Reciprocal Links Are Not Evil
I will repeat, reciprocal links are not evil. All this discussion in the forums about how people only want one-way links because they heard reciprocal links are bad and can get you kicked out of the search engines is taken way out of proportion. One example of such a thread is at Search Engine Watch named Reciprocal Links Are Evil!. Let me explain.
As I said in my response, there is nothing wrong to have site A link to site B and site B link to site A. When linking to any site, you need to ask yourself “will this link be of value to my web site visitor?” If the answer is yes, then by all means – link away. Take this site for example, it gets many links from search engine related news sites, forums, blogs and even search engine official blogs. Does that mean I should not link to them back? Of course I should. I link to forums, blogs, new sites and the official search blogs every day. They link to me, I link to them – a reciprocal link, in a sense. But I link to them because they have a document of value to my reader. They link to this site because, I hope, this site has a document of value to their reader. Its the natural development of links that search engines want to see.
This does not mean that you should email everyone that is on topic to your site and ask them to swap links. You can of course, but to some extent. Make sure it feels natural and looks natural. Some might argue that looking natural is not so important, well if it is not, it will be in the near future. As Nick W says in the thread “be inventive – be extaordinary – be contraversial – be outstanding and link out generously and all good things will follow. Really they will…”
I have an article I wrote on this topic to try to clear things up. I have named the article Web Links from the Search Engine’s Perspective. See I just linked to a document I think will be of use to you. 🙂 Of course it is a link to my corporate site but I do not care, I still hope it will be helpful.