Reciprocal Links and Their Impact on SEO

Reciprocal Links and their Impact on SEO

It is an ongoing debate for years on the use of Reciprocal links and how they affect your website. Many SEO experts still use reciprocal links to boost their websites. Though it can have negative effects too. Here are some details that you must know before going for a reciprocal link for your website.

Reciprocal links or also known as “Link Exchange” or “Link Trade” was a popular link-building technique since the early 2000s. Their popularity has decreased greatly in the past few years.

The way we use reciprocal links today is drastically different from what it was 20 years ago. A link-building study by Ahref, states that “developing relationships through authentic outreach, and linking to sources without expecting anything in return, are the most proper and natural ways to build reciprocal links.”

They found that only 26.4% of authoritative domains are not using reciprocal links. This clearly indicates that the use of reciprocal links is still common. Whether you are running your business or are working for an SEO Company chances are that you are using reciprocal links.

What are Reciprocal Links?

A reciprocal link is a link-building technique that involves an agreement between two brands or companies to exchange links with each other to boost the SEO and authority of their respective websites.

Think of it as a quid pro quo for SEO.

It does sound shady, doesn’t it? Well maybe. Is it shady?

That depends on the way you do it and how much you do it.

Are Reciprocal Links Beneficial for SEO?

The trick to increasing your authority and ranks (while reducing the danger of search engine penalties) is to focus on less hazardous ideas and tactics. Above all, your link-building strategies should improve your customers' online experience.

Rather than focusing on SERP rankings and your website's link profile, produce high-quality content to provide something of value to your visitors and consumers.

External links on your site can help with SEO, but they aren't the most important factor in your site's rating.

Utilizing Reciprocal Links to Boost SEO

The entire experience of your readers on your website are improved by linking to high-quality sites that are relevant to your content. We all know that content is king, and providing unique and relevant material to your viewers on a regular basis will earn your site a place on the throne.

You may establish your site as a reliable source of information by linking to high-value material. Consider it a bonus if the other site reciprocates the link in this situation — the content is what matters most.

Check the site's SEO analytics before requesting reciprocation to make sure you're trading links with a high-authority domain.

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

       Could the other website improve your traffic?

       Is the website related to your niche or not?

       Make sure that the other website is not a direct competitor.

A common practice for building reciprocal links is the use of Online Directories. They mostly fit all the above-mentioned points.

How Reciprocal Links Hurt SEO?

Natural reciprocal links have some advantages, but if you don't apply common sense, swapping links might undermine your site's authority and rankings. Here are four instances in which reciprocal links can harm your SEO:

Penalizing Website

Reciprocal links, simply expressed, are against Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

If your website is exploiting backlinks — that is, if you are attempting to influence search results by exchanging links – you risk getting penalized by Google.

Decrease in Search Engine Rankings and Authority

If you link to external sites that aren't relevant to your content, your page's site authority and SERP ranks may suffer. Check the site's Alexa ranking and make sure the material is relevant before linking.

In some situations, referring back to low-authority sites is OK, but linking to these sites frequently will not boost the authority of your own website.

Providing SEO Benefit to Direct Competitors

When you link to sites that have the same target keywords and phrases as yours, your chances of getting a reciprocal connection is slim.

As a result, you're simply improving the SEO of your competitors, not your own. Link exchanges or reciprocating links should take place between sites that have comparable material and subjects, rather than between sites that are directly competitive.

Losing Trust of Search Engines

No SEO Agency or an Independent SEO wants to lose the trust of search engines. Reciprocal Links can contribute to this in two ways:

       Having a large number of 1-to-1 links

       Using anchor texts that are not related to the content

Final Thoughts

Any successful link-building strategy must include the development of industry contacts. Linking to relevant, trustworthy sites is a great approach to establish authority and cultivate partnerships with niche brands.

By linking to authority sites, your site increases its chances of being viewed by the owners of those sites, potentially leading to future links.

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