Lee Odden

Reciprocal Articles to Replace Reciprocal Links?

Lee Odden     Link Building, Online Marketing, SEO

Everyone in the search marketing biz is pretty familiar with automated emails soliciting link requests as well as those for reciprocal link exchanges. Normally, anything that makes it past my spam filter that alludes to some kind of link request just gets the big “D” for delete.

I received one this morning that was pretty interesting though. It was a solicitation to exchange articles, not just links. I guess those reciprocal link schemes are trying to appear more legitimate by using links within content.

Dear Webmaster,
I handle article exchange program for my client, www.spammy-hypenated-domain-name-here.com

As an ongoing process to increase the link popularity of my sites, I am looking for some good high quality article exchange with my client’s site.

I recently came across your site through search and found it beneficial and informative for our site’s visitors. I would like to offer you a content link exchange with my site.

Please find enclosed article on “Why Use Permission-Based Email Marketing?”. (the irony of this is amazing)

If you consider this article a good fit for your website’s visitors, please feel free to publish it on your site. In this case, we would greatly appreciate if you included a brief reference to our website at the end of the article. For your convenience, I am providing the text and HTML code you can use for creating a reference and link to:

Your article/content will be added at: www.spammy-hypenated-domain-name-here.com

Just replace the word “article” for “link” and this is just the same old automated link exchange email. I hope no one falls for this. It certainly adds a new flavor to link exchanges though.If this tactic is now being used via email, then I’m sure it’s something that’s being practiced by more aggressive SEOs out there and may not be so new. I play it on the safer side of the fence, so this just isn’t something I would ever recommend for a client or use for our own site marketing.

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (No Ratings Yet)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Sigh. That’s so yesterday.

    Don’t even bother with the article exchange, just blast your articles into the oh-so-wonderful article directories.

    Then, thousands of MFA sites can paste your “article” into their “content” with specially crafted “keyword optimization” for oodles of fun with pagerank and Adsense.

    It’s a lot of fun. Everbody is doing it. Act now!!!

    You know what bothers me even more than the fact the above is all true. The fact that I do a better job at “sales” in parody than in real life. Yes, you can tell I’m on the technical side of the great divide.

    Perhaps the path to my success is paved with parodies? To find out, please purchase promptly!!!

    I’ve heard that a lot of alliteration goes a long way… 😉

  2. “anything that makes it past my spam filter that alludes to some kind of link request just gets the big

  3. This article exchange dealie has been going around the real estate circles… those peeps will try anything! 😛

  4. Tony, that was classic.

    My deal is as much of a time issue as it is an issue of link requests that offer very little real value and are simply a waste of my time. I have too many other things to do that are far more productive.

    It may be good, it may be bad, but it is simply the way it is.

  5. I would stay away from this simply on the basis that the article is pre-written, which means it’ll be duplicated everywhere else. No real value in that unless it’s just a great article. We had a guy first send us the email, when we responded positively he sent the article. It was average at best so we said no. It’s not a bad idea by any means, so long as strict quality measures are maintained.

  6. I guess like anything else, it’s a matter of risk/reward. Is there a risk a certain tactic will be perceived as going against a search engine’s policies? If not, then go for the reward. Otherwise, why bother.

  7. I’m not aware of any policies search engines have on such a thing… but if were talking about “perception as going against” then that’s something else entirely. Not much risk there except for “exposure” from the SEO white hat guardians. When it comes down to it, it’s just another form of marketing, in this place exchanging (supposedly quality) content for exposure. There is benefit in that link value or not, though much more value if the link counts for something. But consider this, why would search engines be opposed to adding quality content to the web? Does it matter to them what the arrangement is, so long as the content ads value to the visitor and the spread of quality information?

  8. I’ve read/heard that the arrangement does matter, because it describes the intent. i.e. is the situation one that solves a functional or technical issue or is it being done to inflate rankings, etc. The arrangement may not matter to me, but then again, I don’t run a search engine.

    There are always ends to a spectrum. It’s one thing to offer a single article to another site and getting another article in return and both are unique and relevant. (although I wonder why go through the trouble to do that when you can just write one article, post it to a blog and let some popular bloggers know about it – that could get many more traffic building links)

    It’s another thing to get the same article listed on hundreds of sites in exchange for links from hundreds of articles hosted on your site – where all articles are used over and over again. I’m not sure if there is any value to the user in that situation and I would think that the resulting linking structure would be pretty easy to indentify and discount.

  9. “(although I wonder why go through the trouble to do that when you can just write one article, post it to a blog and let some popular bloggers know about it – that could get many more traffic building links)”

    Good point, but eventually you end up getting the same links from the same bloggers… and of course, how interesting can you make an article about “duffelbags” that a bunch of other bloggers want to pick it up. But you’re right in the sense that it can be added as quality content to your own site that will help draw natural links as the site is found to be a valuable resource.

  10. Avatar Cheryline Lawson says

    I happen to stumble upon your site while doing a google search. I was listening to a seminar tape from Brad Fallon and he indicated that reciprocal articles are a good way to get top search enging ranking. Of course, this guy is a BIG SEO guru and wrote an ebook called Stomping the search engine. I really don’t know who to listen to anymore. your thoughts, please?

  11. Great Post. Very helpfull informations. Thanks a lot. Jürgen from Germany. 🙂