martinibuster - 8:04 pm on May 3, 2011 (gmt 0)
Many corporate sites hit by Panda have an excellent backlink profile and no history of buying or selling links. Any backlink issues on a Panda targeted site is, in my personal opinion, coincidental.
Fortunately, Google recognizes this. It understands the underlying logic that you, as the proprietor of a top-ranked, high-authority site, will only bestow links on other far-above-average, ultra-high-quality sites. And having bestowed that link, would you NOT want a link back? Of course you would, you'd probably insist on it since the link would provide a quality value-add to your customers and might aid your site's ranking.
Recognizes the limitations eccommerce sites have in obtaining links and thus allows reciprocal linking because of that recognition? I think the reason has more to do with limitations on how much can be successfully penalized algorithmically without collateral damage than with condoning any particular link acquisition scheme. The fact is that Google does not officially encourage website owners to trade links with each other. That's a fact.
I believe it's more about the reality that reciprocal link patterns happen naturally and as a consequence it is impractical to penalize sites within a certain threshold of activity because it will affect sites that were not intentionally trading links. Penalizing sites that trade links, within a certain low percentage of total inbound links, would affect sites that were unintentionally reciprocating links.
Every statement out of Google that I recall regarding reciprocal links is more an acknowledgement of this limitation in how far Google can go in penalizing attempts at gaming their algorithm via reciprocal link schemes than it is an encouragement to go out and trade links.