Australian Business Directory

Reciprocal links: don't be fooled by false information

"Reciprocal links were the first social element on the World Wide Web."

Reciprocal links were the first social element on the World Wide Web. They existed a long time before the term "social media" even existed. The concept of a reciprocal link is simple:

  • I link to your site ("Like").
  • You link to my site ("Like back").

Reciprocal links could greatly improve the position of a website in Google's search results because links are a good indicator that other people like your site.


In the last few years, there was a lot of FUD about the efficacy of reciprocal links. Some people say that they don't work anymore, others even claim that reciprocal links can cause problems with Google.

Is there really a problem with reciprocal links?

There are many statements about the decreasing efficacy of reciprocal links but none of these statements is backed by facts. Reciprocal links are alive and they work well.

Just analyze the backlink profile of your high ranking competitors (for example with this backlink analyzer). A fair amount of the links are reciprocal. Where do these links come from?

  • link exchange/resources pages
  • blogroll links
  • mutual contextual linking (for example between bloggers)
  • directory links from directories that require a backlink

Reciprocal links work best for websites with "unsexy" content. For some sites, it is very difficult to get links without something in return. These sites benefit most from reciprocal links.

But I have read that Google is against reciprocal linking!

Google is not against reciprocal linking. Google is against fully automated, large scale linking systems. Regular reciprocal links have nothing to do with that. If you need proof, analyze the backlinks of your competitors.

In addition to increased search engine rankings, reciprocal links can also generate targeted traffic from your partner sites. That's what links are for.

One way links, reciprocal links, three way links? Which links are best?

All of these links are equal. It does not matter if a link is one way, reciprocal or anything else. The only thing that matters is that the link comes from a website that search engines find relevant to your site.

Why should search engines make things complicated. If a link to your website come from a trusted site and if the link to your website is relevant then it is a good link.

If you want to get high rankings on Google, your website needs high quality backlinks. If your website does not offer the possibility of a links/resources page, you could add reciprocal links in blog posts or on other pages of your site.

The link building tool in IBP helps you to find potential link partners. IBP also helps you to get links from directories and it helps you to analyze which kind of links you need. You can download it here.

18 January 2011
Article by Axandra SEO software