For a long time, reciprocal links have remained at the forefront of most inbound linking strategies. Google discounted all reciprocal links.
What Are Reciprocal Links?
A link exchange occurs when an agreement is made between two brands to trade links to boost SEO and site authority by essentially saying, “You link to me, and I’ll link to you.”
In essence, a reciprocal link is a quid pro quo or a “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” situation.
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.
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.