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3 Way Links an Emerging Trend or SEO Trap for the Unwitting Webmaster?

Author: Rosemary Donald

Traditionally reciprocal linking has been a tried and true method of raising the profile of a website on the internet. The major search engines still index sites based on the number of links from one site to another amongst many other factors. The more references and listings your website has on the internet the more exposure your site receives overall which impacts positively on your search engine rankings. The upside of reciprocal linking with a site whose content is similar or complimentary to yours is that traffic originating from their site to yours and vice versa is targeted content traffic who may be interested in purchasing the products and services you have on offer. You are also offering related content to your site visitors that they may find useful and interesting.

So where does ‘3 way linking’ fit into this picture?

3 Way Linking has been an emerging trend over the past 12 months where webmasters and website promotion companies who own or manage multiple sites initiate link exchange requests whereby you link to the site they are promoting however your link is placed on a third party site. Usually the site they are promoting has no visible link page set up on their site and no references to the link page/s where your reciprocal link is held. Typically the third party site where your link is listed has been built specifically for just this purpose and is usually a series of links with no site content. Alternatively your link may placed on a third party site that the webmaster owns but has no content relevance to your own site in an effort to hide the reciprocal nature of the link exchange from the search engines.

So what is the benefit of 3 way linking?

The only benefit is to the site who is proposing the 3 way link exchange in terms of quickly boosting their online presence on the internet and anonymously building links pages that have no direct link to them so that they can’t be penalized for deceptive SEO practices that blatantly attempt to manipulate the search engines. Be wary though, this doesn’t mean that your site can’t be caught out by being linked with a bad neighborhood site and consequently lead to having your search engine rankings drop!

Who else benefits, well clearly the website promotion/SEO company who are being paid a fee to dupe unwitting website owners to knowingly or unknowingly engage in these 3 way link practices. They may get away with it in the short term however practices that generally have little benefit to the wider internet community and are only being used to manipulate the search engines are typically weeded out by responses by the major search engines in redefining their ranking algorithms and dropping sites from search engine listings who behave inappropriately.

So how do you identify a 3 way link exchange invitation?

A simple word of advice, read your link exchange requests carefully as 3 way link exchanges can be hidden deceptively within the text offering you a link exchange with a site of similar content and value however if read carefully you will notice that the reciprocal URL site where your link exchange has been placed does not match. There is often no mention that the link exchange request is a 3 way link exchange. Alternatively the link exchange will not nominate a reciprocating URL where your link is to be placed however on completing the link exchange the location of your link is not placed on the direct URL of the site you agreed to exchange links with but on another third party site.

The last version of this type of link exchange invitation is the webmaster or website promotion company who is acting on behalf of a website will clearly state that the exchange is a 3 way link exchange or ‘triangular link exchange’ and will then espouse the benefits of such linking practices. For example here is one that I received recently for my Sabu Jewellery website, I have removed the site details of the initiating party for confidentiality purposes:-

“Dear Webmaster,
I found your website http://www.sabujewellery.com/ by google search engine and it has a good link popularity. Sir, I handle online marketing for my clients site. To increase the link popularity of my client's site, I am now looking for triangular Link swapping with some good quality sites. You are already aware that Triangular Link swapping is much more popular and beneficial than Reciprocal Link exchange .This way both the sites gets the benefit of one way Linking. I would request you to place my client's link at your site with the following details.

Our site details are…

(linking info of the site with similar content ie. the initiating site)

We have placed your link here…

(The URL location of the third party site which is in this case just a site for links, no actual content)

We would appreciate if you link back to our site.
Thanks & kind regards


A simple word of advice on 3 way link exchanges…

Whether you engage in 3 way link exchanges is entirely up to you, however I have few questions for you to consider before embarking on this type of SEO practice in an attempt to boost your search engine rankings:-

 How is anyone going to find the generic links page of the third party site on the Internet that lists your reciprocal link if it contains no useful content for website visitors?

 And why would you wish to exchange links with a site which has no real benefit to you or the wider internet community generally?

 What is the value of linking to a third party site that has no relevance to your own site content?

 Why are these sites relying on 3 way linking? Are they too lazy to build their own links pages and source quality link partners for their own site? Or is it just a ploy to manipulate the search engines?

 Can you afford to be associated with a third party site that may potentially be classed as a bad neighborhood site by the major search engines and result in your search engine rankings dropping by association?

The final word…

Don’t be fooled by the positive spin that website promoters are putting on 3 way links, do your homework and be one of the smart webmasters who looks to implement positive quality SEO practices on your site that not only benefit your own website, website visitors and your search engine rankings but add value to the wider internet community at large.

Rank1 Website Marketing, 9th August 2007

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/sem-articles/

About the Author

Rosemary Donald is an SEO Consultant with Rank1 Website Marketing and online trader with a self published SEO e-book the 'Insider Secrets of Rank 1 Websites'. Rosemary regularly writes articles and tips on successful SEO strategies of Rank 1 websites plus online marketing advice for SME's.

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