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Reciprocal Links

An Ethical Approach to Web Interconnectivity


Reciprocal Links are arrangements where website A links to website B, and website B links to website A. This mutual linking also tends to infer that it's likely that the people who run websites A and B have a reasonably good relationship with each-other.

Reciprocal Links were through a bad patch for a few years because of scandalously poor value link rigging schemes which some people used in order to cheat search engines. The response from Google was to condemn all linking, which is odd, because if it hadn't been for websites linking to each other in the first place, Google would not exist, because it would be have been unable to find websites in the first place!

Zyra's website has always had reciprocal linking, and always will have, regardless of any stupid Google updates. The fact is that The Internet is made of connections. If search engines ceased to exist, we the people who run our own websites would still link to each other, and would still have visitors because people would explore around the interconnected web.

There is a clear distinction between links designed to cheat search engines, and proper links which would exist even if search engines didn't exist. The difference is that real reciprocal links are followed by people, whereas cheat scam reciprocal links are followed by search bots.

You can see this in the design schemes of the good and bad links. Here the links are good. For example, there are Gothic websites which link to Zyra because Zyra is interesting and non-mundane, and also Zyra promotes diversity. Zyra then adds a link to the Goth site from the page www.zyra.org.uk/gothic.htm which seems only fair. The result in each case is a reciprocal link, and crucially folk will follow the links. Yes, actual people, of the type who are alive and go tappety-tap on their keyboards, will click their mouse pushbutton and follow the links on the website as a portal into the other website. This goes on in both directions, by different people, at different times, and is an ongoing thing about live traffic on the Internet.

In contrast, some companies have bad link schemes. They have thousands of links on various irrelevant link pages, linking in bulk to numerous websites, in return for a link to their site (usually with some cheat anchor text). The key features of such bad schemes are:

* They are often automatic, rather than manual. Bulk handling rather than personal care.

* The links are designed to be followed by search engine bots and not by folks. (People do not follow such things, and often can't even reach the pages of links in the first place).

* The link schemes are set up to cheat search engines.

* Typically the whole setup is geared towards adding more links, rather than anything mutual. For example, rather than the links page being called "links" or "resources", it's sometimes called "add your site", and then on the top of the links page it has another invitation to add links rather than any helpful "Here is our list of link-partners" or words to that effect.

* As the sites in question are cheats, they will typically renege on their deal and remove their links without telling you.

* Some of the systems involve such things as "three way links". These are non-mutual in the extreme and are usually cynically designed with malice aforethought to cheat search engines and to evade bias against proper reciprocation. You should always avoid "three way links" because whatever site is linking back to you will be a worthless set of links, whereas the site which you are linking to will be the place the company wants to foist into an artificially high undeserved position on search engines, most notably Google which has historically been easy for crooks to cheat on. Like the "three card trick", the operators of the "three way links" are artificially in the advantage, and the other people are in the disadvantage, or to put it another way... mugginses.

Anyway, you'll see none of that here! Instead, the idea is to have links which are FAIR. Ie, everyone gets some benefit from it. Note: If search engines disappeared and were no more, real reciprocal links would still survive and be good.

I deplore Google because of their stupid assumption that all reciprocal links are bad. Google are WRONG about this. The fact is that some links are bad, which is not the same thing. I especially deplore the stupid Google updates which have resulted in Google falsely downrating my website. My conscience is entirely clear on this. Whatever Google is accusing me of, I am not guilty. Google is to blame, and this is why I am criticising Google and calling for Google to be Replaced! Down with Google!

Meanwhile, let us independent website link to each other. Ultimately, after Google goes bankrupt, there will be some new search engines that actually respect Real Content websites. A siege mentality is appropriate to stick this out and to survive the nuclear winter of Google's shadow upon the Internet. Meanwhile, other search engines, of which there are many, and increasing in popularity, will help us. In the free-market-economy of search engines, it's up to each new search engine to try to offer the best search, and that means including lots of real websites in the results, not just the few that are willing to pay for naff sponsored ads.

Now let's look at the reciprocal links at Zyra's website. The outgoing links are on the pages of the site itself, not just some minoritised link-pages. So, for example, if your website is about gardening, it's likely to get an outgoing link on the gardening page. To make it reciprocal, you can have a link somewhere on your website that visitors are able to follow. You might say something like "Here is a list of friendly websites that support us", and then in the list one of the items links to my front page www.zyra.org.uk , with some appropriate test of your choosing. Or you can use the standard link text and description provided at the intro page. Now this is where it gets interesting. If I KNOW there's a reciprocal link, for example because we've talked about it, I'll usually add an acknowledgement-link. This is in addition to the main link, and goes on one of the link pages here. The reason I do this is because it helps to keep a track of all the reciprocal links. I've done this because, for moral reasons, I've always done the reciprocal links manually.

As my website was set up in 2000 and has been around for many years, there have been quite a lot of reciprocal links accumulated in that time, as would be expected. The reciprocal link pages are as follows:

links.htm - termed "Web Surfing Hyperlinks" this is a general page of links, to various interesting places. They are not necessarily reciprocal, but just a helpful set of links.

The First Reciprocal Links Page - the earliest reciprocal links page, unsurprisingly. Note that this page also condemns search engine cheats and casts doubt on automated systems!

Reciprocal Links 2 - notice how this page has very few surviving links. Interestingly, many of the early links failed as the websites involved were not fair. However, as it was noted early on, some of the links were found to be "bulk" and therefore it should come as unsurprising that most of these places have gone.

Reciprocal Links 3 - by that time it was already the case that "because of the popularity of this practice, the whole thing has got a bit out-of-hand" and this is commented-upon on the page.

Reciprocal Links 4 - more of the same sort of thing.

Recips - "a bit of a muddle". Also note that the pages have been deliberately NOT allowed to be a long and automated-looking numerical sequence. This is to emphasise that the website and its links are manually created.

Recips2 - more of the same sort of stuff

Recips3 - Yet more reciprocal link requests - a huge backlog of link requests

Reciplinks - Further reciprocal links. However, notice that by now, the pages on which the links appear are logged as well, so as to allow the looking-up and checking-up of links to make sure they are still live.

This may look like a lot of pages, but it's not, because that's twelve years of website!

The reciprocal link system at Zyra's website also includes the page of banners, in case anyone would like to link with a banner on their website, banner2, which gives more choice of banners, Linking, which explains how to add html code to link and refers to other pages of useful link material, and Intro which has a more business-friendly banner and text shpiel for professional websites not to be put off linking because Zyra's website is rather odd. There's also a general purpose Please Link to This Website, to encourage linking, reciprocal or otherwise.

I challenge Google to come up with any rational explanation or excuse on how they consider any of this to be wrong. The fact is: I am right. Google is in the wrong for falsely accusing this site of bad linking, if that's what it's accusing it of. The trouble is, The Google Problem could involve any of a great many paranoid reasons why Google has become prejudiced against this site.

Meanwhile, STUFF GOOGLE! We are going to continue, we the honest websites made of Real Content, which will continue to link to each other. I especially encourage those of us who have been alienated by Google to have reciprocal links with this site!