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Old 10th September 2010, 12:06 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 133

Originally Posted by luxuria View Post
I thought I'd understood that reciprocal links are less highly ranked and possibly penalized?

Seems like if the reciprocals aren't random, it should rank higher...but I've been scared to exchange links.
It's okay to exchange reciprocal links with relevant sites. Do NOT reciprocate with unrelated sites. A baby toy site reciprocating with a casino site, for instance, is a HUGE red flag. And I'd highly recommend NOT using link exchange programs that automate the exchanging of links. They leave a definite footprint that Google can likely detect using their Affiliated Page Linking patent that was approved last month after 6 yrs of waiting.

The value of reciprocal links likely varies with your niche or vertical. With some types of web sites, there just aren't a lot of related sites so reciprocal links are often the only option and provide a great benefit to site visitors. Google likely allows a high percentage of reciprocal links in the back link profiles of these types of sites. However, in other industries where there are lots of sites available to get links from, having a high percentage of reciprocal back links would likely raise a red flag and could end up being devalued. Eric Ward who is known in the industry as "Link Moses" because he's been building links for 15+ years for the likes of National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, and countless other companies large and small explains it best here:

The key is don't rely on this or any other link building strategy exclusively. You want a diverse back link profile.... some footer/blogroll links... some links from guest blog posts and/or comments... some links from directories... some links from article submission sites... some links from press releases... some natural links... etc. Using a single back linking strategy makes your site VERY vulnerable to algorithm changes that may target one or more method of linking.

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