Link Exchange- Is it a good Link Building Strategy in 2020?

Often we get emails asking to provide a link to their websites and that they would do the same for us. That’s when we stumble upon this question

“Should I go for a link exchange?”
“Is it a legitimate link building strategy?”
“Will it do good or bad for my website?”

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines :
“Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking”

Do you know what this means?
“Link exchange is good only if done in a legitimate and natural way.”

Link Exchange- What exactly it is?

Link exchange is a method used for link building wherein two parties mutually agree to promote their links on their respective websites. To simplify, here’s an example:

A food blogger contacts a restaurant owner. The blogger requests the owner to display his page on their business website, in return, the blogger will put their link into his.

In short, if you do me a favour, then I will do you a favour.

Link exchange a.k.a reciprocal linking used to be a lucrative technique to boost the SEO scores. Businesses created pages such as “Our Partners” “Our Best Picks” on their website to market their partners.

Webmasters would send bulk mails with a message that if they link to them, they would do the same. Some would agree and earn backlinks which would higher their ranks.

But is it the same now? Have things changed?

Is link exchange still considered as a good link building strategy?

Yes.No. It’s a curious case.

Link exchanges or reciprocal linking can be good or can be bad for your SEO. Google’s algorithm has become a bit stringent over the years. Due to the number of spammy links, Google even penalized certain websites which caused them to remove all of their reciprocal links. With these drastic steps, link exchange became a questionable act to boost rankings.


On the positive side, if you go through the Google Webmaster Guidelines above which clearly mentions that “excessive” linking is not appreciated. This means link building to some extent is allowed provided it is relevant and happened naturally.

How common is link exchanging?

Relatively common. 

Yes. Even now. But not as much as it were during the early 2000s. Fooling Google by achieving manipulative links is not anymore favoured. Yet, 74% of websites have reciprocal links, as a study conducted by Ahref. We will explain the reason soon.

How can link exchange affect your SEO? The Good and The Bad

So, by now you have understood that reciprocal linking is not really out of fashion. But due to the fear of penalization by Google, certain questions come into our minds.

“Can link exchange hurt my SEO?”

Well, the answer depends upon the quality of the reciprocal link. This strategy can be a boon to your website if the source happens to be of high value to the user. It means if your website content and links attached brings value to your readers or customers, then that type of link exchange can prove beneficial. This will bring more referral traffic and thus help your SEO.

Another positive impact of link exchange is Indirect SEO. It means to forget about SEO. Link exchange becomes an opportunity for your website/business to be known. Afterall website will have backlinks if only people know it exists. Make sense?

Link exchange can go all wrong if you link yours to unrelated websites or if you used reciprocal link programs. This would raise a red flag as your website will look spammy to the search engine crawlers.

You may be thinking now, what will happen if you get penalized by Google? To be honest, it’s not really a scary thing. A penalty doesn’t mean your site will be demoted or removed from search engines. If Google penalizes, then you may get a negative signal which is not good for your website over time.

That being said, you must check the quality of sites linked with your website every six months. Because the quality of the site that had been once good may become of low quality due to poor content or links. So if you find such links, make sure to delete them.

Things you must consider before a link exchange

  • Link with websites that are in related to you in some way
  • Stay away from links of low-quality websites as it can lower your ranks.
  • Check the social media profile to know the brand well.
  • Check if the content of the website adds value to your readers.
  • Websites with too many outbound links are a real no-no.
  • Do not link websites with low domain ratings.
  • Check if the website has enough organic visitors (Approx. 5000 per month)

Final Tip: Let your link exchange be a natural process. Not a strategy. If you find a website relevant to yours and you think it may interest your readers, then link to them without any expectations. There are high chances that the same will happen to you if you focus on creating “HIGH-QUALITY CONTENT THAT MEETS THE USER INTENT”.

That’s when link exchange happens naturally for you.

Got any queries or want to discuss anything, contact us here.