A quick answer to a question I often get: “is reciprocal linking bad?”. The answer depends on what kinds of reciprocal links you’re using.
Good Reciprocal Links
Myself and other Joomla bloggers will often link between each others sites. If they make a great post that will be interesting to readers here, I’ll link to them. That link is well deserved. Great reciprocal links come from people inside your niche.
Bad Reciprocal Links
I would say that anything on a “Links” page would be bad, unless they were very tightly related to your subject. If you run a Joomla site and have a links page containing websites promoting Viagra, Fish Oil tablets, cheap airline tickets then don’t be surprised if Google considers your site to be spam also.
A long links page might not earn your site an outright penalty, but it will quite possibly lead to a prolonged ranking slump. From Aaron Wall:
“Recently I pulled the reciprocal links page off a friend’s domain and got them about a half dozen average to decent quality links. Their site went from nowhere in Google’s search results to the top 30 for their core term in a month.”
Finally, it has to be one of the very easiest spamming techniques for algorithms to detect.