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Reciprocal links form a vital part of any website promotion effort. You have created great content, or offer a superb product or service -- and now, you want people to know about it.
The Web is only as useful as the sum of its links, as without links it is just a disparate collection of pages. Links are the glue behind the Web. To ensure that your page has the visibility it deserves, you will need other sites to point to yours.
The process of exchanging reciprocal links is essentially a simple one, but there are various approaches that can be taken in searching out and requesting links, as well as pitfalls that must be avoided.
What is a reciprocal link?
It is important to define what a reciprocal link is, and perhaps more importantly, what it is not.
A reciprocal link is a text and/or banner link to a site that, somewhere in its pages, carries a similar text/banner link to your own site.
A reciprocal link is a commitment. This link basically says "The site at the other end of this link feels that our site is important enough to link to, and we feel that their site is important enough that we are willing to let visitors leave our site via this link."
A reciprocal link involves an element of trust. Few Webmasters have the time or patience to constantly monitor the sites that link back to them, so you are trusting the other site to maintain the link on their site, and not bury it under other information or delete it during a site upgrade.
A reciprocal link is not a quick fix to bring more traffic.
Which sites to link to?
We would strongly advise against indiscriminate linking. By choosing sites relevant to the subject of your site, you maintain the interest level of your visitors in the topic they have just been exploring with you.
With hundreds of thousands of sites out there, there is just no need to desperately exchange links with everyone in sight. Focus is the key to attracting traffic; after all, how many people will click on a link to a genealogy site when reading about voluntary sector issues?
If you are running a commercial site, you may not want to link to a competing site. Links designed to maximise the value of your own site by providing more detailed, or better information could be beneficial on your own site.
How to present your links
There are many different ways to present reciprocal links. You can clearly designate them as reciprocal links and delegate them to specific areas or pages of your site. You can incorporate links to valuable resources inside your own content. You can choose to separate reciprocal links and other links, or lump them all together.
There is no "right" answer: this depends on the specific site. The important thing to remember is that, no matter what approach you choose, be fair to the sites you are linking to. Do not bury the links somewhere under reams of graphics and text, or attempt to dissuade your visitors from following the links in any way. This includes putting the links inside a single "frame" to effectively keep visitors on your site. If your content is compelling enough, your visitors will certainly be backand they will thank you for drawing their attention to other interesting sites.
Link instructions and suggestions We will visit the site of sources seeking a reciprocal link to review the link and content of the site. If the site is suitable and acceptable, we will place a link on our one or more of our web sites pages and send a confirmation by e-mail. We reserve the right to refuse to link to a site if I find the content unacceptable or experience functional problems.
If a prospect reciprocal link source attempts to spam our sites, they will be blacklisted. Automated submissions will be disqualified. Incomplete or inaccurate submissions will be ignored.
We will not accept links to our site if the site to be linked to:-
Condones or promotes any form of violence, including towards humans and animals
Does not uphold the principles of human or animal rights
Does not uphold the principles of free speech
Supports non-democratic regimes
Condones or promotes non-democratic views
Advocates acts of warrior any homeland/overseas conflict
Features pornography; tobacco advertising; or makes claims that cannot be substantiated.
Sites must lie within our perception of 'decency'.
Website must be well-designed and accessible. Notification is requested should you change your website or URL link to ensure the integrity and valid of any link. Failure will result in removal without any notice.
There should be no significant bias in any of the links and the overall spread/mix should be monitored.
The provenance of the linked sites should be checked on a regular basis.
If the site meets these criteria it will be passed for implementation to with the URL of the website.
 For Linking matters have some advice on their website on a strategy for reciprocal links please visit "Linking Matters".
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