Do Reciprocal Links Help Or Harm Your Search Engine Rankings?

Reciprocal Links

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

June 16, 2022

Sites can benefit from reciprocal links, but they can also harm SEO and site authority. Before transferring connections, keep the following points in mind.

When link building first became popular in the early 2000s, reciprocal connections, also known as traded or exchanged links, were widely adopted.

It’s still common to see reciprocal links. After all, running a website naturally produces them.

However, the appearance of reciprocal links on websites has changed significantly during the last two decades.

For this piece, I consulted an in-depth Ahrefs link building study, which concluded – and I have to say, I must agree! The best approach to establish reciprocal links is by genuine outreach and referring to sources without expecting anything in return.

Ahrefs’ investigation found that just 26.4 per cent of the authority domains studied were not linked to reciprocal links.

As a result, it’s safe to say that reciprocal links are still widespread.

However, one remains to be answered: Do reciprocal links help or harm your search engine optimization?

Links That Rely On Each Other – What Are They?

Links are traded in the form of an agreement that says, in essence, “you link to me, and I’ll link to you,” to increase SEO and site authority.

A “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” situation is what a reciprocal link is all about.

Is this a suspicious deal?


Is it a shady deal?

It’s possible. How frequently you use reciprocal links on your site will impact the results you get.

We referred to Ahrefs in the third paragraph of this post. We will benefit from a naturally occurring reciprocal link because of the link. Ahrefs has complete discretion over whether they link back to this article.

Let us now examine the polar opposite of the spectrum.

If you’d like to see an example of a dubious link-exchange deal, go no further than this:

Is it so unappealing?

Are reciprocal links good for SEO?

It’s critical to focus on techniques and tactics that are less hazardous if you want to improve your authority and rankings (while also decreasing the likelihood of fines from search engines).

Your link development strategy should always aim to improve your customers’ experience on your website.

By producing high-quality content instead of focusing on your website’s search engine rankings and link profile, you’ll be delivering something of value to your readers and consumers.

Your site’s rating isn’t based solely on the number of external links you have but rather the quality of those links.

Use Reciprocal Links to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

Including links to relevant, high-quality websites improves the user experience for your website’s visitors.

Consistently providing your readers with high-quality content is what will put your site on the throne.

You can establish your website as a reliable source of information by linking to high-quality material. If the other site links back to you, consider that a bonus; the content is what matters here.

Make sure you’re exchanging links with a high-authority website if you desire reciprocation based on SEO metrics.

Mutually beneficial reciprocal links can emerge when high-ranking websites link to each other naturally.

Before exchanging links, here are some things to consider:

  • Is the external site capable of boosting traffic to your site?
  • The site you’ve chosen produces and disseminates content relevant to your niche, right?
  • If so, is the brand or business a direct rival? (This should be a no-brainer!)

Internet directories are one type of reciprocal linking that is almost always acceptable.

Include a backlink to the directory on your site and make sure it’s relevant to your business or specialty.

One of the most prominent directories for blogs, Feedspot categorizes them by niche and has a link exchange agreement with travel blogger Euro Travel Coach.

Links can harm SEO in four ways.

When done incorrectly, link exchanges can be harmful to your site authority and rankings, even if they have the potential to be beneficial. Links can harm your search engine optimization in the following four ways:

Penalization of a site (Manual Action)

In a nutshell, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines prohibit reciprocal linking.

If you’re trying to influence search results by swapping links, you face a high risk of being punished by Google if your site abuses backlinks.

Site Authority and Rankings fall.

Site authority and search engine rankings may suffer if you direct visitors to sites that aren’t relevant to your content.

Ensure that the content is appropriate, and check the site’s Alexa ranking before linking.

Linking to low-authority sites is acceptable in some instances, but linking to these sites frequently will have no positive impact on the authority of your website.

Increasing SEO for Direct Competition

There are very little odds of getting a reciprocal link if you connect to sites with the same keywords and phrases as your website.

Your competitors, not you, will boost your SEO.

It is preferable to have link exchanges or reciprocated links between like-minded websites rather than directly competitive ones.

Loss of Confidence

Search engines’ confidence in your site should never be shaken. There are two ways reciprocal links can cause this:

  • The number of one-to-one links on your site is absurd.
  • It’s always suspicious or unrelated to your content when the anchor text of your link is questionable.

Establishing Personal Contact Is Crucial

A key component of any successful link-building strategy is the development of personal connections within your field of expertise.

It’s a great method to gain trust and authority in your field by linking to trusted, relevant resources.

Your site has a better chance of getting seen by the owners of the authority sites you link to, which could lead to future links from them.


At the beginning of the 6th month,

Date of detection: 12 months

The average number of reciprocal connections per month is 1-2, but this varies depending on the frequency of interaction.

The following resources are available to you: Alexa Site Information

Mutually beneficial links:

  • Your site becomes a trustworthy source of information for your readers,
  • which in turn increases the number of visitors to your site.

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