Tiger asked
Member (4 upvotes)

Reciprocal linking

I was approached this week by a website offering me a link if I also link to them. Our sites are not really related so I said no but now thinking about it I am wondering if I did the right thing. Their site had quite a high DA but mine is struggling a little. Is it worth me going back to them to see if the offer is still open to try and increase my DA.

Avatar for member Chedders
Moderator (243 upvotes)

There was a time way back when this was common practice. "I will give you a link if you give me one". To be honest its best avoided now, If the website in question is not within your niche then it will just look spammy. 

However there are some cases where this can be a good thing but only if you have a relationship with the other site in some way. 

I get almost daily requests for links for the sites I look after, personally I treat these as spam and as such get sent to my spam folder. I would suggest you do the same. 

On a side note, Dont worry too much about your DA score, Google do not use it and it is just a Moz scoring system. It is a guide only and does not always suggest your ability to rank well within your niche. 

Instead of trying to increase your DA score spend your time developing you site and improving its content. Keep making improvements there and you will see your DA score rise anyway.

Good advice?
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Dam, was hoping I had found a way of giving me a boost. LOL Okay back to the drawing board.
Good advice
Avatar for member nikitacod
Banned (-6 upvotes)

The best way to know if reciprocal links do more harm than good is with an experiment:

  1. Create a bunch of websites
  2. Build similar backlink profiles for them all
  3. Wait until they start ranking in Google for some keywords
  4. Build a particular number of reciprocal links to some of those websites. Leave a few of them intact as your control group. Observe what happens next.

I don’t think I’ve seen anyone carry out an experiment of this nature before. Hardly surprising, as doing so would be quite a labor and resource intensive process.

Further, here at Ahrefs, we don’t run such experiments—we only study data we already have at our disposal.

So that’s what we did. We:

  1. Took 140k websites with 10k+ visits/month from Google (estimated by Ahrefs)
  2. Checked for overlap between the sites to which they link and the sites that link to them
  3. Plotted the results on a graph to visualize how common reciprocal links are

Our thinking was simple: By studying how common reciprocal links are among websites getting consistent traffic from Google, we could get some clue as to the toxicity (or not) of such links.

Good advice?
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If you keep copy and pasting text from the internet you will be banned.
If you keep copy and pasting text from the internet you will be banned.
Or you could put that amount of effort into making excellent content for your users and a high quality user experience.

Quoting nikitacod

"So that's what we did. We"

Do you actually work at Ahref's ?? From your post you sure make it out as so.

From experience I can tell you that reciprocal linking does in fact work. I use it currently today. I often times will connect small businesses using this method.

It is not unusual for instance... A veterinary hospital site to exchange links with a dog training site. There is nothing wrong with these two types of sites linking to one another. What would be wrong is to have 50 sites doing reciprocal linking. This isn't natural and will get all sites demoted.

Here is Googles take on it.... ( https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en)

Its a risky practice IMO

Yes for the novice it can be extremely risky.  Let's look at the facts first.

I myself have to stress that moderation is very key here.  Google used the word excessive and my definition of excessive is more than "2".  I prefer to err on the side of caution.

The rules I follow:

  • Never connect more than 2 sites this way.
  • The sites must be local businesses in the same community area, 30 miles / 48 km radius
  • There must be extreme relevance between the sites.

For the record I have been using this method for over 6 years. 

Ahref's did perform an analysis concerning Reciprocal Linking.  Some very interesting facts came to light. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dON_kBewzAg )

You can see from this snippet what criteria they chose sites to analyze.

The finding were as follows:

  • 26% of those sites analyzed used no reciprocal linking at all
  • 74% had at least 1 reciprocal link.

If you still believe that this method is too dangerous to undertake I have one more suggestion that makes it as safe as it can possibly get.  You use linkless mentions or rel="nofollow" / rel="sponsered" in the link.

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