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How and When to Use Reciprocal Links in SEO

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by | Feb 26, 2014 | Digital Marketing

Reciprocal linking has been a part of search engine optimization for a very long time now. If you start building your own backlinks, you will start to notice them everywhere. When you have an opportunity to place a backlink on another site, that company will likely want a link to their own site as well. This is reciprocal linking; a link exchange in which two sites post links to each other.

These mutual links offer many SEO advantages. The most important is that it creates more backlinks to your site, boosting your ratings in search engines. It also offers another method that allows more people to access your content. If your website is being linked from a reputable and popular site, it could potentially drive a lot of traffic to your content.

So if reciprocal linking has such great benefits, when should you to it?

Linking to a relevant site. You want to make sure that your links direct to a site that has similar content. If your site is about pet care, you probably don’t want to share a link with a boating enthusiast site. Google checks for sites attempting to boost their reciprocal links and can punish you for things like this.When it is to a complementary site. The idea is that you are linking to sites that are good for your customers. This means you don’t want to link to a direct competitor, as it is not always in your best interest to drive more traffic to them. It may also give them more benefits than you are receiving.

Only link when it is natural. Don’t go overboard with reciprocal links. You want more regular backlinks than mutual ones. You also want to make your links feel more natural rather than forced. Try embedding it into your content, rather than linking on the sidebar. Google checks for links like that and will often ignore them if it doesn’t seem natural.

There are some other things to look out for when setting up your reciprocal links. If you link to a site that is not trustworthy, even if it is relevant, you can be punished by lowering your SEO. Another thing to watch out for is link farming. This is a technique that started when reciprocal linking started to become popular. People started linking all kinds of sites together that offered no benefit to visitors. They often just linked to a page that was simply full of links. Google and other search engines put a stop to this and now punish sites that practice this. It may be an old system, but people still try to do that, so be careful that you don’t get put on something like this.

Reciprocal links are a great tool for SEO. When done the right way, they can add a lot of benefit to your site. Just make sure that the pages you are linking are relevant and natural.