Three Way Link Exchanges

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Moving Away from Reciprocal Linking

In times past, you could rank well for most keywords if you traded links with a lot of other web sites. Traded links, or reciprocal links, are no longer as effective as they once were (though some advocates still say you should do it as long as the links traded are in the same theme).

Google now appears to be favoring "one-way" links more. However, one-way links are a lot harder to get. If you work hard to provide great content and benefits to your visitors, you will, in time, get a lot of one-way links. It's time consuming, but worth it.

However, most sites that are ranking well in competitive areas actively seek out links. In order to make links look like one-way links, and thereby please Google, many sites are using three-way links now.

A three-way link is where Site A links to Site B, and Site B links to Site C, and Site C links to Site A, like so:

A -> B -> C -> A

In Google's eyes, this is seen as three one-way links rather than three reciprocal links. So if you're having trouble ranking your site using reciprocal links, and you're having a hard time finding one-way links, you might try the three-way approach.

Be careful, though, that the three-way link is coming from a quality site that is not banned or penalized by Google. Some shifty webmasters who are trying to inflate their rankings will have you link to their high quality site, but in turn give you a link from a low quality site instead. Sure, it's a three-way link, but how will Google see that link?

Also, be aware that some people view 3-way linking as a "gray hat" tactic (as opposed to "white hat"), since it is trying to "fool" Google into believing that your links are all one-way when really they are not.

Of course, you have to make your own decision about what is and is not a good method of search engine optimization, and you need to be prepared to accept the consequences. If Google decides to turn on sites that use three-way links at some future time (right now 3-way links sites are ranking very well), then you'll need to be prepared to accept that.

So you'll need to weigh the risk/reward factor to decide whether or not you feel it is warranted. However, keep in mind that sites have been using three-way links for many years with success.


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