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What does Reciprocal Links mean in SEO?

When website A links to website B and website B also links to website A then these are reciprocal links.

Sometimes they are genuine and created by both webmasters because of mutual respect or by accident - neither webmaster is actually aware that the other one has created the link back.

However when the links are placed by mutual agreement - you link to me and I'll link to you - they are known as link swapping.

In the 1990s links, reciprocal or not, were an important part of the way search engines ranked a page. This fact was picked up by webmasters who went all out to find websites that they could swap links with.

Modern search engine algorithms now give reciprocal links a low value because of this, especially if the pages are not related. So if a flower shop website has a link to a bicycle shop website and vice versa the links hold almost no value as they suggest simple link swapping.

Webmasters would also set up special pages on their website to hold all the outbound links so search engines began to downgrade the value of links when it found them on a page that seemed to consist almost entirely of links.

Reciprocal links are now out of fashion for SEO purposes when carried out on mass but they can still hold weight if used carefully. One example would be for a blogger to place a link to Website A within his text and for the owner of website A to wait several weeks before adding a link back to the blogger - thus giving the impression that the links were not 'swapped'.

The strongest links you can have to your website remain one-way inbound links.

I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.

If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.

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