The Risk of Three-Way Link Building

Three-way link building has been highly popular in recent times. I’m one of many who get the regular message in your inbox telling you about the “latest way to get to number 1 on search engines” and how it’s natural and that search engines won’t penalise you etc etc.

Well, only someone with little knowledge or experience in the link building industry could tell you that. And the people who bombard us with those emails tick the boxes for both of those categories. Hence why they’re emailing us and not ranking highly for the term “link building”, if at all.

What is three-way link building?

You have a website, and the person offering a three way link exchange with you has 2. Your website (A) links to their first website (B), and their second site (C) links back to you (A) as depicted below:

Three Way Link Exchanges

(My art teacher advised me not to take it up for a living)

Why to avoid three-way links

Google has extensive knowledge. I’m talking millions of pounds, bags of intelligence and many years worth of knowledge. It’s part of what makes them the best search engine out there. You’re going to struggle to fool Google, and other search engines for that matter. Yes, you may get away with this some of the time, but if you get caught you’re in line to face a big penalty that will take a lot of time, effort & expense to recover from. By using three-way link exchanges as a means of creating links you are putting your site at risk of being penalised.

What are the penalties?

Seeing your website rankings taking a plummet is the biggest risk and most-likely penalty you’ll face. When you’re building your links, in particular these three-way links, you’re only hoping to achieve a higher search ranking, right? So why run the risk of dropping all the way down them by using one of these black hat (unethical) techniques? You’ll also lose trust with the search engines, making it harder to climb back up.

Why has this technique become popular?

People often want quick wins, that’s what these practices supposedly offer but it is not what they deliver. In fact, this simply is not an area which produces quick wins in general. People with a lack of knowledge in this field hear how link building can improve your popularity and consequently may be vulnerable to falling for these games. To exacerbate the situation, if you’re getting link exchanges from these non-relevant websites, these are not going to pass any benefit to your site anyway! For a short period, this technique may have some success. There may also be a couple of sites that still haven’t been caught and are ranking well… for now. Eventually the search engines will catch up with them and they’ll be history. Link building isn’t about short term success, it’s about long term rewards and sustainability. If you want to be on the first page of Google to increase your sales, contact our pay per click team. If you want to increase your ability to rank high in the long term, you should focus on obtaining links from relevant sites in a natural, ethical way.

But they’re one way links…

Anyone trying to make you perceive that three way link exchanges are the “new one-way links“, has misled you, because that’s not the case. This type of link building is an exaggerated version of reciprocal link building. Anytime a site is being reciprocated, even if there’s a third site involved, it still remains a reciprocal link. People are moving away from the two-way reciprocal links, despite them having more benefit than three-way reciprocal links.

I’ve already started three-way link building…

Put an end to this if you want to start ranking well and avoid any penalties. Remove your reciprocations with the other two websites involved and focus on the old link building format; one way and two way. Start obtaining links from highly relevant sources and you’ll avoid upsetting search engines. This strategy has also proven successful in the long haul.

Barrie Smith

Barrie is a very experienced marketer, with notable successful campaigns in the gambling, e-commerce, travel and many other industries.

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