Is Reciprocal Link Exchange Dead?

I get emails everyday asking to exchange a link with my web site that offers web design services. Most of these sites are not related to web site design. These emails are never personalized and are template driven. This means the person is using link exchange software that searches the Net for sites to find links.

When should you participate in a reciprocal link exchange?

I delete all emails that ask for a reciprocal link unless they are personalized and the site is related to mine. This eliminates 99% of all link exchange requests. If the request is personalized (addresses me by my first or last name) and the site compliments my own site, I will take the time to open it and respond. Usually I’ll send a note saying that I don’t do reciprocal link exchanges.

Here are Goggle’s specific guidelines regarding link exchanges:

Don’t participate in link schemes designed to increase your site’s ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or “bad neighborhoods” on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links.

Make sure that other sites link to yours

Links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results. When returning results for a search, Google combines PageRank (our view of a page’s importance) with sophisticated text-matching techniques to display pages that are both important and relevant to each search. Google counts the number of votes a page receives as part of its PageRank assessment, interpreting a link from page A to page B as a vote by page A for page B. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.”

Keep in mind that our algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines. Some of these types of links (such as link schemes and doorway pages) are covered in our webmaster guidelines.

Only natural links are useful for the indexing and ranking of your site.



If you wish to participate in link exchanges with sites that compliment yours, create a links page (you could call it something like “my favorite resources”). Ask the site owner what text they wish to use to describe their site. Create a live link back to their site by hyper linking the main keywords used in their description. Ask to do the same for the description and link back to your site.

Get lots of incoming links by writing articles and submitting them to article directories. This method is much more effective than reciprocal link exchange because your article may be used by hundreds of site owners and therefore you automatically receive hundreds of back links.


  1. Thanks for the post. You sound like you work for Google. It’s a bonus to know a guru like you. Thanks again Julian

  2. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers!

  3. Thank you for the information. I am adding this page as a bookmark.

  4. Very good tips on reciprocal link building. thanks for posting.

  5. Very good tips

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