What are Reciprocal links? Are they bad for SEO?

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What are Reciprocal links?

A reciprocal link, often referred to as a “reciprocal link,” is a link where two websites agree to link to each other. This boosts both websites’ SEO and site authority by saying, “You link to me, and I’ll link to you.” Usually, these links are seen as a way of exchanging traffic and authority between two websites.

However, there is some debate over whether or not reciprocal links are bad for SEO. Some believe that exchanging links can be seen as a form of spamming by Google and may hurt your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Others argue that if the links are used correctly, they can improve your SEO.

A study by Ahrefs shows that 26.4% of the 140,592 domains in their sample have no reciprocal links, while 73.6% have reciprocal links. Furthermore, 27.4% of the sites studied have at least a 15% overlap between the sites they link to and those that link to them.

The graph below indicates that only 26.4% of the authority domains in the study do not use reciprocal links:

Is Reciprocal Link really bad?

While there is no clear answer as to whether or not reciprocal links are bad for SEO, the data from this study shows that most websites use them and that they can be beneficial if used correctly. If you decide to use reciprocal links on your website, be sure to do so in a way that is strategic and beneficial for both parties involved.

In some cases, reciprocal links are built naturally. According to Ahrefs 19.25% of the domains, they link also to link back to them. Consequently, reciprocal linking is a common event on the internet, so you likely shouldn’t hesitate to link to sites that have already linked to you. The same goes for requesting links from websites you already link to.

Whether or not reciprocal links are bad for SEO depends on how they’re used. If they’re used in a way that’s considered spammy by Google, they could negatively impact your website’s ranking. However, if they’re used in a way that’s considered legitimate and beneficial to both websites, then they could improve your SEO.

Are Reciprocal links good for SEO?

The answer to this question is slightly more nuanced than a simple yes or no. Generally speaking, reciprocal links are less beneficial for SEO than one-way links. However, if you have high-quality content on your site, reciprocal links can still help to boost your ranking.

One of the most important things to remember when building links is that the quality of your content is more important than the quantity of links you have. If you focus on creating valuable content that provides real value to your readers, you will be more successful in boosting your SEO rankings and increasing your authority.

Most importantly, your link-building strategies should improve your customer’s journey on your website. By providing a great user experience, you’ll improve your SEO and build customer loyalty.

So, while reciprocal links aren’t the best option for link-building, they can still be helpful – as long as your site has high-quality content that provides value to users.

How To Use Reciprocal Links To Help Your SEO

Reciprocal links are a great way to improve your site’s SEO. You can help your readers find additional information and resources by linking to high-quality sites relevant to your content.

To use reciprocal links effectively, start by finding quality websites to link to. Make sure the sites are relevant to your content and have a good reputation.

Next, contact the webmasters of the sites you’d like to link to and ask for a link exchange. Be sure to provide them with a link to your own website so they can see what you’re all about.

If both parties are happy with the arrangement, add a reciprocal link from each site. This will help improve your site’s SEO and boost your ranking in search engine results pages.

Here are a few things to consider before you pursue a link exchange:

1. Check the site’s SEO metrics to ensure that you exchange links with a high-authority website.

2. Make sure that the external site produces content and shares information related to your niche.

3. Make sure the brand or business is not a direct competitor.

4. Could the external site improve your site’s traffic?

What does Google say about reciprocal links?

Google in Spam policies says exchanging links with other websites can benefit both websites involved. However, Google also warns webmasters about the potential for link spam if links are exchanged solely to manipulate search engine rankings. 

Google recommends that webmasters focus on creating high-quality content that naturally attracts links from other websites.

Google has mentioned excessive reciprocal links and also things like:

  • Links created to manipulate PageRank
  • Link to web spammers or websites with bad reputations
  • Too many reciprocal links or too much link exchanging (“link to me and I’ll link to you”)
  • Purchasing or selling links that pass PageRank

Final Say: Should you be building reciprocal links?

The answer is probably no if you’re asking whether you should build reciprocal links. Exchange links with other sites in your industry, and you’re not likely to see much benefit you may even violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. However, building relationships with other websites can help you get more exposure and potentially increase traffic to your site. If you’re not sure whether link building is right for you, consider talking to an SEO expert to get their opinion. Thanks for reading!

I hope this helps! 🙂

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Anup Joshi
Anup is an enthusiastic SEO professional who loves to put his best practices and research into his work to give the best results. He is the hand and brain behind the SEO at Top.

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