John Mueller from Google said on Twitter that “Reciprocal links aren’t necessarily bad.” But he did warn that Google is good at finding “link schemes & similar games that are sometimes played in that space.”
Here is the tweet:
Reciprocal links aren’t necessarily bad.
However, since you brought up recipes … natural links from other recipe bloggers are fine, but it’s good to avoid all of the link schemes & similar games that are sometimes played in that space. They’re pretty obvious to our systems.
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) January 22, 2020
Now, what is going to happen is that you will have 50% of SEOs say that Google has no approved doing reciprocal links. The other half will say no, reciprocal links are not.
Here is what the Google link schemes page says on this:
(1) Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
(2) Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking.
So that should be a bit more clear?
Forum discussion at Twitter.