True Value of Reciprocal Links

This month, I would like to discuss Reciprocal Links, and other measurement tools used by Google as part of their ranking algorithm. It’s an area that is greatly misunderstood, and one people are always asking me about when I am public speaking.

When indexing web sites Google uses reciprocal links to and from a page as part of its weighting scale. This process is also known as the “PageRank” algorithm. Today, most major search engines use some variation of a link popularity theme as part of their overall measurement algorithms. Here’s how it works.

The number of relevant and also reciprocal links pointing to and from your site, are counted by the search engine. The more “qualified” the links, the more popular and worthy your site is deemed to be. The most important thing to remember is the popularity and relevance of a link scores higher than the sheer number of random links. Link farms – where your url is added to a list, without a title, or description, don’t count for much, if at all. Links where the site owner has taken the time to add not just your link, but also some descriptive information about your site usually add more weight to the link count. Sites with properly constructed links to and from the site, tend to rank higher.

A common misconception is that links are all that Google looks at in its measurement process. Google’s search technology also indexes and ranks websites by the content found on each page, and in the key terms used in the page’s title, keyword, and description tags. Overall, the Googlebot looks at over two dozen items – alt tags, comment tags, metatags, content – text on the site, and of course, the aforementioned relevant links. It even looks at links to pages within your site, to help establish the focus of your site.

Stay away from cloaking, redirects, small text, overuse of key terms and repetition of key terms “mp3 mp3 mp3 mp3”, and invisible text. Present your data cleanly and thoroughly. The engines are looking at more and more forms of data, but they are standardizing formats for how they look at them.