I work for a County Government. In an effort to improve our search engine rankings I was considering contacting some of the other Counties in my state and seeing if we could setup an arrangement where we link to them and they link to us. It seems like a reasonable thing to have a "Other Counties" page with various links on a County website, but it also seems like it's bordering on a link scheme according to Google.

When I read Google's article about link schemes it seems like we hit some of the right reasons for having links on another County's site but also some of the wrong. Does anyone have any insight into whether this is a good or bad idea?

1 Answer 1


It's only a link scheme if the purpose of it is solely to manipulate the rankings. Although your goal is to improve SEO of your site it does make business sense to cross-link amongst counties since they can help them find related information. Cross-linking unrelated sites or with sites known to be link farms is when you start to get yourself in trouble.

Reciprocal links are very common, especially amongst related sites, but they don't really have that much SEO value since they are essentially trading votes so I wouldn't expect this to have any kind of impact on your rankings.

  • Very interesting. So I'd probably only see a benefit if I could convince them to link to us without linking to them? Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 18:39
  • That's ideal from an SEO point of view. But the reciprocal links, while not as strong as a one way link, can still benefit you directly as well as indirectly if someone finds you via those links and links to you directly as a local resource, etc.
    – John Conde
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 18:45
  • Awesome, thanks. Any chance you have a link I could show my boss regarding the It's only a link scheme if the purpose of it is solely to manipulate the rankings part? Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 19:11
  • You won't find anything that specific from Google as they rarely spell things out for us like that. Basically if you follow Google's blogs, etc, they more or less focus on intent versus technique as being the criteria for determining what is acceptable and what isn't.
    – John Conde
    Commented Mar 10, 2011 at 19:42

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