Should you get Involved in Triangular Linking?

Triangular linking occurs when a site offers to link to your site if you will link to another website they recommend, i.e, site (example1) agrees to link to your site if you will link to the other site (example2). Example1 and 2 are often owned by the same person/company or else they have become partners with others involved in this linking scheme. This scam is a link building strategy that is easily detected by the search engines. It is also known as a Pyramid Linking Strategy. It is designed to help their website and not yours.

It's Purpose:

They do this to gain one way links to their site from those that don't know any better, and to overcome Google's policy of discounting over-use of link trades.

triangular linking scam

How can Google detect triangular linking?

Google is mapping the Internet and trying to eliminate spam and duplication so they are very adept at recognizing attempts to "game" their search engine. When everyone listed on one site links to another site it would be very easy for Google to see a pattern. There are more involved methods of promoting this scam, where more than 3 sites are involved, but Google can spot those also.

Google's Penalty for this Linking Scheme

Google is trying to eliminate people maniuplating search results so everyone involved in this triangular linking scheme is likely to have all incoming links discounted for linking to a bad neighborhood.

Marie Haynes, in her Nov 13, 19 newsletter, believes that the Google Algorithm Update of November 8, 2019, resulted in removal of the value of reciprocal links (link trades), link wheels, links in footers to other sites without a no-follow on them, links in articles strictly for SEO value, PBN (personal blog network links to your own pages) and some guest postings.

Other reasons to avoid it:

The site requesting that you get involved in this scheme might be using "no follow" tags on their outgoing links or setting them up in javascript or disallowing them in robotx.txt or a multitude of other methods so the link they supposedly pointed at your site doesn't provide any benefit to your website and also so they don't leak PR (Page Rank). So you may not get any benefit for getting involved, even if it wasn't penalized.

Variations of this Scheme

There is another linking scheme called circular linking (call it hexagonal, or any other geometric variation) where one person (often the web designer) links to the next person and that person is told to link to the next person, like in a chain letter, so they aren't actually exchanging links. However they are usually controlled by one person and they usually all required to link back to his site. Google can spot this one also. Ignore any such requests.

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Lori Eldridge
Copyright © 8-6-07 - updated 11-04-20
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