Link exchanges were popular back in the early days of SEO, and many webmasters still use them today. But are reciprocal links really worth your time? In this article, we’ll explore the concept of reciprocal links and discuss how they impact your SEO in 2022.

What Is a Reciprocal Link?

A reciprocal link is simply a link that is exchanged between two websites. For example, if Website A links to Website B, and Website B links back to Website A, then those are reciprocal links.

Reciprocal linking used to be a popular SEO strategy because it was an easy way to get links from high-quality websites. Owners of similar websites would reach out to each other and agree to link to each other’s websites. This was a win-win situation because both website owners got a link from a high-quality website.

However, reciprocal linking fell out of favor when Google realized that it could be abused. Webmasters began creating link farms, which are groups of websites that all link to each other. Google’s algorithms weren’t able to distinguish between these and high-quality reciprocal links, so they began to devalue all reciprocal links.

Are Reciprocal Links Good or Bad for Your SEO?

Google’s algorithms have eventually evolved to the point where they can distinguish between high-quality and low-quality reciprocal links. However, link exchanges don’t bring you as much value as they would have in the past. Reciprocal linking is no longer an effective SEO strategy, but it’s safe if it happens naturally.

For example, if you have a blog and another blogger links to one of your articles, you may unknowingly link back to their website in a future blog post. These types of reciprocal links are completely natural and can actually be beneficial for your SEO.

How to Do Link Exchanges Safely

In general, you shouldn’t actively seek out reciprocal links because it’s not an effective SEO strategy. However, if reciprocal links happen naturally, there’s no need to worry about them. So, if you’re still tempted to do a link exchange, the best way to do it is to make it seem accidental.

For example, you could reach out to another webmaster and say something like, “I was just reading your blog and remembered that 6 months ago, I linked to [X] article of yours on my website. Just yesterday, I wrote a new blog post with more up-to-date information on the topic. I think your readers would love it: [Y].”

Of course, the other webmaster may not bite, but there’s no harm in trying. If they do link to your article, then it will appear completely natural to Google. Plenty of time has passed, and you’re simply giving them a heads-up about your new article.

Can You Get Rid of Old Reciprocal Links?

If you’re worried that your reciprocal links may be harmful to your SEO, you can use Google’s Disavow Tool to disavow them. This tool allows you to tell Google which links you don’t want them to take into account when ranking your website.

Of course, using that tool is a bit of a nuclear option, and it should only be used as a last resort. If you can remove the reciprocal links by hand, that’s always the best option. And if they’re old links and your website is doing fine, then there’s no need to worry about them.