What are reciprocal links? Simply stated reciprocal links are based on an agreement by two sites (two way) to link to each other. Small sites often use reciprocal linking as a way to increase Website traffic and link popularity. However, if you plan to enter such arrangements, it’s essential to understand the implications and the realities.
For a long time, reciprocal links have remained at the forefront of most inbound linking strategies. This is going to have to change. Google now discounts all reciprocal links. The algorithm has been altered to identify the exchange of links by two parties for the purpose of increasing their number of inbound links.
The concept of reciprocal linking defies Google’s original intention with the algorithm. Quality content should attract links. The exchange of links is nothing more than a mutual agreement to unjustifiably promote others’ content with the end goal of promoting your own. Google doesn’t particularly like this (see Link Schemes).
Some even claim that Google is now able to identify three-way linking schemes (i.e. website A links to website B, who links to website C, who links back to A). Whether this is true or not is hard to say. One thing is for certain though: inbound linking strategies should NOT be centered around reciprocal linking. This manufactured form of link creation is not well-received and is ultimately a waste of time. Instead, focus on creating unique, high-quality content in a given niche. The links will ensue.
Quality Links Add Value
Links add valuable content to your site, and we know that search engines (as well as people) love great content. The best linking strategy is to get many non-reciprocal links (or one-way links), which are also relevant links to your site from high ranking and popular sites. When your site receives many quality non-reciprocal links, the search engines consider your websites and the web pages that receive these inbound quality links as containing highly valuable web content.