Reciprocal Links: Can still be used or not?

What are Reciprocal links?

You must have understood what reciprocal links are just from the word reciprocal. Actually, this is a method which is used to exchange links by the webmasters of the websites. Doing this gives an opportunity to increase the ranking on Google searches and referral traffic. If you will search on the Google and you will find that reciprocal links are not that good and are considered as bad links. Many of the webmasters are afraid to do reciprocal linking.

But Although, What I think is that reciprocal links are bad but not worse, they can still be used in the link building strategy and helps grow our blogs and websites.

Think of the of those webmasters who are exchanging the links of their own multiple websites and are ranking well on the Google SERPs, doesn’t Google Penalize them. I have also seen one of the Marketing kings named Neil Patel who is the owner of the multiple sites. While reading his posts I have seen him doing the link exchange between his sites named Quicksprout.com and Neilpatel.com and some other.

Does Reciprocal links can penalize your site?

Many webmasters have this fitted in their minds that reciprocal links can penalize their websites. But it’s not true. You actually can interlink your blogs and websites if it is done in a right way. Whereas a wrong way can get you a penalty from Google and end up with no organic traffic.

Google has some rules for reciprocal linking and can you can follow those rules to skip the penalty from Google. Before Writing this post I took the opinion of many bloggers and SEO experts which you can read later below in this post.

Previously we were able to know about the penalty when the Page ranks of the website use to drop but now how to know that our website or blog is under the penalty. Well, we can face the major downfall in the traffic and secondly there might be the decrease in the domain authority of our blog or website instead of increasing.

Proof that the major Seo experts are taking the help of reciprocal Links:

I will be sharing with you the images of the blogs that are exchanging the links among their own sites and also with other bloggers and are ranking high. They have a big reputation on the internet and you can call them the crocodiles of the lake of the internet.

The persons I am talking about is Neil Patel, Jeff Bullas and some other are there.

1st Image:

reciprocal links

In the above image you can see that Quicksprout.com is linking Jeffbullas.com and in the second image (which is below this paragraph), you can see that Jeffbullas.com linking to quicksprout.com. I, then it can be known as link exchanging only but in a smarter way. And this makes sense that reciprocal links are still a good practice and can be used to achieve good ranking on the Google SERPs. They are not linking the same pages, both of them are linking different links on their different post thus making the links look relevant to Google.

2nd image

quicksprout

The above image proves that Jeffbulla.com is exchanging links with Quicksprout.com.

3rd Image

reciprocal links

4th Image

reciprocal links

Now, in the third and fourth images, you can see that Quicksprout.com is exchanging links with Neilpatel.com and vice versa. And the owner of both the sites is Neil Patel only so that when you will go through two of his blogs you will see that there is a lot of link exchanging done which is helping both the Quicksprout.com and Neilpatel.com to share their traffic and get a good domain authority for his websites. But you will also notice while going through his blogs that he is exchanging the links in a relevant manner, means where there is a need to share a link source about. And one more think that I didn’t found any pages or posts linking to the same posts or pages. which I will also suggest you to look and clarify me also because it’s difficult to check all his posts from both the blogs.

Does use of Nofollow link reduces the chances of Google penalty on exchanging links?

When you will search the keyword “reciprocal links” in the search engine, you will get the Moz community on the first page of Google SERPs. which has a question like “Google doesn’t benefit ranking with reciprocal links and but what about Nofollow links?”

If you have already followed the link or searched on the Google then after opening the Moz community you will get the answer that if you are doing reciprocal linking with the Nofollow links then chances are that you will not be having any penalty from Google.

As we all know that Nofollow links pass no juice so that these links are not be indexed by Google and are not counted for the ranking purpose but can be used to get some extra traffic or promote others blogs.

Google Will penalize those sites which are using Widget link tactics.

Previously it was possible to share the links to our partner’s site in the widgets or footer of the website. But Google has changed some rules now if anyone uses the keyword rich links or low-quality links on their websites they will be harmed for sure. The site seroundtable.com has shared this news on their site.

Actually, Google announced this think in the month of February 2015 but now legally they are getting the sites downs which are following this technique. You can also check the sites of bigger bloggers who are founder and owner of many sites but are not linking their sites using the widgets or footers, you can take the example of Neil Patel only.

What Other Bloggers think about the Reciprocal links?

Philip Varghese Ariel: Reciprocal link building is no doubt in a way gives some kind of benefits to each other but, I doubt if it goes beyond limit it may give some bad effects too. I mean, for the sake of getting some back links going on doing unnatural linking I think won’t help much. If it’s coming in a natural way I am sure it brings in some benefits.  In fact, for the sake of getting juice from other blogs, one cannot do unnatural linking.

I would like to narrate an incident in this regard, a well-known Indian blogger approached me for a reciprocal link to a website, in fact, that was a paid link and he received money for it from the website and since I was new in blogging and he took the advantage of cheating me.  Later I came to know about the cheating part he agreed to pay some sum, but I rejected it.

Atish Ranjan: I had never been a fan of reciprocal links as they are clearly visible to Google that you are exchanging links to manipulate page rank. This can lead to unnatural link penalty.

If you ask me whether they are valid or not, then I would say such link building can manipulate ranking for the short term but you will always have a fear of getting a manual action alert in webmaster. If you are doing it on the small scale, it’s still fine to an extent. But if you start doing reciprocal links with so many sites, it would surely be bad for you.

However, 3-way linking is better than the direct reciprocal links. But, still, I would advise avoiding these types of link building techniques as they leave visible footprints for Google.

Moreover, if two sites have relevant content, and they want to link each other, they can do it using Nofollow links.

Prince Ramgharia: I think that Reciprocal links are valid and the web across all the world is connected to each other with links but there are some important things that you need to take a look like is that the link is worth for your site. That the link is relevant for your site or not. The link you are getting is valuable for your site or getting lots of links is not a big deal here but getting quality links is a big deal here. if you are getting links from link spam site it will be bad for your site too.

Gettings links from other sites in a short span of time may be good for your site but if you are exchanging links with other sites it may cause a penalty to your site’s traffic. And there may be lot more things we need to take care of the Reciprocal links.

Maybe I am wrong somewhere cause you are better than me in SEO things and all the best for your next post and I am learning from your blog and getting better day by day.

Lesly Federici RN: Today, the focus of search engines is providing the best, QUALITY CONTENT possible to readers on the internet. So reciprocal links should be used with intention and RELEVANCE. For example, websites that share common, relevant interests. To link just for linking in hopes to driving traffic and ranking could be seen as a “linking scheme”.

Best practice, in my opinion, is to link to relevant websites and to do more internal linking on your own site which will yield more searches within your site for visitors and search engines.

Manidipa BhaumikReciprocal Linking is a very old and widely used SEO technique. In earlier days, you could quickly increase the rankings of your site, by getting links from authority sites, in exchange of linking back to theirs. It used to work fine, till search engines were less structured.  However, with relentless efforts from the SEs to get rid of any kind of manipulated search results, webmasters are on a quest to find out whether reciprocal links still help in boosting ranking.

Gone are the days, when you could just make a Links page (Called as Partner site/ Sites I Like) dedicated entirely to linking to other sites. This kind of linking can actually harm your site. Reciprocal linking is still valuable only when it is done in the right manner.

Relevancy is one of the most important aspects of using this linking strategy. We all are well aware of the power of External Linking. So there is no harm if you do the same for reciprocal links. But make sure that you refer/ mention only the sites of your niche, and not anything irrelevant.

The next element of reciprocal linking is to make the links look as natural as possible. Embed them within the content logically. Another mistake people do is, having only the particular link, means no other backlink except this. This is a clear indication that, you are doing it for the sole purpose of link exchange. Also, there should be some safe period (time gap) between linking back & forth.

Reciprocal Linking is also a great way to get you increased website traffic who can opt for your newsletter and gradually become your loyal readers/customers. And if you reciprocate, it will be of same help to the other site as well. You can view it as a powerful tool for getting exposure and building connections.

Reciprocal linking is of course not like “Link to me and I’ll link to you.” At the end of the day, it is the quality of the link, that decides whether it will be helpful or not.

Erik Emanuelli: I don’t think reciprocal links are still a valid (and secure) way to create links.
Focus instead on building connections with bloggers within your niche.
Mention them in your post and you will be eventually mentioned in their blogs.

Donna Merrill: I don’t really think about using reciprocal links for SEO purposes. I think about using them to enhance the value of my blog posts, and therefore enhance the value of my articles to my readers.

I know a lot of people like to put links to other sites to get reciprocal backlinks, and in theory, optimize their articles for SEO.

That’s kind of the standard way to use the reciprocal link.  It looks like this: I’ll put a link to your site in my blog post to reciprocate when you do the same for me.

Search engines will like the backlink activity and rank my post higher.
That kind of linking, though, can only be beneficial if it adds value to your blog post, and only if it is highly relevant to it. Otherwise, it’s nothing more than an advertisement and will do little to improve SEO value or, more importantly, your readers’ experience.

SEO metrics reward value and engagement.

You can certainly benefit from using reciprocal links if your readers gain a deeper understanding of your topic by linking to other helpful resources.  But, it’s not so much because it gives you SEO juice.  It’s because it helps you give your readers additional value, and consequently, builds trust and encourages engagement.

Reciprocal linking can actually hurt your site in terms of SEO and in terms of building trust and engagement with your readers if you are simply blasting links out for the sake of getting backlinks.

People using reciprocal linking in this manner will commonly place many links on a post.  They’re not trying to improve their readers’ experience, they’re only trying to build backlinks.

This is particularly damaging your site when those links have little or nothing to do with the topic of your blog post.

Reciprocal linking can be very beneficial, but only when you do it in limited amounts, and only when it’s done to improve the value of your reader’s experience.

Janice Wald: I don’t believe website creators should do anything to try to outsmart Google and other search engines. They are too smart, too powerful. The damage could be crippling to a blog or website dependent on organic traffic.

If the two related blogs were designed to try to trick search engines into giving them more traffic, I say don’t risk the Google penalties.
On the other hand, if the two related sites are by different bloggers who want to empower their readers by linking to related content, if not overdone, I say fine.

Jaco Albert: In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with reciprocal links. I do have to emphasize, though, it all depends on how you use them.If they are miss-used to try and manipulate Page Ranking, or if you are linking to bad sites such as spamming sites, it becomes risky business.

But when used properly – with the main aim of adding value to your reader, such as linking to sites with additional supporting content – I believe it is good practice. Not only does it add value to your reader, it also adds authority to your content, showing that you did your research.

By adding value for the reader, you might also enjoy the benefit of more traffic when other webmasters and bloggers include links to your site. This is after all the whole idea of ‘reciprocal links’. As long as it remains under control, and you don’t try to manipulate any system. This can easily happen when you get involved in the ‘Link to me and I link to you’ scenario. It should remain a natural process (once again – adding value for the reader).

Secondly, when most internet search engines find hyperlinks which lead to your site, it is taken into account. The more such links are found, the higher up you will find your site in the search engine rankings.

The main point is to use reciprocal links to add value. If you try to use such links to cheat or manipulate readers or any system, it will catch up with you.

Lorraine RegulyPeople use reciprocal linking to try to boost their rankings but I think Google is smart enough to see through their tactics. Natural link building is best. However, if two bloggers blog on the same topics, it’s natural that they would link to one another.I know that Elna Cain, another freelancer I know, has linked to my site and my blog posts several times. I have also linked to hers. We are both freelancers, and so this is a natural thing for us to do. We have met many times face-to-face at Starbucks and have planned to do this with one another. This is one component of Blogger Outreach! There are more, and if bloggers engage in such natural activities, Google will not penalize you for this.

Backlinks are something that most people want, yet, to me, they are not all that important.

However, maybe it’s because I get them a lot. 😉

LOL

For new bloggers, building relationships should be the first priority. Not building backlinks. Backlinks will come, with time and experience.

And if no one is linking to your site except for a few people you are linking to, Google will see through your strategy and might not reward you by boosting your rankings. Instead, you might even get penalized!

So… a word of caution: Be careful in what you do. Always.

And good luck!

Zac JohnsonReciprocal links are something I saw a lot of maybe 5+ years ago. I really haven’t seen much of that going on as of lately. I think, for the most part, this is an older strategy of SEO that isn’t commonly used anymore — especially when referenced to in the form of a heavy anchor text link on the main page. However… I do continually see and hear of reciprocal links in content form. For example… I’m sure it’s a common occurrence where sites write about and reference other sites that have previously referenced and linked to them in the past. It’s not a main page-to-main page link, but it’s still reciprocal. Link juice is being passed, but the value is there when sites are linking to internal content and specific resources. When creating links within your own content, the best way to validate a link’s placement is whether or not it provides value or reference to the end user content.

Ryan Biddulph: Reciprocal links work if the links are highly valuable. Since these are not organic links be SUPER picky about linking into the best, relevant sites.

David LeonhardtThere is nothing wrong with reciprocal linking. There are many times when it makes sense for two websites to link to each other.  A party planner and a DJ who work together on many projects should link to each other as a recommendation to their respective website visitors.  It’s called “marketing”.

The old days of reciprocal linking projects as a means of artificially boosting PageRank are long gone.  These were schemes to artificially boost rankings, and many of them were even automated.  Anything automated will irritate the search engines, because the link is not earned.  The link is meaningless.

Suggested:

Learn More about the Google’s artificial intelligence.

From my perspective, if a link makes sense without the search engines, just do it.  Let the search engines sort out what they want to count and what they don’t. If most of your inbound or outbound links are reciprocal, your marketing is precarious.  The search engines will rightly see that as a sign of a low-quality website (Why is nobody just linking to it on their own?) and possibly of a website trying to manipulate their SERPs.

Yes, reciprocal linking is still valid.  No, it would not be wise to make it the mainstay of your marketing plan.

Reji StephensonThere are more chances that reciprocal link building may create a bad impression for the search engines especially when we link back to a site which is not in the same niche. Sometimes you may have to give a link back to other websites only because of the reason that the website owner is a close friend of yours and this may lead to bad SEO if the friend’s website is a low ranked one or not relevant to your niche of blogging. Personally, I don’t prefer the idea of reciprocal link building as in most cases it doesn’t look natural.

Anh Nguyen: There are two things to consider when it comes to reciprocal links:

  1. The quality of the sites you are involved with,
  2. And the amount of reciprocal links in your overall link profile.

If you have a handful of reciprocal links from trustworthy sites, then they are — without a doubt, valid. Even better if those are from on-topic and relevant sites, they will give you some nifty link juices, authority, and traffic. Even Google knows it’s impossible to not have any reciprocal links. What they don’t want are folks who game their system and go on a spree of black hat link building while not providing enough value to their audience.

Hussain OmarGenerally, links work, and you should earn them in a natural way, the same with linking to others, only do it when it does make sense. This way you will stay safe even if a reciprocal pattern appeared in your link profile.
Sue Bride: Reciprocal linking isn’t as beneficial as it used to be for search engine ranking purposes and can be a negative factor. Search engines are better at spotting unnatural linking practices.
Dofollow links to trusted, authoritative sites carry more weight but link backs from these are hard to get. However, as long as content that links to and from your site is relevant and of high quality then you’re unlikely to be penalized. It’s normal for us to want to link to the sites of people we know and trust, and those who engage with our site the most.
It’s a way of saying thank you, I appreciate you. Even if this might not pass us any link juice in itself, our friends are more likely to comment and share our posts, and we are more likely to do the same for them. It’s a natural form of reciprocal linking. This in itself is beneficial to our sites, increasing its popularity, bringing us more visitors and repeat readers, and, hopefully, its position in search engines.

Abhishek Jain: Reciprocal Links are almost abolished and Google didn’t give any weight-age to these. In reality, it is not so… If you are reciprocating links with a high authority site, then it can give you a very good boost in search results. Now Google has Rolled Penguin in Real Time and after that result has to be measured. It can be positive or can be negative.

For the time being, I am in favor for reciprocal links.

Tor Refsland: “What should be your #1 focus when it comes to building your email list?Building a highly targeted email list.

What is the point in having an email list of 10 000 subscribers, if they…

don´t open your emails…

don´t read your emails…

and don´t click your call to action?

The best long-term strategy is to get high-quality links that are relevant to your business to link to your website.

If you blog about marketing and you get backlinks from a piano review website, there is kind of a big gap there, right?”

Gurunath Nakka: Reciprocal links are still valid as it is one of the best sources of value addition to your site. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that of what value addition it brings to your visitors. If both the parties exchanging the links are of same niche or topic then linking back will add more weight to the posts linked. Visitors feel more satisfied and consider the site has a good source of helpful topics and links. The site has a good chance of becoming an Authority site if it can have relevant links for the topics from similar sites

Some additional Tips after reading the above opinion of expert bloggers:

  1. Don’t ever create reciprocal links in the different niche. If you are doing reciprocal linking then do it in your own niche. Like If you are running a site about SEO then exchange the links naturally with the same niche.
  2. Exchanging links in a large quantity can get you a penalty from Google.
  3. If it looks to you that you may get a penalty from Google on exchanging the link from a particular site then make the exchanged link Nofollow.
  4.  But still, if you feel that exchanging a link can get you a penalty then don’t do it because of the above opinions many experts think that exchanging link is not a good idea whereas some think that it can still be used.
  5. Do not exchange links in the widget or footer areas of your website because that will be grabbed by Google easily and chances are that you will be hit by a penalty.

Finally, What I want to say:

Well, after getting so many expert opinions I can say that reciprocal links are still valid and can be used to get a good reputation for your website but it must be done in a natural way. I have also been exchanging links with my fellow bloggers and haven’t got any penalty. I am exchanging links with my friends Philips Varghese Ariel, Janice Wald and Prince Ramgharia and each of us are getting a good traffic and earning a good amount of money Online.

So, After reading this post what do you think of the exchanging links with bloggers. You can also share your opinion to make this post more valuable and helpful to the newbies.

Robin Khokhar

Robin Khokhar

I do web development and SEO. But when I get time, I do write and share tips and tricks about marketing and technology.

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46 thoughts on “Reciprocal Links: Can still be used or not?

  1. Super post, Robin.

    I am glad to read everyone’s opinion!

    It looks like it is still doing well for many. But, as I said if you do things in limit and naturally its fine.. but when you go for large scale it can be problematic.

    I am going to share this post on social media. Good one.

  2. Hey Robin,
    This is wonderful!
    Yet another informative post from Trickyenough. 🙂
    Lot of things to learn from this post.
    In short it was really a bit confusing subject, but the experts opinions revealed a lot !
    Thank you very much for including my experience too in this post.
    Keep writing.
    May you have a great time of blogging ahead.
    Best
    Philip

  3. Hi Robin,
    Very interesting reading here on reciprocal links.
    If you are creating reciprocal links it’s a good idea to be relevant with your links and maybe use no follow to be safe. I had no idea about having links in the footer or widget being easily hit with a penalty from Google. A lot of good information

  4. Interesting ,Robin
    I never thought about things like this and as I am not into tricking ,
    I do what I think is is right and natural . It may be important to people
    who try tricks to read this and take more care.
    Thank you for making aware. Really, Tricky enough 🙂
    Thank you
    Erika

  5. Great post, Robin,
    I have read many of the other experts’ opinion and have noted few important points. As most of them suggested and quoted, if you use it in a safe and ethical way and within limitations, it is still good. Thanks for sharing this post and giving some space for myself to share few things within your awesome post. Have a great day!

  6. Hi Robin,

    I know about the reciprocal links and some bloggers are doing it wisely, you shared complete information about how to move safely building reciprocal links to our websites.

    Examples of showing Mr. Neil Patels and Jeffbullas reciprocal links is very good in this post and knowing the opinions what they think of reciprocal links is a good initiative to know expert bloggers thoughts about it.

    Thanks for sharing the valuable information, see you soon with another article.
    siddaiah Thirupati recently posted…Thrive Themes Content Builder Review 2016 The Best 3 In 1 PluginMy Profile

  7. Hi Robin,
    Excellent post! Opinions are diverse, but I think the overall sense is reciprocal links are okay to use, I use them every now and then to connect to bloggers I have a relationship, or building connections. I just don’t make an overall habit of it. If the quality of your content is good people will come back to visit, or want to link to your article, which is a compliment. Thank you for your invitation to contribute to your article!

  8. Hi Robin,
    A very interesting read for anyone interested in enhancing their knowledge about link building. You cited some good examples from Neil Patel.com and Quicksprout. Thanks for adding my opinion about reciprocal link building. I am linking this post to my ‘About’ column where I feature my interviews and round-up posts where I am also a part of.

  9. Hi Robin,

    Thanks for sharing my take 😉 Gotta have a really good match to maintain integrity.

    Sometimes I see awesome content through a reciprocal link BUT the link text is totally not aligned with anything I posted. Can’t work it in naturally. Looks bad. Especially with branded keyword links for specific products. Unless I wrote posts on that specific products I can’t work it in naturally. But if the keyphrase is generic and link content awesome, I am usually in.

    Ryan

  10. Hi Robin!
    This is a very useful post for newbie bloggers as they can build up a good link profile using these methods. Well, I think that a good content is itself a link builer. Though there are many other ways to get quality links to your site such as guest posting and social bookmarking.
    This post has a really good length, I think you’ve researched a lot for writing and presenting this post.
    All the very best for your good work. Thanks for sharing.

    Regards,
    Prakhar.

  11. I think the screenshots you included are not the kind of reciprocal links that Google hates. I guess neither Neil nor Jeff communicated with each other or “made a deal” that they should exchange links. If the links are of value to the readers, I guess there’s no problem with it.

  12. Hello Robin
    Great post ! It was very insight and informative. I always wondered if you owned two different sites could you exchange links. Awesome points as always thanks for clearing things up. A very super collection of bloggers in this post. Again thanks for sharing.

  13. Hey Robin,

    Indeed a Great Post ! I believe that, reciprocal links is good way to rank, but along with the benefits, there is a big risk, as these type of links can easily be visible to Google and they can penalize, in case Links are Dofollow, so I personally do not use these type of Links, as I am working on long term projects.

    But for short term, it can be beneficial.

    ~ Jelina

  14. Hi Robin Khokhar,
    Thanks for this informative post, I have same mindset that reciprocal links can harm my site. But now am fully cleared about this after reading your words and review of other authors. Thanks for let me know this, Have a Good Day.

  15. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for sharing information about reciprocal link methods.i am in the industry for last 8 years. i saw reciprocal given good result five years back but now not giving results as per expecting .Google updating algorithm regularly for search engine. completely depending on reciprocal will damage website reputation.take one of the way to promote website is best method to use reciprocal Technic to improve website presence.

  16. Hi Robin,
    Thanks for throwing light on the difficult topic of reciprocal links, which is so important for bloggers.
    I really appreciate the time you must have taken to gather so much information from all those other well-respected bloggers.
    Joy – Blogging After Dark

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