Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reciprocal links: Are they useful or not?

Reciprocal links are discussed controversially among search engine marketers. Some think that reciprocal links are great, others think that they are a waste of time, another group thinks that reciprocal links work to some degree.

Great or crap?

What do search engine marketers think about reciprocal links?

There are three main factions:

  • Group 1: reciprocal links have no effect at all on the position of a website in the search results on Google.

  • Group 2: reciprocal links work just like any other inbound links.

  • Group 3: there's a threshold value. For example, you shouldn't have more than 33% reciprocal inbound links.

Which group is right and should you use reciprocal links with your website or not?

Is there a threshold value for reciprocal links?

Webmasters in group 3 think that a high number of reciprocal links is a red flag for search engines. The idea behind this is that links should not be trusted if (for example) 100% of a site's inbound links are reciprocal.

However, this is not really a good indicator. If high quality websites do link to each other, they won't harm their rankings in any way.

For some sites, it is normal to have a high reciprocity percentage

Link building expert Eric Ward recently did a test. He found out that there are websites for which it is perfectly normal that they have almost 100% reciprocal links.

The more specific the topic of a website is, the more likely it is that it will have a high reciprocity percentage. As an example, Eric Ward used the website of "The Southeastern Bat Diversity Network", an organization with a goal to "conserve bats and their habitats in southeastern North America through collaborative research, education, and management."

The top sites in that subject are all linked back and forth to all other websites that write about bats. This is not surprising and it shows that a high number of reciprocal links can also be a sign of high quality. It depends on the topic of the website.

If the websites were about different topics, then the reciprocal links would look suspicious.

Should you use reciprocal links for your website or not?

You don't have to worry if a link is a reciprocal link or not. That does not matter. Reciprocal links are neither good nor bad. They are just links and it always depends on the individual link whether it is a good link or a bad link.

If a link comes from a website that is related to your website then it is a good link. If the other website is related to yours then you can link back and this won't cause any problems. As long as you make sure that the links make sense to your website visitors then everything is okay.

You can use IBP's link building tool to get links to your website. IBP can help you with one-way links, reciprocal links, links from blogs, links from related websites, links from Internet directories and much more. It is a spam-free link building tool that helps you to get high quality links.

Copyright by

MBA Internet Marketing Manager

Monday, September 7, 2009

5 Steps website layout design tutorial

“You can find part one of this article in the following link “Website Architecture Tutorial: 5 steps to design a website””

3. Define “How”

  • Now It´s time to propose how’d you like all the “Whats” defined in step 2 to function.
  • For this step is very important to let go your imagination and creativity. Don’t think of costs, development time or anything else that could restrain your creative power. Just brainstorm with your peers and come up with as many creative ideas as you can.
  • The only restriction here is that you can only brainstorm about the things you defined in step 2, otherwise you’d end up losing focus.

4. Prioritize

  • This is the part of the process where you have to decide what are actually going to implement, what are you going to leave for version 2.0 and what are you going to discard.
  • You have to revise one by one all the suggestions made in step three and evaluate each one of them.
  • At this point is very important to have some thecnical staff in the decision making process, because the most important criteria to go ahead or discard a suggestion is a basic “Cost/Benefit” Analysis. You might have a clear idea about the benefits but to have an accurate estimation about development time, software/hardware costs, maintenance, etc, you need the technical staff advice.
  • In this step and the one before, it’s very important to separate the creative process from the analytic one. Starting to analyze your options too early, restrains creativity and you could end up with less alternatives or alternatives with lower quality if you do both processes at the same time.
  • Always be focused and doublecheck if what you are actually approving, is directly related to solve the problems defined in step 1.

5. Design

  • Finally… after all these steps, you design.
  • The objective here is to translate everything you’ve stated and prioritized so far into a graphic interface. It will not be very difficult because you already know What you need to include (and what not) and have an idea of How you want it to function.
  • Everything you’ve put into your design comes from a specific objective and solves a specific problem. There will be no “useless” features here, no ”wasted” screen space and no time invested in programming code that will not be used
  • Iteration. Check if your first layout is what you really need and you haven’t leave anything important out of it. If that’s the case, repeat steps 2 - 4 one or two more times until you’re comfortable with the end result.
  • After you have your basic layout (in a piece of paper or basic HTML), maybe the two or three most important screenshots, you call your programmers and design team and start developing your website/application