When you are conducting some search engine optimization on your website, one thing you will probably be doing is looking for different ways by which you can take advantage of the manner in which search engines work - and once you understand that backlinks (that is, links from another site that point users to your site) are among the most important elements of SEO, this may lead you to start doing some reciprocal links - where you link to another site in exchange for a link back to you - but while this can be a beneficial SEO trick, it can also hurt your website if you do not do it right!

Know who is linking to you: If you have a website that ranks well, and you are exchanging a reciprocal link with a site that is brand new, or that is not high-ranking at all, you will still be helping them, but they will not be helping you at all; furthermore, you will not receive any help through a reciprocal link if you are exchanging links with a site that is deemed by search engines to be irrelevant to yours.

Know who you are linking to: While links from a poorly-ranked site will not hurt your search engine ranking, you should know that it is possible to hurt your search engine ranking by linking to "unsavory" sites; if a website is packed with spam, or if it is overflowing with pop-up ads, or if the content on the site is offensive, linking to this site will actually hurt your standing with search engines rather than helping you!

Pay attention to anchor text: The text that this "partner website" turns into a link will also make a difference in whether or not the reciprocal link does anything for you; the best way to reciprocate links is to tell the other person what you want the anchor text to say, as this will allow you to make sure that the anchor text contains keywords that are relevant to the page being linked to, which will cause the link to have more weight with search engines.

SEO can be a complicated game to get into, but once you begin to understand the little things such as this, you will be in much better shape to boost your placement on search engine rankings pages!

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