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Reciprocal Linking vs. Triangular Linking

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When emails like this come from amateurs it’s one thing, but when they come from so-called SEO professionals… 

I came across your site ( http://www.seo-writer.com )  whilst searching for potential link partners for a client site I am currently promoting (name withheld to protect her innocent client). My client’s site is thematically relevant to your own without being competitive.

I would be more than happy to offer you a quality one-way link from our site ( name withheld, well, just out of politeness) in return for a one-way link from your site to my client’s site (from a page with a minimum pagerank of 2+). This linking arrangement avoids reciprocal linking which Google has devalued, giving instead a more valuable one-way link.

Google devalued reciprocal linking?  This is news to me.  What Google has devalued is unnatural linking patterns – anything that can be recognized as a plain attempt to fiddle with their rankings.  If all your links are reciprocal, well, that’s a pretty unnatural linking pattern.  On the other hand, if all your links are triangular, that’s an even more unnatural linking pattern.  What’s more, whereas reciprocal linking can be for traffic reasons and/or better search engine rankings, triangular linking is a pretty transparent attempt to control Google’s rankings.   

To sum up, here is how I responded to this so-called SEO: 

That myth about reciprocal linking is certainly getting around.  It’s basically bunk.  If you follow natural linking patterns, Google will love you.  Triangular linking is less natural than reciprocal linking.  Anyway, this particular arrangement doesn’t interest me.

Best of luck.

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