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If everything looks alright then my advice would be to ride it out... I've seen sites plummet out of site for a few months than jump back up to the top without apparent rhyme or reason.
I wonder if its a good idea to have a separate site serve as your link-out site. Then, you could do reciprocals with people who simply want the link and traffic, though not necessarily the PR from your main site.
The only question would be: does a bad neighborhood penalty only make one jump back to the source of the link (in this case, the second site that serves as a link-out site), or can it travel further back, to the site that spawned the link-out site? Don't think so, but...
That's totally backward. It's 100% "dirt". Google specifically says to not get involved in link schemes. There is no negative at all in having a simple link page on a domain. These crazy daisy chain link schemes have been getting hit the past couple months and deservedly so.
There is nothing wrong with reciprocal links. There is everything wrong with link schemes.
Yep. Yet amazingly, many who employed them not only think that they did/should have fooled G, but when they get slammed, they seem to sincerely(?) wonder what happened.
It's not about having a links page, or not having a links page. It's about linking to relevant sites...important sites...from pages that make sense to link from.
It's about linking to relevant sites that your users might actually want to visit (what a concept!).
And it's about *not* participating in, as steveb says, schemes, that are primarily designed to enhance rankings in the SERP's.
It's about the users. It's about the users. It's about the users.
It's *not* about sites that are trying to take advantage of users. :-)
I remember go.com where you had to include sites as an editor to get high in the serps. Pointless exercise but it worked. At least you know someone is going to be worrying about their website if they are out getting links rather than someone who is ranked on keywords in domian or something. Nothing worse than a dead site with no graphics and it has not been touched since 1998.
I have. One of my (former) competitors. :-)
We have lots of recip links. No problem, as long as they make sense.
It's a grayer area than it used to be, I think, but generally if we're linking to good sites, and good sites are linking to us, and some or even many of those links are recip, it has not been a problem.
But if you are linking to your own sites just to inflate pr, and then you worry that it's too transparent or might get you into trouble with G, so you link to other link partners from strawman sites, it may well catch up to you, since in the end, what you're doing is simply still linking to your own sites for PR reasons, not because it makes any sense.
I'm not passing judgement. Point is, G doesn't like seeing (for example) tons of bottom-of-the-page links on every page, to every page of another site that you own, for the purpose of PR or other SEO reasons. They don't necessarily always catch it, but they don't like it, and if they don't like it, my observation is that it's just a matter of time.
Really? Dozens of sites have been hit in my niche. A virtual slaughter for some link families.
And Google is the one that defines link schemes. A scheme is a systematic, deceptive plan of action. These link chains are the most obvious example of a scheme... utterly pointless on their own, just something pretending to be something else.
Utterly pointless? Perhaps a webmaster has 8 pharmaceutical/health related sites. He would like to give his visitors one place to find all the resources he's gathered over the years of being in this industry. Should he create 8 directories, 1 on each site, if 90% of the same links/resources would be relevant?
Perhaps not. Why not create one directory and if it's got nice PR, receives a lot of traffic, and is logically organized and structured would it be wrong to ask other webmasters to link to 2, 4 maybe even all 8 of his sites if they want to be listed? Many people would be happy to do so rather than pay for a Yahoo directory link, or business.com.
[I'm not against RL'ing by any means] Any reciprocal linking is a scheme. It's manufactured to boost both parties rankings and or traffic. It's calculated. Doesn't make it wrong any more than integrating it with other clever methods does so long as it's still useful. If you're all about being altruistic when linking, why ever ask for a reciprocal?
If things are relevant and made with the end-user in mind it's not overly likely that you'll be penalized.
This isn't the issue. The issue is creating such a thing purely as a scheme to do serial linking.
"Any reciprocal linking is a scheme"
That's just nonsense.
But neither of these distractions have any connection to the "dirty" scheme that seeks to pretend that something that is something is something else. Two sites reciprocating links are not hiding this fact. That is the issue here. If A links to B that links to C specifically to hide the link relationship, that is obviously a scheme and completely different than reciprocal linking.
"Any reciprocal linking is a scheme"
That's just nonsense.
Scheme: n. A systematic plan of action
And I think you missed the issue. There was no evidence of nefarious scheme mentioned in ownerrim's post. It was simply an idea to possibly avoid penalization if sometime down the road a legitimate site goes blackhat, get's snapped on expiration and turned into a whale p0rn site or whatever.
You must have some specific examples of crap (daisy link, etc etc) that did get penalized and were just that, crap. That's fine. But what your post implied is that any offsite organization of links for whatever reason is worthy of being deemed a scheme (in the light in which you use the word).
You're just being silly. An exchange of links isn't a systematic plan of action. It's an indivdual event, and normally lacks devious intent. But more to the point you sink the mess yourself:
"It was simply an idea to possibly avoid penalization..."
Duh. A contrivance, a scheme. They are talking about devious plotting. Being obtuse about obvious meaning is a waste of time. Do what you want, but the point is that trying to deceive the search engines is something they don't like, and something they tell you not to do.
A systematic plan of action.
A secret or devious plan; a plot.
To plot: scheming their revenge.
To contrive a plan or scheme for.
To make plans, especially secret or devious ones.
Sorry, "Next issue" would have been more proper. I tend to go with the first definition.
Reciprocating links is normally done with the intent to boost search engine rankings. The reason links are used to calculate rankings is that the votes are supposed to be democratic, not nepotistic.
So if your hope is in any way shape or form to improve SERPs by practicing reciprocation of links then you're participating in a "scheme". An it is systematic unless your overall link exchange campaign starts and stops with your first trade.
How is trying to protect yourself against undue penalization any more "devious" than trading a link that otherwise NEVER would have been given, in order to boost your rankings? You are actively manipulating the search engines. I'm afraid you're wearing a soiled white hat.
I welcome your comments...
This is plainly wrong. Google has no problem with domains linking to their own pages. Zero, nothing. And beyond that, votes for your relatives are legitimate and counted.
Ignoring "devious", "deceptive" and "contrived" in any conception of "scheme" is a waste of time. It doesn't help anyone to read the Google or Yahoo guidelines obtusely. They say to not do something. Now as a webmaster, go ahead and do what you want. It's not a question of hats. It's a question of reading comprehension. They don't like link schemes. Define that however you want. And they will define it how they want.
Any crosslinking between them?
Used to, but you get a penalty for that. Independently promoted is the best way.