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My question is this: What are the guidlines for obtaining a reciprocal link from a website that may be considered "bad" enough to draw a penalty for your site?
We have had clients draw a PR0 from Google and been able to find the offending links every time. While it is a bit easier with Google to find what may be causing the penalty, what about other search engines such as AlltheWeb, Inktomi, etc? I know that Google is, by far, the strictest in their link considerations/penalties, but what about circumstances where a reciprocal link is obtained from a site that later decides to be an FFA site? The linking penalties that our clients have suffered have almost always been from situations like this or similar.
I guess what I'm looking for here is the best way to avoid potential reciprocal linking hazards, as well as to find what other hazards may be around that I do not know about.
"I guess what I'm looking for here is the best way to avoid potential reciprocal linking hazards" - Keep a list of all the sites you have exchanged links with, inc. contact address for the sites. Then just check through those sites periodically. Making sure they havent changed.
You can get a prog to check for the presence of links on a page but afaik i know checking if the content/structure of that page is a more complicated afair. You could write routine to check all that stuff, but it would be long winded, and you would have to update it every time you exchange links.
As far as avoiding potential linking hazards goes, it is pretty hard to tell wether a site that is law abiding now will be in the future. Thats where regular checking comes in handy. I always look through the source of a couple of pages on a site im linking with. If there is anything i would not do on my site then i dont exchange.
It all might seem a really longwinded, and unesarily time consuming process. But IMO its well worth it. Aafter all
"Getting reciprocal links can be one of the most powerful site promotion tools at your disposal" Its best to get it right.
Apologies if my input is of no help whatsoever. Someone may think of a quicker way. But i think to be thorough it takes time. I hope it helps in some way. :) I know that doesnt answer your question directly, but perhaps some of the sub questions?