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Link Building's Cult Of Reciprocity

By Eric Ward
August 13, 2007

The full text including hyperlinks for this Link Week column 
can be read at here

A big part of my professional life is spent teaching and training corporate clients how to become self sufficient at in-house link building and content publicity. Those readers here who have heard me speak at conferences may remember how strongly I have stated my position that to be effective over the long term, you must take as much control as possible over your link building activities, because outsourcing 100% of your link building and content publicity will not work. Why? Because no third party will ever be able to devote the needed passion and hours and creativity to unearthing the best possible link building and publicity opportunities that are available for your specific site than... YOU.

Since I spend a good part of every week developing and presenting custom training sessions, one part of that training is asking for feedback about topics to be covered during the session. And almost every time, I am asked to include a section about reciprocal links. Reciprocal links is a remarkably polarizing topic. Some folks are anti reciprocal linking, some are vehemently pro reciprocal linking. Some claim recips are the road to rankings ruin, while others say they help improve rank. And those who really dig deep into the link analytics even propose that there is a certain "magic trigger" percentage that turn your reciprocal links from good to evil in the eyes of the search engines. Not so. I've been in meetings where people from the same online marketing staffs argue over everything from what to name their links pages to whether or not to kill them off completely.

Here's what I can share with you based on more research and experience than I admit is healthy.

Like all other linking related absolutes, the rules of the full column at SearchEngineLand

Link well my friend,

Eric Ward

About the Author
Eric Ward founded the Web's first services for announcing, linking, and building buzz for Web sites, called NetPOST, in 1994, and in 1995 he launched the URLwire Site Announcement Network, which today has millions of readers and remains the only service devoted 100% to announcing useful web content. Eric is best known as the person behind the first linking campaigns for,, and His services won the 1995 Award For Internet Marketing Excellence, and he was selected as one of the Web's 100 most influential people by Websight Magazine in 1997. Eric is a 4-star speaker at Jupiter's Search Engine Strategies conferences, and he publishes a monthly how-to newsletter called THE WARD REPORT: Link Building and Content Publicity Tactics. Eric writes several online marketing columns including LinkWeek for, and previously wrote for and Ad Age magazine.  Eric, wife Melissa and boys Noah and Abe live in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Content Publicity & Link Building Strategies since 1994
I help content driven sites attract and obtain online publicity, relevant and trusted links
I create linking strategies and conduct link training sessions 
I help people understand the nuances of linking that enable their sites to thrive
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