During the last webmaster hangout, there was an interesting conversation between SEO and Google employee John Mueller.
The optimizer asked a question regarding the link exchange strategy: is this practice legal? and does not it contradict Google’s principles in the event that the exchange is voluntary and the links are thematically relevant and useful to the user?.
A Google employee confirmed that link exchanges are against all Google Webmaster Guidelines, and search algorithms will try to ignore such links. To antispam search specialists, these links also look abnormal. And if most of the links to the site were obtained through just this practice of mutual exchange, then the site is not far from manual sanctions and it is better not to bring it to that, says SearchEngines.
Even if all such links are thematically relevant and useful for the user, this method of obtaining takes them beyond the boundaries of the natural link mass, notes NIXsolutions.
Of course, webmasters will always find a way to say that the way they do it is acceptable for one reason or another. But the truth is, they are most likely wrong. Mueller cautioned SEOs against inventing theories that fit their needs. The main thing is how it can affect the ranking of the site.
“If you look at the Google manual, it says that excessive reciprocal linking or partner pages created solely for cross-linking is against the guidelines. The manual is clear about this, and webmasters should have no doubts. “