Weekly SEO news: 18 January 2011
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Reciprocal links were the first social element on the World Wide Web. They existed a long time before the term "social media" even existed. In the last few years, there was a lot of FUD about the efficacy of reciprocal links. Do they still work? Is there any reliable data?

Also in the news: U.S. users give high marks to search engines, Bing steals traffic from MSN, curation is the new search and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Reciprocal links: don't be fooled by false information

Reciprocal links were the first social element on the World Wide Web. They existed a long time before the term "social media" even existed. The concept of a reciprocal link is simple:

  • I link to your site ("Like").
  • You link to my site ("Like back").

Reciprocal links could greatly improve the position of a website in Google's search results because links are a good indicator that other people like your site.


In the last few years, there was a lot of FUD about the efficacy of reciprocal links. Some people say that they don't work anymore, others even claim that reciprocal links can cause problems with Google.

Is there really a problem with reciprocal links?

There are many statements about the decreasing efficacy of reciprocal links but none of these statements is backed by facts. Reciprocal links are alive and they work well.

Just analyze the backlink profile of your high ranking competitors (for example with this backlink analyzer). A fair amount of the links are reciprocal. Where do these links come from?

  • link exchange/resources pages
  • blogroll links
  • mutual contextual linking (for example between bloggers)
  • directory links from directories that require a backlink

Reciprocal links work best for websites with "unsexy" content. For some sites, it is very difficult to get links without something in return. These sites benefit most from reciprocal links.

But I have read that Google is against reciprocal linking!

Google is not against reciprocal linking. Google is against fully automated, large scale linking systems. Regular reciprocal links have nothing to do with that. If you need proof, analyze the backlinks of your competitors.

In addition to increased search engine rankings, reciprocal links can also generate targeted traffic from your partner sites. That's what links are for.

One way links, reciprocal links, three way links? Which links are best?

All of these links are equal. It does not matter if a link is one way, reciprocal or anything else. The only thing that matters is that the link comes from a website that search engines find relevant to your site.

Why should search engines make things complicated. If a link to your website come from a trusted site and if the link to your website is relevant then it is a good link.

If you want to get high rankings on Google, your website needs high quality backlinks. If your website does not offer the possibility of a links/resources page, you could add reciprocal links in blog posts or on other pages of your site.

The link building tool in IBP helps you to find potential link partners. IBP also helps you to get links from directories and it helps you to analyze which kind of links you need. You can download it here.

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2. Search engine news and articles of the week

U.S. Internet users give high marks to search engines

"Eighty-nine percent (89%) of those who regularly go online rate today’s Internet search engines as good or excellent in terms of finding the information they need.

Fewer than half a percent rates the search engines they use as poor. Seventy-eight percent (78%), in fact, say they generally use the same Internet search engine all the time. Just 19% use more than one."

BingBing stealing search, ads from in-house rival MSN

"MSN's turf has been especially eroded over the past few months, these executives said, as more and more searches initiated on MSN's homepage land surfers on a Bing results page. [...]

Bing traffic has grown 43.2 percent, from 60.7 million users in June 2009 to 86.9 million users last month, according to comScore. Searches have grown from 1 billion to 1.7 billion over the same period. At MSN, traffic numbers have grown 33 percent to 124 million."

Curation is the new search is the new curation

"Google's ranking algorithm, like any trading algorithm, has lost its alpha. It no longer has lists to draw and, on its own, it no longer generates the same outperformance -- in part because it is, for practical purposes, reverse-engineered, well-understood and operating in an adaptive content landscape."

EID Email marketing is dead - the statistics and social proof

"The average open rate of emails in the USA dropped from 14% in half 2 of 2007 to a humble 11.2% in half 2 of 2009. [...]

Nobody wants to hear about your independent opinions about your discounted products or latest business moves via email, nor do they want to read an email about the next big concert to hit your town.

What they want, is to see your news and interactions on social media platforms which is then backed up by the social advocacy and interaction of their family, friends and FaceBook buddies. This is why email marketing is dead!"

NY Times: Europe inquiry focuses on Google business practice

"European antitrust investigators are asking advertisers whether Google suggested they increase spending with the company in return for improved visibility in its Web search results. The investigators are also examining whether Google stymied companies who had tried to move their business elsewhere. [...]

Google has also maintained that it behaves fairly and impartially. It says it is not dominant in online search, despite a market share in Europe of up to 90 percent in some countries."

Related: Google adds links to competitors on YouTube pages.

Search engine newslets

  • Seznam.cz say that they are still the #1 search engine in Czech Republic.
  • Google Analytics faces privacy problems in Germany.
  • Google's Matt Cutts in Washington to lobby against Internet search engine rules.
  • Google to fight Spanish privacy battle.

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3. Get a good start to 2011

We want you to get a good start to 2011!

We want you to get a good start to 2011. That's why we offer you IBP for a discounted price this month. Just click the following image:


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4. Previous articles

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