you show a pattern of good relevant linking, it works the other way - your authority score goes up and Google will tend to "trust" your links before it has even had time to do all the math and normal calculations that are needed. A link from your high authority source to a new destination can help that new destination rank more quickly (and accurately) since G feels confident that it can trust some assumptions it can make about the page before it even completely understands it. As usual - this is an overly simplified explanation of these concepts, but here is a takeaway: If it makes sense for THIS page to link to THAT page, then it`s a good link.If it doesn`t make sense - then it`s a bad link (or at least a useless link over the long term).It`s really not much more complicated than that. (The reasons "why" are complicated, but the rule to follow is that easy).
  • Bledar Memishaj: I am no expert but take a look at this trio: https://windowscentral.com/how-to-find-lost-windows-phone... Lihat Lainnya
  • Tina Willis: Thank you. Yes it definitely happens and people get away with it. The real question is how much is too much. I`m talking about linking to & from more sites than just three, like 10-100 or more. So it would be a little different. Thanks for sharing that example though. Every little tidbit of knowledge helps. :)
  • Michael Martinez: Tina Willis "like 10-100 or more". That would be too much.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, April 12, 2018).

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