What is backlink exchange in SEO?

One of the SEO strategies is certainly the backlink exchange strategy. Even though it’s quite popular, our Link Department team wants to answer all the questions about it. Is all that giving and receiving link between website owners and bloggers something Google approves? Let’s find out everything about the terms, it benefits and potential risk.

The term and its variations

First things first, you should familiarize yourself with the term. In the SEO world, you can recognize backlink exchange by various terms. You can find link exchange, swapping backlinks, traded linking, and even reciprocal linking. All of these mean the same thing, so don’t get confused when coming across some of these online.

Making a ‘deal’ with another website is the essence of backlink exchange.

What is backlink exchange in SEO?

Now, let’s explain what these terms actually mean. Backlink exchange happens when two websites make a deal to exchange backlinks so that they can boost each other’s SEO. It’s basically helping each other – which can be pretty beneficial if you don’t do it way too often.

Is this strategy approved by Google and SEO experts?

Well, the answer to this question depends on the way you look at this situation. In the past, the more traditional approach to this situation didn’t approve backlink exchange as a way to boost an SEO. However, the situation is changing and now we have a situation that some major companies help each other grow through backlink exchange.

When it comes to Google, the situation is also the same – depends on how you look at it. Google recognizes backlink exchange to some extent as a normal thing. It’s okay for websites to help each other, but there should be a boundary. Even though it’s pretty rare, there is a chance to get penalized for excessive link exchanging.

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Don’t take risks with backlink exchange – play it safe and avoid Google penalties.

What are the benefits of reciprocal links?

Naturally, an external link can help to boost your SEO and improve the rankings. However, be sure to always have something else on your mind – and that is the reader’s experience. Whatever is the link building strategy we are talking about, the focus should always be on quality content and the positive overall experience of your website’s visitors. So, with backlink exchange, you should try to achieve the perfect mix of external links that are relevant to the content, and provide some useful information or service to your readers. Both of these combined will unquestionably help your SEO, in a natural way.

The disadvantages

Even though reciprocal links are a great way to increase traffic on your website and improve the rankings on Google. However, take a moment to consider the negative side of backlink exchange and see if there are ways when it can actually hurt your SEO.

When you do excessive backlink exchange,  you help your website only in the short-term. At the same time, you are hurting the ranking on Google. Putting backlinks in your content without checking their quality or the relevance to the topic, you also risk losing the trust of your readers. Low-quality, spammy links are something to avoid, since Google devalues them and decrease your rankings. Be sure to focus on gaining and maintaining the trust of your readers, which will help your business in the long run. That’s why you should be very careful when choosing the backlink exchange strategy – create high-quality networks and see your website grow by providing only valuable content.

How to do backlink exchange properly?

As you could see, there are risks of using this backlink strategy, so it is essential to use it wisely and avoid potential problems. Now, let’s see what are the main tips in giving and getting backlinks without hurting your SEO.

Connect with relevant sites

The last thing you want to do is make your readers feel confused after reading your content and leaving for good. That’s why you should synchronize the content you write with the links you insert. The backlink exchange should be meaningful, and the links need to be relevant to the particular content, as well as the style of your website.

Provide high-quality content

As you want your readers to stay at your website and come again for more information, you need to provide them with some quality content. The information you give out should be valuable to the readers, and it should answer their questions and solve their problems.

a man looking at the results of backlink exchange in SEO
Even though strategies like backlink exchange can be beneficial, the focus should be on the relevant, high-quality content.

Do backlink exchange with high-authority websites

Again, this takes us back to the readers’ experience. When accepting reciprocal links – don’t do that blindly. Make sure you check the particular website’s metrics first. When exchanging links with an authority website, you get high-quality links, but you also establish your own website as a good-quality, trusted source of information. And that’s one of the reasons this strategy can be beneficial for your website if you practice it wisely.

Avoid competitors

Even though this is an obvious one, it’s worth mentioning. It’s necessary to find reciprocal links from websites that are related to your niche, and provide relevant content. However, you should avoid websites that are your direct competition. If you do that, the reader will click on the link and maybe go away from your website and get the same services, goods, or information from your competitor. This is when you get website traffic and better rankings but lose the customer.

Balance is the key

After reading all information on the backlink exchange, we can conclude the following. The way we look at this strategy nowadays is a bit different than before. It’s not as notorious as one would think. However, it’s not absolutely perfect either. The key is balance and using the backlink strategy wisely. And most importantly, focusing on the reader and its experience on the website.

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