How to get reciprocal links

Reciprocal links are arranged when two web sites agree to link to each other.

Reciprocal links are also known as "link swaps", "link exchanges" and "link partners".

A common misspelling is "reciprical links".

Reciprocal links help you in two ways:

1. They increase your web site traffic, from people who click on the links.

2. Reciprocal links also play a major role in boosting your rankings in search engines.

Warning: Late in 2005, Google's Matt Cutts made it clear that it's possible to "overdo" reciprocal links. Getting good, solid, reciprocal links should be VERY SMALL PART of your links strategy, not your total marketing strategy.

When ranking sites, the major search engines take into account the number and quality of the sites that link to you.

Persuading good quality, relevant sites to link to you can be tedious, time-consuming and frustrating. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success.

One way to find link partners is to do searches in major search engines such as Google and Yahoo! to find sites which complement yours but are not direct competitors.

Many sites also link to direct competitors, figuring that the benefits outweigh any disadvantages.

Examine their links pages

A refinement of this strategy is to visit your competitors' sites and complementary sites and examine their links pages or resources pages.

The sites you'll find there are potential reciprocal links partners. They should be linking to you.

Now visit THEIR links pages and examine them, and so on down the chain.

You should end up with a long list of good sites with which to exchange links.

How to set up reciprocal links

  • Find GOOD QUALITY, complementary sites.
  • Place a link to them on your site.
  • Only AFTER you've placed a link to them, email the owner of the site a short, friendly note. Address him or her by name. (If the name isn't on the site, you may be able to find it at
  • Genuinely praise something on the site. If you can't find something worth praising, delete the site from your list.
  • Tell the web site owner you've linked to their site, giving them the URL of the page where you've placed your link.
  • Ask for a link back to your site, suggesting a page where the link would be appropriate.
  • Three weeks later, if there's been no reply, send a brief, polite reminder. It's easy for emails to be lost or overlooked.
  • Use the phone and/or snail mail. A link from a good site is a very valuable thing. If you can't get noticed by email, consider trying a phone call or posting a letter. They're more expensive but also more likely to attract the answer you want.
  • Keep an alphabetical record of sites you've linked to and requested links from. You need to know who you've contacted and who you haven't.

Want links from pages with high PageRank?

To boost their PageRank, some webmasters concentrate on getting links only from sites that have high PageRank. (If we all did this, no new site would ever get reciprocal links.)

If you want to try this approach, SEChat's PageRank Search is a useful free search tool to use. It gives you Google search results PLUS their PageRank. You type in a key phrase and can quickly see the PageRank of pages optimized for that phrase.

Really serious ways of getting links

You can arrange newsletter article exchanges with other newsletter publishers in your niche, preferably with newsletters which are archived online.

Some webmasters also arrange "article swaps". You write an article to be published on their website and they write an article for your site. This gives you an in-context link, which is much more effective than a mere link on a links page.

Reciprocal links websites

You can search in Google for link exchange websites which publish directories of website owners who actively exchange links with each other. As a general rule, the easier and more automated link exchanging is, the more risky it is that you'll be doing something which the search engines don't like. For example, you don't want to get involved in link farms which link to totally unrelated websites.

Reciprocal linking tools

To facilitate getting reciprocal links, consider the software described in Ralph Wilson's "Reciprocal Linking Tools" report. His 22-page report explains the functions of various types of reciprocal link management software, divides them into three types, and provides reviews and recommendations on best-of-breed software.

It includes brief reviews on Zeus, Arelis, LinksManager, Links4Trade, Hot Links SQL, Linking101 Link Management Script, LinkManager Lite and Pro, Duncan Carver's Link Management Assistant, and PowerLinks. Arelis is a good choice.

Three ways to save time

1. You can hire companies which specialize in finding reciprocal links partners for you. This will probably cost about $6 per link. Prices vary in different industries. Dirk Johnson's LinkStrategy is one company which provides this service.

2. Use the free SiteSell Value Exchange. It's a very simple, fast, efficient way of exchanging links with relevant sites.

The Value Exchange is very useful but isn't likely to find you all the reciprocal links partners you need. In some industries, it may find you only a small number of link partners. In others, it may find you several hundred links partners. It's definitely worth joining - especially so because it's free!

Join the SiteSell Value Exchange - FREE

While you're there, make sure you download the free Make Your Links Work report. It describes sound, long-term linking strategies.

3. Arelis software takes a lot of tedium out of finding reciprocal links partners. For example, it has a great "Find Competitor Links" feature that allows you to quickly find all web sites that link to your competitors.

Web sites that link to your competitors are sites that should link to you. Arelis quickly locates these sites and helps you to contact them and ask them to link to your site.

If they're already linking to similar sites, there's a good chance they'll be willing to link to you.

You can also search for reciprocal links partners by keyword or keyword phrase.

Arelis makes link management very simple and saves you a lot of time. It also builds your link pages for you. You can customize the template to match your site's style and no one will ever know you're using a link management program.

Warning about SBI and Arelis

Here's a warning from a Site Build It user who also uses Arelis.

"If you upload pages created by Arelis (or any other pages for that matter) to SBI, the links to external sites are replaced by redirected links, presumably for tracking.

"What that does however is that it prevents you from passing any PageRank to your link partners. Putting aside the debate whether PageRank is important or not, many webmasters clearly believe it is important and simply refuse reciprocating with sites that don't link to them is straight HTML. Certainly that has been my experience.

"...the only way around this is to create all reciprocal links in SBI by hand and forget about uploading pages from Arelis or any other reciprocal management software."

SBI users can still use Arelis for a very powerful purpose - to find potential link partners - and can add the links to their sites manually.

Arelis checks your links

Arelis also checks to see that your reciprocal links partners are still linking to you - another really useful time-saver.

There's a free trial version. Highly recommended.

Download the free Arelis trial

Beware of "nofollow" links

Some links pass "link juice" and help your PageRank. Some don't. The links that don't pass PageRank value have rel="nofollow" in the HTML.

In Firefox, here's how to discover if a link is "nofollowed":

1. Go the web page that contains the link.

2. RIGHT-click anywhere on the web page (NOT on a link).

3. Click on "View Page Info". (In Internet Explorer, click on "View Source".)

4. Click Edit.

5. Click Find. Search for the link. See if it contains rel="nofollow". If it does, it doesn't pass "link juice".

Fortunately, there's a much easier way to find nofollowed links... You can easily check for "nofollow" links by using a free tool called SEO for Firefox. It's a Firefox extension from SEOBook. This free tool also gives you a lot of other useful, competitive data. More than 500,000 webmasters use it.

UPDATED: March 26, 2013
December 20, 2005

Comments (211)

Said this on October 19, 2006 At 04:37 am
I am glad to found your link and will like to link your site to mine at I have the same interest as you do -- That is to earn from affilate programs and am new to it. So I need to learn from scratch. I am trying to get traffic to my site. I know there is a lot to learn. Do give me advice or comments to my site. Hope to hear from you soon.

[Faye, A good place to ask questions and learn is on our affiliate forum. It's a friendly, helpful place. My free "77 Waysto Get Traffic" report gives you dozens of ideas on how to get links to your site. Just choose the ideas which interest you most. Allan.]
Roy Carter
Said this on March 18, 2007 At 12:53 pm
Thanks for an instructive and revealing article Allan. As I have a couple of SBI sites, the tip about Arelis was particularly helpful to me. Like you, I highly recommend SBI for anyone wanting to make building a website quicker and easier than having to learn HTML from scratch. Thanks again Allan,
Roy Carter
Great site
Said this on June 16, 2007 At 11:17 am
Im glad i found, my domains:
Went to BANG!!!
Thank you

[Beware of using trademarked names as part of your domain name. You're very likely to lose ownership of your domain name and your work on your site will have been wasted. Allan.]
Tracey Williamson
Said this on June 24, 2007 At 11:09 pm
Excellent Article...
I have taken many of these discussion points on board. We use to rate within the first 2 pages via google. Now we are about page 7. We scrapped a lot of stuff over the years and it was to our own downfall. This article has made me realise what I was doing was exactly what was required. Foolish me. Anway, thanks for the advice
Said this on June 29, 2007 At 01:20 pm
We are finding that promoting our website is more work that coding it. You have many good tips in this article, and I will put them to use right away.
Kevin - Free People Search
Krish Puri
Said this on July 5, 2007 At 12:02 pm
Excellent. Thanks a lot.
Said this on January 18, 2012 At 06:05 am
Thank u very much for u give to Great post. It is very important to select a good Reciprocal company for you on-line business. Our company in New York, provides ethical Reciprocal solutions for all types of businesses with convenient pricing plans and resulting in higher rankings in targeted markets. Thanks for sharing...
Said this on July 15, 2007 At 04:04 am
Is there a minimum number of links one should have? Also, is there a website that would allow me to enter domain name and see how many websites the site is linked to? Thanks.

[The fewer good, relevant links you have, the fewer visitors you're likely to get. How many you need depends on how tough the competition is. Do a search using the search box near the top of this page for
Backlinks, backward links, back links
(without using quotation marks) and you'll find an article titled "Backlinks, backward links, back links" which explains how to find out how many sites are linking to a site, and which ones are doing the linking. Allan.]
Pulkit Gera
Said this on July 17, 2007 At 10:23 am
Thank you very much for this wonderful article, I actually designed my sites a couple of weeks ago and i am frantically trying to promote it. These tips will definitely help promote my web design company.
Thank you very much!
Said this on July 27, 2007 At 08:48 am
We are busy promoting our website and employing SEO protocols. Thanks for your article and insight it was very helpful. We are right now in the process of finding link partners. Our url is:
Said this on August 11, 2007 At 04:18 pm
Thank You for this very informative website. Much information is located here that is helpful to any site owner!
Said this on August 15, 2007 At 01:40 pm
Insightful information you've got here. I believe everybody here is looking for reciprocal links. This page is first on a google search.
So, I'll also post my site...
[Deleted. This section is for comments, not self-promotion. To find reciprocal links partners, try the Links Partners section of our affiliate forum. Allan.]
Said this on August 23, 2007 At 05:59 pm
I found interesting one way link exchange, take a look If they do what they promised, it is good services.

[Interesting, indeed. The major flaw I see is that each week you are given a list of sites and told to link to them. However, owners of high quality websites protect their reputation very carefully, and are very particular about the quality of sites to which they link. Allan.]
Said this on September 2, 2007 At 05:16 am
Thank You for this very useful information regarding linking sites. It surely helps any webmaster who wants to improve their website.
Said this on September 3, 2007 At 05:43 am
Thanxx for the tips ..
they are really useful ..
Tech Check ..
Said this on September 3, 2007 At 09:29 am
Thank you for the article. I have learned a lot from it. - Where all the evil jokes go.
Said this on September 9, 2007 At 10:22 pm
Great article. Thank You. I have been working very hard to have my site ranked higher. I come up pretty good on google but my rank is low.
Tyler Candles [Attempted link deleted.]

[Just to let everyone know: To discourage spammers, HTML is disabled in comments on this website. It's not possible to put a hyperlink in comments here, so don't waste your time trying. Allan.]
Said this on September 18, 2007 At 11:51 am
thank you for these valuable words
Surender Kaur
Said this on September 19, 2007 At 02:52 pm
Great article about reciprocal link tool. I found it very interesting. It helped me a lot.
Said this on September 23, 2007 At 04:45 pm
This is a very resourceful list of how to get reciprocal links. I need to do some more work on this and am going to try some of the ideas here for my home decor site.
Thanks for the tips.
Said this on October 30, 2007 At 09:30 am
that's great. very useful topic. thanks a lot.
Mp3 Music Download site
Said this on November 8, 2007 At 05:20 am
Excellent article, thank you - I've been dabbling in SEO for only a few months now and my site is just starting to come up in the rankings, but this information will help me I believe. - a freight forwarder website which I found particularly hard to optimise due to the high competition!
Said this on November 15, 2007 At 06:55 am
Thanks a lot was helpful!!!
Francis Hirak
Said this on November 24, 2007 At 11:00 am
You have an excellent article on reciprocal links. It has helped me out a lot on how to get the understanding of how reciprocal links work and what a great benefit they are. Thank you.
Said this on November 29, 2007 At 01:24 am
Great article Allan. Now I know what is reciprocal link.
Said this on November 30, 2007 At 10:36 am
Very interesting article. You do not seem to talk about "three ways linking" though. It is pretty common nowadays:
See this article:
Emmanuel Fauvel

[Three-way linking makes sense to me but I hope people who are doing it aren't underestimating Google's ability to analyze artificial linking structures. I think you'd want to make sure it was only a small part of what you were doing. Allan.]
Said this on December 12, 2007 At 05:54 pm
Thank you so much for the great advice! It has helped a lot. I will be back to visit!
Said this on January 4, 2008 At 11:01 pm
It is a great article for those of us just beginning to exchange links! A big help in understanding reciprocal links.
Said this on January 8, 2008 At 06:33 pm
Many thanks Allan. A very clear and easy to understand article. I hope to write as clearly on my blog:
Said this on January 19, 2008 At 09:17 am
Great write up Allan!
Servcorp Virtual Offices
Said this on January 24, 2008 At 03:11 am
Said this on January 27, 2008 At 09:34 am
Thanks this was of help.
Said this on January 30, 2008 At 09:34 am
Said this on February 6, 2008 At 05:45 pm
Useful & practical advice.
Said this on February 14, 2008 At 09:55 am
I'll make sure to link to you on my site too :) .
Said this on March 26, 2008 At 04:46 pm
Thank you for the very informative article, I have had a hard time getting a response from companies although they were intially interested in reciprically linking with our site. Your suggestion to send a polite reminder after already placing their link on your site is a great idea and I will give it a try!
Thank you! Amanda
Said this on March 27, 2008 At 03:22 pm
Thank you, This topic was quite useful!
voice and data services
Said this on March 27, 2008 At 11:15 pm
Thanks for your very informative articles. I learn many things from your site. I hope you will continue posting some articles regarding with web designing specially NOWADAYS overwhelming increase of DEMANDS IN IT.

I am a student and I would like to get a high page rank (sorry I am so ambitious! lol) I don't know what is my reciprocal link. Please let me know what is a reciprocal link. Thank you!
Regards and more power to you!

[Here's one definition of reciprocal: "Given or felt by each toward the other; mutual: reciprocal respect." So when you link to a site and site links to you, you have reciprocal links. Allan]
Robert Nolan
Said this on April 17, 2008 At 06:05 am
Yes, does anyone know what is a good number of links?
Shadow Detectives

[There's no simple answer. It depends how serious your competition is, and also depends on the quality of the links you're getting. Some sites rank very well with a few dozen links, while others have hundreds and still struggle. Allan.]
Said this on April 23, 2008 At 11:53 am
Really useful comments, thnx a lot!!!
Said this on May 6, 2008 At 12:38 pm
One may check the reciprocal and/or backlinks from these free online webtools.
Said this on June 10, 2008 At 05:20 pm
Thanks, This was a great read!
Said this on June 12, 2008 At 07:22 pm
Thanks for the link to I had forgotten about their great tools!
Sarah Batie
venugopal reddy
Said this on June 18, 2008 At 07:02 am
its very gud n helpful
Said this on June 19, 2008 At 02:02 pm
Hi friends,
I saw this reciprocal links facility to get my website and getting ideas about links. Also I have online friends community website to get more ideas about traffic and websites.
Said this on June 21, 2008 At 07:51 pm
Wonderful blog. I enjoyed reading about it. It's very educational
Sufi M.
Said this on July 5, 2008 At 09:23 am
Thank you so much for the information provide in this article. Very useful tips that will help me improve traffic for my site.
Tony Ward
Said this on July 6, 2008 At 09:54 pm
What a very helpful article. I'm sure using some of these tips will help increase my pagerank for Patent Retriever
Said this on July 21, 2008 At 11:23 pm
Australian Bed and Breakfast Booking website for all good accomodation, B&B's, farmstays, guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts!
Anybody want to trade receptical links?

[Lachie, we have a Links Partners section on our forum. That would be a more appropriate place to ask for reciprocal links. Allan.]
Dita Basu
Said this on September 9, 2008 At 04:35 pm
Thanks so much Allan for this very informative article. I am new to all these. I am in the process of preparing my 20 page content. I have to go back to theses kind of articles over and over to make a solid foundation. Thanks again. Dita,

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