Reciprocal Links: Do They Help or Hurt?
There are many link building techniques that you can use, in order to help increase the number of backlinks you have. Each time a site places a link to your site from theirs, it is almost like casting a vote for your site. The more votes you have, the better – usually.
But there are some sites that will request reciprocal links. In fact, some sites will even require that you place a link on your site to theirs, before they will place a link on their site to yours. This uses the "I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine" approach.
There are positive and negative aspects to reciprocal links.
On the positive side, any link to your site from another site could be a good thing.
However, there are many negative aspects to reciprocal links.
First, Google does not look as favorably on reciprocal links as it does on naturally occurring links that are one-way. If a site is providing good content, then it is a natural assumption that there will be other sites that want to link to that site – without needing a reciprocal link. Having reciprocal links indicates some sort of collusion between the two sites, not necessarily that both sites have equally good content.
Second, many sites that require reciprocal links are not the type of site that you want to link to in the first place. Many of these sites are link farms or simply spammy. It is never a good idea to keep bad company, and if you link to the wrong site you can find your site dropped from Google quickly.
Finally, patience is a virtue when it comes to creating backlinks. Becoming impatient might help your ranking in the short term, but in the long term it can be a disaster. It is much better to let your site age naturally and develop legitimate backlinks along the way.
While some site owners practice giving and receiving reciprocal links, there are numerous negative aspects to it. It is probably much better to simply let nature take its course and develop backlinks this way.
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