Everyone knows that you have to have inbound links into your site in order for the search engines to value it and rank it highly against your chosen keywords. But is it better to buy those links from a link broker or directly from the site itself, or to go through time-consuming effort of building reciprocal links?
Let us be clear: both of these methods are clearly against the spirit of the Google ranking algorithm, which uses the quality and quantity of inbound links as a substitute for having someone actually look at your site and take a view on its quality and value. Quite apart from the subjective nature of such a judgment, the sheer number of web pages out there would make this an impossible task. So links are - for better or for worse - the easiest proxy for a human judgment. However, both paid links, or text link ads, and reciprocal links clearly subvert the intent of the link-counting algorithm, since neither of them represent the disinterested judgment of real people; both are nakedly designed to deceive Google and the other search engines into thinking that more people value your site than your competitors’, when quite the opposite might be true.
Nonetheless, for the time being, it is undeniable that you can buy your way into favour with the search engines either by paying for text link ads or by spending time persuading other people to reciprocate links with your site. Which is better? Hard-won experience with both strategies suggests that a combination of both is ideal. Unless your site and your links pages have themselves some PageRank your reciprocal link building process is going to be slow and painful. Webmasters with high PR sites will not see much value in linking to you, and it will take a long time to build PR through linking to low or zero PR sites. This implies a simple strategy: buy some high PR text link ads, point them at both your homepage and your links page and wait for the PR to feed through and for Google to give you a decent PR on both pages. In the meantime you can start on the process of reciprocal link building with lower-ranked sites, and once your own ranking has come through you can start to request links from high-value sites such as this Free travel links one. When the receiving webmaster sees that you can offer him links from a PR4 or 5 web page he will be much more inclined to treat you with civility and offer you high-ranking links in return. Pretty soon after this you will be able to stop paying for text link ads and start benefiting from the free marketing that comes with a top-ranked site for your chosen search terms.