Web Design Blog : Toolkit Websites

Web Design Blog

Partnerships- Reciprocal linking to other sites for better SEO

What is reciprocal linking?

Reciprocal linking is when one site links to another and vice versa. Often this happens when two businesses that use each others services, (who both have websites) link to each other.

For example, Toolkit Websites (Web Designer Southampton) has a link to Eazipay's website and Eazipay reciprocates by linking back to Toolkit Websites.

The problem with reciprocal linking:

A year or two ago, this SEO strategy was widely used with the mindset of increasing your websites search engine results page rank. The idea was so that people would click on the link on your friends or business partners website, and land on yours, therefore increasing your traffic and potentially your sales.

Search engines such as Google, soon realised that reciprocal linking often meant that search results were becoming blurred. If you search for a wedding events company, you don't expect to then land on a car servicing website. You expect to find the results you are looking for without much effort and with high accuracy for the search terms you have entered.

Search engines want to bring you the most relevant, and useful results meaning that reciprocal links were defeating the purpose. In order to fix this and standardise it, search algorithms were updated, refined and became more complex.  This meant that reciprocal linking slowly stopped being a common practice.

Those who were cramming their websites full of useless and pointless links would see their search results suffer and websites were being penalised for this practice if it was being used as a black hat technique.

Reciprocal links today:

A lot of people are now unsure about whether reciprocal links should be used, and are worried it will cause negative results for their search engine optimisation. However, reciprocal linking is still a valuable tool if it's done correctly. There are still instances when reciprocal linking is beneficial for a business, especially when it’s used as an online business strategy to gain visibility or new business.

The key is to find a strategic partner who shares the same target market as you but that offers a different or complimentary service. By linking to one another, you’re sharing each others’ resources, content, and offerings with a target audience that will appreciate the link rather than find it irrelevant.

This approach works because the links are to relevant sites, or relevant content, which is what both consumers and search engines are looking for.

Examples of good reciprocal linking:

A Southampton web designer and a Copywriter based in Southampton who serve the same market may want to link to each other

Example of bad reciprocal linking:

A florist and a car servicing company because they are on the same road.

If the link seems forced, unnatural, or out of place, it probably is and shouldn’t be used.