Reciprocal Links: Do They Help or Hurt Your SEO?

Reciprocal Links: Do They Help or Hurt Your SEO?
20Jul, 2021

Reciprocal Links: Do They Help or Hurt Your SEO?

Looking to discover how reciprocal links help or hurt your SEO? Read further to discover more. 

Reciprocal links, also referred to as exchanged or traded links were created to aid link-building among site owners in the early 2000s. 

These links function in a vice versa method; “I do this for you, you do the same”. They’re put in place after an agreement between two separate brands to trade links to boost each other’s SEO. 

Reciprocal links although not so popular are still being used. The reason for this? They are an unavoidable byproduct of owning a website. 

In building your SEO, while also trying to boost your rankings and authority, the connections you make are crucial to how well your site grows. 

Linking your site to trusted ones that offer relevant content is crucial as it serves to enhance the experience of each reader. 

Want to find out if reciprocal links can help or hurt your SEO? Read further to get answers!

Can reciprocal links help my SEO?

To answer that question, yes, there are benefits to exchanging reciprocal links. 

Exchanging links with reliable sites come with benefits that are useful for building a strong SEO system. Below are ways reciprocal links can help your SEO. 

1. Increase in site traffic

One huge benefit of reciprocal links is it brings a steady flow of traffic into your site. Wondering how this works? 

Well, in exchanging links with other site owners, your site tends to pop up quickly in search results. Thereby placing your site in the limelight. 

2. Enhances the readers’ experience

When individuals go on Google to search, they always want to get the best out of each search result. Exchanging links is one sure way to achieve this. 

Reciprocal links act as extras, they lead the reader to various other sites, thereby providing a ton of relevant answers for the reader. 

This in turn improves the readers’ experience, making it easier to get answers at a click. 

3. Helps to build a stable relationship

One other way reciprocal links can help your SEO is by building relationships with reliable sites. 

This simply implies that you get good partnerships with each link exchanged through sites established as trusted authorities. 

Building relationships with trusted sites is a very important part of boosting your SEO, and this can be achieved through the help of reciprocal links. 

4. Places your site as a trusted authority

Everyone’s always wary of shady sites, trying to avoid them as much as possible. 

This is where reciprocal links come in, they serve to establish your site as a trusted authority amongst other sites.

How can reciprocal links hurt my SEO?

Yes, there are obvious benefits of linking up with reciprocal links but on the other hand, these links can also hurt your SEO badly. 

In the process of exchanging and linking with other users, harm can be done to your site’s security, ranking and authority. 

Below are four (4) ways reciprocal links can hurt your SEO. 

5. Loss of ranking and authority

One major way reciprocal links can cause harm to your SEO is by decreasing the rate of ranking your site gets on a normal basis. 

If you happen to mistakenly link external sites that are irrelevant to your site, your entire site can experience a major breakdown. 

This breakdown can include a huge drop in your rankings and the site’s authority. 

It is important to take note of the fact that external links may be harmful to your website. Therefore it is crucial to check through before deciding to link your site with an external one. 

Also check if the content in the external link is relevant, if it’s not don’t link. 

6. Your site might be penalized

Linking to external sites at a high rate can cause your site to face penalties.  Want to know why? Here’s a pretty straightforward reason; Reciprocal links are fully against Google’s Webmaster Guideline. 

Reciprocal links run on the “Scratch my back, I scratch yours” system. This on its own can make a user suspicious. 

If you try to manipulate recent or previous search results by exchanging links with another site, your entire website is at a high risk of being penalized. 

Google tracks sites that constantly abuse and manipulate backlinks. So, if you value the actual presence of your site on the internet and want to avoid being penalized, do well to avoid exchanging links excessively. 

7. Your site loses transparency

This might sound strange but it’s a very common effect of making use of reciprocal links. 

Losing the trust of search engines greatly affects a website as the site tends to lose ranking and position among search results. 

Exchanging links is one way for your site to get hurt by making it lose its place in search results. Reciprocal links achieve this in three ways: 

  1. Linking your anchor text look very suspicious
  2. Creating an anchor text that’s unrelated to your content 
  3. Giving your site an unusually high number of  1-to-1 links 

8. Aids your competitor(s) 

One major way reciprocal links hurt your SEO is by boosting your competitors SEO, not yours. 

This is one harm that some site owners aren’t even aware of. When you exchange links regularly, your site is at risk of boosting your competitor’s site rather than yours. 

Shady reciprocal links work to harm your site by fully boosting SEO for your direct competition! How sad is that?? 

When you engage in site linking with other sites that have similar target keywords as yours, there’s a very low chance that those links will be reciprocated. 


Reciprocal links can help your SEO but on the other hand, they can equally cause a lot of harm and damage to your site. 

This article, which is an eye-opener, establishes it.

Do note that linking to external sites is not bad but, excessively doing that, i.e deciding to link to every external site you come across, is very dangerous for your site’s ranking and authority.

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