Receiprocal Links Advantages And Disadvantages

What are Reciprocal Links?

Reciprocal links are links between two sites that have been created and link to each other because they cover similar topics or provide complementary goods or services. The owners of the sites may find that it helps to link to each other for their visitors’ benefit.

Site owners may do this to give visitors a chance to see both sites. Sites may be related or as a show of partnership. Following the mythology and folklore surrounding search engine optimization – you may have read or heard that reciprocal links are bad and search engines don’t like them.

When we talk about reciprocal links, we’re simply talking about mutual links that are exchanged between two site owners.

In other words, you’re getting links from other people in exchange for linking back to their pages or resources from the content you’re creating for your own website or the guest posts you might be writing on others websites’ blogs.

We’ll cover more on that a little further down in this post.

Let’s get into a bit more detail about reciprocal links.

Reciprocal links are more than just a simple exchange agreement between two sites.

Some professionals believe that, nowadays, it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to receive a link without giving a link back.

If that’s the case, then link exchanges should be on the rise and link building is shifting towards a “give, then ask” approach.

Why are search engines so concerned about reciprocal links?

Classifications for Search Ranking Signals

When you perform a search, the pages that respond to your search rank and are ordered by the search engine are based on many signals used by the search engine. These try to provide you with pages that might best match up with what you intended to find on the Web.

That kind of ranking is a challenge for search engines. There can often be many thousands or millions of pages containing the words you used to perform your search. So search engines want to try to provide the best pages that they can at the top of the results. Or they may try to find better pages than the other search engines are showing.

These different signals that a search engine might use to determine the order of pages in search results could be classified in a few different ways.

You now know what reciprocal links are and where they started.

We haven’t yet answered the burning question: can reciprocal links hurt your SEO?

Truth is, reciprocal links can be hard to locate by Google and that’s why they’re still being used, even though they often overstep the bounds of ethical marketing strategies.

To put it simply, excessive reciprocal linking can definitely hurt your SEO.

However, there are some cases one can use their common sense for and make sure the reciprocity in link building is not violating any guidelines, but is indeed adding value to the content readers are consuming.

Before we get any further, let’s have a look at Google’s Webmaster Guidelines on link schemes and link farms.


Do Reciprocal Links Benefit Your SEO Strategy?

link building can play an essential role in your overall SEO strategy. When used in the right way, even reciprocal links can be beneficial.

The goal, however, is to ensure you are enhancing the customer’s experience while on your website.

Here are the benefits of reciprocal links to your SEO strategy.

Enhances the Customer or Potential Customer Experience

Reciprocal linking can enhance the customer experience on your website.

As a result, the linking can lead to higher engagement with your content, which will get you noticed by search engine algorithms.

Positions You as a Trusted Authority

Reciprocal links can help establish you and your website as a trusted authority.

By providing customers and potential customers with access to more related resources, it shows that you understand them and their problems and are confident enough in what you offer to send them to other sources for information.

Search engine algorithms recognize this, and as a result, you can move up in SERP results.

Increases Website Traffic

Links can increase your  website traffic, bringing in potential customers who may not already be aware of what you have to offer.

This increase in website traffic is another factor that alerts search engines that you are receiving increasing attention, pushing you up on the list of search page results.

However, while  external link on your website can be beneficial to your SEO, they are not the driving force behind SERP rankings.

You can use them to benefit customers and potential customers, and this, in turn, can lead to higher engagement with your brand, which will have a more positive effect on SEO.


Can Reciprocal Links Be Bad for Your SEO?

While reciprocal links can be beneficial, they also come with risks, making them bad for your SEO under specific circumstances.

Of all the types of linking techniques, reciprocal linking is the one with the highest risk of being abused.

When used solely to improve SEO, with no relationship involved, the result is often spammy and bothersome to consumers who try to follow the links.

Also, excessive use of reciprocal linking will negatively affect your SEO.

Carelessly exchanging links can be bad for your SEO, and your site authority, in the following ways.

Penalization of Your Website by Google

Reciprocal links, when carelessly added, can cause your website to be penalized by Google because they go against the search engine’s documented guidelines.

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, reciprocal links that are in place to attempt to manipulate search results will be met with swift penalties.

This is a big deal, so let’s spend a little time here,

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines specially address link schemes and link exchanges, with the goal of gaming PageRank or search result rankings.

What might a penalty look like in this type of situation? There are two potential penalties, including:

  • Downgrading your site in search results.
  • De-indexing your website (for the more series cases).

Penalties and the resulting negative impact on SEO can occur due to the following actions:

  • The buying and selling of links that pass PageRank.
  • Excessive reciprocal linking.
  • Creating partner pages containing lower-quality content for cross-linking purposes only.
  • Automating the process to generate backlinks to your site (e.g., using automation services for link acquisition).

Risk of Losing Search Engine Trust

With poorly positioned reciprocal links, you are at risk of losing the trust of search engines.

This loss of trust can come about in a few definable ways, including:

  • You include on your website numerous one-to-one links.
  • The anchor of your links is continually suspicious or wholly unrelated to your content.

Decrease In Website Authority and SERP Rankings

Linking to external sites that are not in some way relevant to your customers or content can lead to dramatic decreases in website authority and SERP rankings.

The way to prevent this is by always ensuring that the content you link to in a reciprocal agreement is relevant.

While the other site doesn’t always necessarily need to be a high-authority site, the more often it is, the less it can lower your site authority or rankings.

Potential for Increasing Your Competition’s SEO Not Yours

While reciprocal linking needs to be with a site offering a similar theme or content, you will need to avoid linking to a competing site.

It’s understandable that a similar site may use the same keywords or phrases as your website, but more often than not, linking to them will not garnish a reciprocated link back.

You’ll only be boosting the competition’s SEO, not yours.

Be sure to weigh all of these risks carefully when considering including reciprocal links in your SEO strategy. Overlooking even one of them can wreak havoc on your search engine optimization plans


The use of links by search engines as a ranking signal to determine how well a page might rank in search results. It is just one of many ranking signals that a search engine may use. Site owners might attempt to have links pointing to their pages only to increase the rankings of their pages in search results.

The three patent filings that I’ve referred to in this post are just ways that a search engine might try to identify when people attempt to inflate their rankings by linking solely to manipulate their rankings.

The chances are that if the links on your blog or site are open and transparent, and reasonable (rather than excessive). They provide value to your visitors, and reasonably cover similar topics or complementary ones. Your links may go out to sites that might link back to yours. A Search Engine might find those links to be legitimate. If you include indications on your pages that you will link back to others who link to you to boost rankings in search results, you may have more reason to be concerned. If you engage in link farms or link schemes or reciprocal link programs, a search engine might find your pages to be “suspicious” and maybe taking a closer look..


Author: refuge_2020

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