Reciprocal Links Will They Hurt Your SEO

You link to me, and I’ll link to you.” Good link building tactic, or bad? Let’s find out. I must confess that I feel a certain attachment to reciprocal links (otherwise known as link exchanges). They were the first “SEO hack” that I ever applied in my career. Let me share that story real quick: Ten years ago, I was an EDM DJ with a growing interest in SEO. I knew some SEO theory, but I had yet to put it into practice. To solve this, I launched my own website where I published a weekly selection of newly-released electronic dance music. It became a testing ground for my SEO abilities.

Long story short

I quickly realized that if I wanted Google to send relevant traffic my way, then I needed links from other websites. That’s when I learned about reciprocal links. I found a few executive data dozen similar blogs to mine and offered to exchange sitewide links with them. They agreed. The problem? were against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and still are. But it didn’t take me long to figure out a workaround for this problem… Instead of putting my outbound sidebar links directly on my site, I put them in an embedded iframe. The result? My blogger friends could see that I was linking to them but Google was none the wiser. How common are  on the web?

The best way to

Know if  do more harm than good is with an experiment: Create a bunch of websites Build similar backlink profiles for them all Wait until they Mobile Numbers start ranking in Google for some keywords 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: Took 140k websites with 10k+ visits/month from Google.

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