This is a subject that everyone seems to be arguing
about at the moment. Everyone trying to second-guess
Google's actions - which they will NEVER do - and
wondering whether reciprocal linking is dead, dying or if
it is something worth carrying on.
Google do not like reciprocal link directories and they
can sniff one out a mile off. There was (notice the use of
the past tense here) a link directory on my site until
recently, but I have now removed it, because it had
become as useful as a chocolate teapot.
Whilst the main front page of the site has retained it's
Google PageRank of PR5, in one of their last updates,
Google relegated that directory, which had also
previously had a PR5, to a PR 0.
Meanwhile, I had not altered my linking structure that
pointed to it. I had not altered my policies either: I did
not link TO any PR0 sites, kept the number of links per
page down to a minimum and there were even text
descriptions for each entry listed.
Google could tell what it was and acted as they saw fit.
There is no point wondering or whining about it. They
can and they are doing so in order to provide better
results to searchers. You can like it or lump it, but if you
want them to give you decent listings, ranks or send you
any traffic, their rules count.
My advice: forget *artificial* reciprocal linking
completely. The time taken to maintain the directory,
approve/disaprove submissions (mostly the latter,
because the only people still asking for links are crappy
PR0 sites and spammers) can be much better spent.
When you want to exchange links with other sites, make
sure you do so in a natural way, by which I mean write
about the other site in some way and place natural links
within the body text.
And consider just giving to get. By which I mean, link out
to useful things for the edification or entertainment of
your visitors giving no consideration to the immediate
usefulness of that link to you.
What goes around will come around. Once you are seen
as useful, others will link to you. You do then get your
links "reciprocated", but it may not be from the same
people to whom you linked.
That is the natural way of linking that Google wants to
Do not, under any circumstances, maintain anything
(other than internal navigation) that could look like
merely a list of links / link farm, because Google will
find it, won't like it and will penalize it.
Reciprocal linking, in the form of lists or directories
merely created for that very purpose cannot do anything
to help you with Google (quite the opposite, in fact) and
therefore, est mortuus. [RIP]
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