Reciprocal Linkbuilding: What You Should Know
Reciprocal links offer a quick and effective way for webmasters to generate backlinks. As the name suggests, it involves creating an unofficial partnership with another webmaster in which you create a link pointing to his or her website, and they create a link pointing to yours. This practice may seem harmless enough on the surface, but there are a few things you should know before engaging in reciprocal linkbuilding.
Benefits of Reciprocal Links
There are a number of reasons why webmasters should consider using reciprocal links, one of which is the simple fact that it will drive more traffic to your website. Visitors will see your link, some of whom will click it to learn more about your site and everything it offers. Reciprocal links may also yield some SEO value, helping to boost the site’s ranking for its target keyword.
Reciprocal Links Have Less Value
First and foremost, it’s important to note that reciprocal links have less SEO value than one-way links. Why is this? Well, search engines will take notice that both sites are linking to each other, assuming there’s some type of relationship in place. And if a website has an incentive to link to another site — such as the case of reciprocal linkbuilding — it has a biased reason for creating the link; thus, the link isn’t entirely natural.
Are Reciprocal Links Allowed By Google?
The short answer is yes, reciprocal links are allowed by Google. There’s no rule, written or otherwise, stating that webmasters are prohibited from linking to one another. Websites have been doing this since the dawn of the Internet, and it’s doubtful this will change anytime soon. With that said, however, excessive reciprocal linkbuilding could be viewed as a link scheme in the eyes of the search engines.
Google lists excessive link exchanges as being a link scheme that could negatively affect a website’s search ranking:
“Excessive link exchanges (link to me and I’ll link to you) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking,” wrote Google about reciprocal links on its link scheme page.
When Google states that something is against its terms of service, it’s usually a good idea to heed its advice. Turning a blind eye to its list of link schemes could result in your website being knocked out of the rankings for its target keyword.
Reciprocal Linkbuilding Tips
If you’re going to engage in reciprocal linkbuilding with other websites, make sure it’s a small portion of your overall SEO strategy. In other words, don’t focus the bulk of your marketing efforts on reciprocal linkbuilding. This practice is a great for generating some initial exposure while also diversifying your backlink portfolio, but as stated by Google: excessive link exchanges can and will hurt a website’s search ranking. Use reciprocal links sparingly to ensure it has a positive impact on your website’s ranking.
What do you think about reciprocal links? Let us know in the comments section below!