Reciprocal links risk and detection


 It appears Yahoo may be taking a lead on Google over better penalising websites which SEO agencies have optimised using dubious inbound link generation. The links detection patent filed by Yahoo earlier this year will have many SEO agencies worried over the future of their client websites. Cornish WebServices SEO techniques do not use any of reciprocal link building, paid links, three-way links or any other such scheme which risks client websites, but this is uncommon amongst SEO agencies.

Reciprocal links detection patent by Yahoo

The following is taken from the link detection patent filed by Yahoo.

"A method for identifying reciprocal links is provided. At a particular host, the set of hosts which link to the particular host and the set of hosts to which the particular host links are determined. The intersection and union of the two sets of hosts are also determined, and the sizes of the intersection and union are calculated. The concentration of reciprocal links at the particular host is calculated based on the sizes of the intersection and union. A ratio of the intersection size to the union size is used to determine the concentration of reciprocal links. The particular host's rank in a list of ranked search results may be changed as a result of identification of a high concentration of reciprocal links."

How is this link detection patent important to ethical SEO?

Ethical SEO companies should not be using reciprocal links, but it is interesting that most big name SEO companies do in fact operate link building programs, usually outsourced to offshore link building agencies. Cornish are unusual in not doing this and have maintained top ranking positions for clients without going down this route. But part of our work is to check there is nothing which may appear as reciprocal link building by accident.

So how does the patent above impact on search engine optimisation of websites? It highlights huge potential problems from shared hosting if the phrase “host” above is taken to mean the host server. This would indicate that if your website shares hosting with another website operating reciprocal links type activities, then your website could be penalised.

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