This week’s technique we will discuss is “reciprocal link exchanges”. This is a pretty simple technique to understand. In the past it was fairly useful for quickly creating links, these days there are people in the SEO industry who debate the usefulness of reciprocal link exchanges. I still believe they have their uses for low competition keywords and niche terms.
What Are Reciprocal Link Exchanges?
Reciprocal links are formed when two different websites link to each other, it is possibly the easiest form of link building to understand, the diagram below illustrates exactly what a reciprocal link is:
This is fairly straight forward I think you will agree.
How To Set Up A Reciprocal Link Exchange?
The easiest way to set these link exchanges up is to find another web master who is looking for the same thing. The simplest way to find these people is to use a “link network” (be careful with these and do some research before jumping in). I have used The UK Link Exchange in the past, but please be aware there is a right and a wrong way to use it, I will post about this another time.
Link networks are full of other people looking for exactly the same as you, this is a fairly primitive method of finding reciprocal links and often the sites in these link exchanges are very low quality.
A much better way of creating a reciprocal link is to carefully pick who you want to exchange with. Do your research, make sure the website owner is likely to link back to you and his website is of a good quality. You can either take your chances and ask for a link straight away or a far better way is to build a relationship with the website owner, think of it as a business networking exercise. Get to know them first make conversation and slowly as a “trust” is built up between you then you can discuss the possibility of a link swap.
Use Social Media To Obtain Links
It is remarkably easy these days to start building relationships with site owners, usually the higher quality websites will also have social media profiles, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ etc… This is your opportunity to get talking! Make sure you are worth talking to though. Don’t start a conversation with something like “Hi mate” or “Hello buddy”, if you can offer them some advice, something free or answer a question for them or something similar this is a far better way of breaking the ice.
Email For A Link Exchange.
If you can’t find them via social media, it will be more difficult to build a relationship, you will need to email them and ask them for a link (difficult as link requests usually get ignored via email), emailing has a fairly low success rate if not done correctly. You should always try to build a relationship via email if possible, this will give you a better chance of building links.
Pick Up The Phone.
You can call them up on their telephone, this takes a certain level of confidence on your part but it is a fantastic way to obtain a link. It is harder for the site owners to ignore you if you call them and ask directly. You must always remember to highlight the reasons why they should link with you and tell them what they will get in return. I have seen great success using this method of building reciprocal links.
Once you have spoken to somebody over the phone you can then email them as you have already started to build a relationship.
They Can Be Set Up Quickly
Reciprocal link exchanges can be set up very quickly, sometimes within 10 minutes. Other methods of link building may take longer as you are relying on the links to be built more naturally.
This is an old method of building links, it can still be used effectively if done correctly. Be careful not to exchange links with low quality sites, always try to find a site with a higher PR score (or Domain Auth) than your own.
When looking for exchange partners, try to find a site which will be open to an exchange, but if possible hasn’t exchanged links with a huge number of other sites.
Build a relationship with the site owner or web master, if he/she exchanges links with you once they are likely to do it again. Keep their details in a contact book and stay in touch! I have a nice list of other web masters who I have exchanged with in the past.
If you are interested in becoming an awesome link builder I would strongly suggest you guys follow Paddy Moogan on twitter, also check his site out it is full of awesome tips on how to build links.
I personally learnt a lot from Paddy when I saw him speaking at an SEO conference in London, check out my report on the conference.