Reciprocals.. Playing Traffic Cop
The Trials and Tribulations of the linking game

Hello, I write all kinds of articles on web design and a lot of them have to do with linking and ranking tactics, but for just a moment I want to deviate from my teacher mode on that subject and just talk about something that irritates me to no end, mainly

Reciprocals that aren't.
Mind you this is not about the good people I do link to, this is about the other people.

I feel like a traffic cop, week after week ... checking links because I find I can't trust people. Every time I have to do a reciprocal in order
to get a listing.. 90% of the time, I wind up taking it down a few weeks later, because the other party has never got around to adding me.
What's up with that ?

And to make matters even worse the one that really peeves me... I get letters asking me to do a link exchange, who never bother to put it up either.

Now those I go seeking a link from, who say I have to have one up to them first, before they put mine up .. who then don't get around to it.
I just account to poor web site maintenance on their part and take the link down after a reasonable time has passed and a couple polite letters have been sent.

But to have someone email me outa the blue and tell me they want to exchange with me, and then they don't do it ! ?

Or worse, lie to me and tell me they did, but its not listed .. or buried so deep, with no way to it but direct link , with some Cgi trick to hide it from the engines so that it may as well not be there or........ you see what I'm getting at here.. all the dirty tricks and sneaky tactics.

Now.. I am a firm believer in that you need more incoming that outgoing links, its a must, in order to have any real ranking or link popularity, and therefore a good position on the search engines. Anyone who knows anything at all about how the web works and how people find a site knows this and how important it is. I have made it a personal quest. And succeeding quite well at it thank you :)

It's simply good web tactics, and fairly easy to do really ,But I have never told a link partner I want a link exchange, that theirs was not up or soon to be, in order to do it .

I have over 7000 back links to my business site Pagan Art , off site link, and about half that to this one, all of them legit and above board.

Now I have no qualms listing the site, with places that don't ask for a return link, mostly directories and engines, I couldn't possibly reciprocate them all.... and I make a point not to list with those that require it, unless I feel I will get really " good " traffic by doing so, but other than a few, Ive been mostly disappointed on that. My official links page has very few listed, on the " links " page itself anyway, but throughout the site over all. there are over a 100 of them. In fact, most of my out links on my sites are not reciprocated at all by their owners, and I don't really care.

Getting a link from them is not why I put theirs up

Most of them, I put up to share the information their website contains, which is the whole reason for linking in the first place. In fact, I have no doubt
a good many of them don't even realize that I am linked to them. Unless they happen to notice it on a referral page, on their hit counter.

Now some may feel that I am shooting myself in the foot here, since SEO ( search engine optimizing ) and Site design / submissions are my stock in trade, by saying I don't care if the out links I have put up, link to me or not. I don't even ask them to. But its true, I don't. If they do, great.. but this is not about links I have put up to other sites voluntarily, or they to me.

This is about the people out there who flat demand a link to their site first,
and then don't bother to reciprocate.

This is about the ones who send letters asking for a exchange,
who never uphold their end of the bargain.

This is about people who send letters wanting an exchange
when their site is not even remotely related to mine who only see a page rank and overall popularity rating that they want a piece of.

This is about the people who have automated linking software that lets you get through the whole process of setting up your link, THEN tells you its reciprocal or worse a pay per listing and then hounds you via automated email to link to/pay them for weeks afterward. Weeks generally, because any emails you send to tell them to stop it, they never read because the whole thing is automated and is never seen by human eyes.

This is about the sheer frustration of having to play traffic cop and have to go check up on people and to be honest, I have better things to do. And I'm sure so do most of you.

But for as long as the engines, which are the primary place for any site to be found demand such ratings for their listing order, this behavior will continue I fear.

What is sad about it is, that its completely unnecessary. As I said before I have 1000s of back links world wide, to my business site.

All legit and only a handful of them reciprocated. I have made no shady deals, no cheats, no umpteen thousand link farm links and guest book entries for no other reason than to put a link up, or my own url in a sig line in some forum somewhere. They are real honest to goodness links back to me legitimately come by.

I didn't buy them as a pay per click, I have never paid to list with an engine yet, all it took was time, time and effort that apparently some people are not willing to spend. They would much rather cheat their fellow web citizens out of a piece of their web real estate.

Why do it ? Because in the short term, it does work. If they can talk enough webbies into putting up a link to them in hopes of getting one back, they get 2, 3 weeks or more free advertising, and a temporary boost in ratings. But it's a process that has to be done over and over and over, ever seeking new victims to use and toss away. And as new sites are put up everyday, I guess they feel it's worth it.

Personally I wouldn't want the Karma...