Recently, reciprocal linking at all is accused to tank a Web sites’ placement in Google’s search results. Despite the fact that it’s way too early for a serious post-Jagger-analysis, the current hype on oh sooo bad reciprocal links is a myth IMHO.
What Google is after are artificial link schemes, that includes massive reciprocal linkage appearing simultaneously. That’s not a new thing. What Google still honors, is content driven, natural, on-topic reciprocal linkage.
Simplified, Google has a huge database of the Web’s linkage data, where each and every link has a timestamp, plus an ID of source and destination page, and site. A pretty simple query reveals a reciprocal link campaign and other systematic link patterns as well. Again, that’s not new. The Jagger update may have tanked more sites involved in artificial linkage because Google has assigned more resources to link analysis, but that does not mean that Google dislikes reciprocal linking at all.
Outgoing links to related pages do attract natural reciprocal links over time, even without an agreement. Those links still count as legitimate votes. Don’t push the panic button, think!
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