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Is it smart to trade links with competitors in the same profession? In my particular case that of relationship therapists? Does it matter whether those competitors come from the same city and / or region?

I can imagine that a link swap with a competitor from a region far from yours could negatively affect your position in local search results. Link swapping with competitors in the same region on the other hand could also benefit direct competators as to it has no direct and personal advantage anymore.

Who can tell more about this? In my case, the links are on a special page where visitors are most likely not to visit.

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Even if you link to competitors outside of your service area, you may still be competing for "general" traffic from search engines.

To use your example of relationship therapists: I'm sure there are many questions/issues people search on this topic. "Should we get a male or female relationship therapist?" etc.

These questions can be answered from anywhere in the world. So, if you're posting content like that, you should be very careful about linking to competitors.

And if you put this link on a secret page that nobody really visits, it's a worthless link. Google knows all about it.

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Best answer would be: link where applicable. Long term SEO thinking: don't link to your direct competitors An option would be to get a link to your page from them and offer them a link from another related website in a related place in return.

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