Everyone knows that one of the most important SEO strategies is building backlinks. In the last year, there has been a growing trend of trading links, or reciprocal linking, as an easy way to get highly relevant backlinks. While this method has some great advantages it also has some great pitfalls. Learn the pros and cons of using reciprocal links as an SEO strategy.
Reciprocal links have a couple of great plus sides to the SEO of your site. The first is that they are easy to attain and get to stick, as it is a trade with another webmaster. In contrast, something such as comment spam is more difficult to get to stick and is often deleted after a period of time. Another good advantage of reciprocal links to help with the SEO of your website is that you are finding someone in the same niche as you and therefore the link will be highly relevant. Relevant links count a little bit more in Google rankings than an equally powerful link from an irrelevant website. In addition to this, your link is visible on a relevant, or similar, site. This provides the opportunity to bring in some extra, already targeted, traffic to your site.
There are however some distinct distant disadvantages to using reciprocal linking as a part of your SEO strategy. First of all, you must be careful where you get a reciprocal link from. Quite often sites will offer to trade links with you but, little known to you, they may be link farm sites. This means that they have a ton of outgoing links already. Google gives less weight to a page with many links coming from it, and can often even consider it spam if this is the page’s sole purpose. Trading a link with one of these sites basically gives some free link juice and exposure to someone else while giving you little or nothing.
Another disadvantage of reciprocal linking is that Google considers this, in itself, a frowned-upon tactic. If you use reciprocal links in excess it is considered spam. It is only approved if your purpose is traffic or exposure and not backlinks for SEO. A final downside of reciprocal linking as an SEO strategy is that you’re placing an additional exit point on your site. This gives your traffic something extra to click on, aside from your additional pages, any ads you may have displayed, or even a product you are attempting to sell. In general, the best way to monetize your traffic is to give them a few options to leave your site as possible.
So you can see there are some clear-cut pros and cons of using reciprocal links as part of your SEO strategy. If you decide to use them make sure you do not overdo it. Also, make sure to check out each site that you trade links with. Make sure it is not a direct competitor, but rather a similar website, and finally ensure that it is a quality site and not a link farm.