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  Link-Building Is Still In

With recent algorithm updates from Google, Yahoo and MSN it has led many to question whether or not link-building is still worthwhile. Particularly, people have been questioning whether or not reciprocal link-building is still a valuable effort. It is.

While it may be true that in some instances reciprocal links on certain websites may have been devalued due to algorithm changes, it does not mean they are not still valuable. It is a matter of degree here and not a black or white issue.

The search engines have become better recently at asserting their core values through their algorithms. This means that tried and true methods still work, while other more dubious methods will be devalued significantly or get a website in trouble.

For instance, if a webmaster or web marketing firm is using some methodology to trick the search engines into thinking a particular website has more back links than it truly does, then eventually the search engine engineers will catch on and write some code to devalue or penalize websites that use this methodology.

One must remember that for the last year or so, the search engines have made a huge effort to "clean up the web". In the Fall 2004 season, Yahoo started penalizing image alt tag abuses. Later, Google started penalizing sites that had more than two links on a page pointing to another internal page. In the Spring 2005 season Google started to discount back links placed in may free general directories and paid text links.

These changes have all been with the intent of getting back to core values. In regards to reciprocal linking, if webmasters and marketers stick with the core values of reciprocal linking then those links will still be of value.

Here's the core value of reciprocal linking: put your visitor first. Place links on your website as if the search engines did not exist and you were putting them their solely for the benefit of your visitors. If Site A links to Site B because it has some great content that is of value to its visitors and then Site B does the same, well then this is a good match for both sites and stands on its own weight. The search engines will not penalize and in fact will place a positive value upon this linking scenario.

Where many webmasters and marketers get in trouble is when they start linking to other websites that have no value to their visitors. Linking to off-topic sites is one example. Linking to too many affiliate sites is another example.

Don't get all wrapped up in the "stinkin' linkin' blues". Reciprocal linking is still alive and well and when you put your visitors first, you site will also, as an afterthought prosper in the search engine rankings as well.

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