Trading of links (aka reciprocal linking) was a popular method to build links and get traffic in early 2000s but its popularity has decreased in the recent years. Nevertheless, trading of links is still a relatively common practice. But the way reciprocal linking is done today is different from what had been done 20 years ago.
The most natural way of reciprocal linking is to develop relationships through authentic outreach, and linking to the resources without expecting anything in return.
In this scenario, you may wonder if reciprocal links are good or bad for SEO.
What are reciprocal links?
The exchange of links takes place when an agreement is made between two brands to trade links for the purpose of boosting SEO and site authority. This scenario is pretty much like a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” situation.
So, is it a shady practice? It could be. It majorly depends on how and how often you are planning to use it.
Are these links good for SEO?
It would be worth mentioning here that if you want to increase the rank and authority of your website, you need to focus on less risky strategies and tactics.Hence, the major focus of your strategy needs to be to enhance your customer’s experience of your site. And so, if you have a room for the reciprocal linking in such a way that your efforts to ensure better user experience are not affected, you are definitely good to go.
For instance, you can consider using reciprocal linking by linking to the high quality websites only. Make sure that those sites are relevant to your content in such a way that they tend to explain what you have been talking about in your content.
Remember, it is all about the content that you post on your site. if you have been posting original and valuable content on your site, your site becomes eligible to earn a nice spot in the search engine page results.
Your request for the reciprocation should be put forward after fair amount of thinking and analysis about the authority and rank of the website you are going to ask link from. A natural reciprocation of links between two high quality and relevant sites is the only beneficial way reciprocal links can be helpful.
How can the reciprocal links be bad for your SEO?
A senseless exchange of links between two sites can do more harm than good. There are some ways reciprocal links can be bad for your SEO.
- In simple words, reciprocal links do not comply with the Google’s webmaster guidelines. If you are engaged in the practice of abusing links or you are exchanging links just for the sake of exchange, your site is going to be slapped a manual penalty, which can be pretty bad for your site.
- Linking to the external sites which are not relevant to your site or page can be quite harmful for the ranking of your site. Before you make a link, make sure that you are linking to a relevant and high quality resource.
- The final thing that can happen eventually after the practice of senseless reciprocal linking is the loss of trust. If your site is not trustworthy among your users, they are not going to visit it.
So, what needs to be done?
The first thing that you are going to have to look for while linking is the relevance. Make sure that the site you are linking to is relevant to what you talk about. If you want to get engaged in a trade of links, you will have to make sure that the partner site is relevant to your site.