Reciprocal Links 2.0
There's a new form of reciprocal linking that is sweeping the blogging world. Big name bloggers are promising to link to any other blog that writes a review about them. At first blush this seems like a win-win situation, but I think one side is getting a much better deal than the other.
First off, let me remind everyone that the idea behind the original reciprocal linking efforts was to improve search engine rankings by getting as many inbound links as possible. Such links were a key ranking factor used in Google's algorithm and the method worked for quite some time. However, the value of these sorts of links has diminished as Google has tweaked its algorithm to identify unnatural linking patterns with the intent of discounting the value of these types of links.
Reciprocal Links 2.0 adds a new element to the game. This updated effort has people writing reviews and including a link in that review. This is good for the site being reviewed because it obtains a link from a page with relevant content. Unfortunately the reviewer, in exchange for 200+ words of content, gets just a link back from a page full of other links with no content. Because of this, I believe that the value of these links back to the reviewing sites is limited even if the PageRank of the reviewed site is relatively high.
However, I will admit there's one angle to all of this that might still make the effort worthwhile. That element is the Technorati rankings which is a system that is easily gamed. A high Technorati ranking can attract additional visitors and have a snowball effect. Also, a high Technorati ranking can help increase the value of the site since such rankings are used in the calculations used by the likes of ReviewMe and TextLinkAds to determine how much a site is worth.