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Innocent Interlinking of Sites
will google ignore it or could it have a negative effect?

 5:43 pm on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have a main company website, we are now developing several related individual websites (each with their own separate domain and each with the main company website on the same host and Class C IP).

There is no duplicate content, and this is done to keep things very clear for users of the individual sites. (The Blue Widget people generally have no interest in the Yellow Widget stuff, etc.)

We would like to have each individual website link back to the main company website ("This site is produced by ABC Company"), and the main company website will link to each of the individual websites ("ABC company produces the following specialized websites").

From this structure it is very clear and transparent that all of our sites are related. We're not trying to hide anything from google or the guide users, and we're not using this structure with the specific intention to pass the PR amongst our sites. (Each one is developing it's own links in from outside sites that we don't own/control).

My concern is whether the interlinking will somehow have a net negative effect on the google (or other search engine rankings) of the individual sites as compared to if they had absolutely no interlinking between them whatsoever.

I would expect that google might dampen, filter or totally ignore some of the positive PR/ranking factors that come from the interlinking of our sites, but should we be concerned that they might add some negative weight,or even penalty, because of the interlinking?

In other words, is it possible that the sites would actually rank lower than they would have if there was absolutely no interlinking?

Any insights on this would be much appreciated...



 8:11 pm on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't know how many links you were planning to put on each page...
But I don't see any fault in your behavior and everybody does that. Why should Google penalize that?
(I sure hope not, since we have far more crosslinking between our domains :-)


 9:23 pm on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

One SE might consider your newer sites as gateways to the main site, for which you could find yourself suddenly banned. The rules for SE's are quite clear, their implementation of those rules is not clear at all, in some cases.


 10:51 pm on Sep 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

The rules for SE's are quite clear, their implementation of those rules is not clear at all, in some cases.

That's certainly true. I suppose the safest way is to not interlink the sites at all. Then there's no risk that the algo's will find something that looks suspicious (eventhough an actual person looking at the sites probably wouldn't see a problem, as there is no duplicate content, the pages have unique content, it's all quite logical from a user perspective, etc).

Seems kind of silly, though. My gut tells me that Google would probably not apply a penalty to interlinking sites like this, but rather just not provide any positives in terms of passing the PR/better ranking factors, etc. But maybe this is wishful thinking?

Was the search engine you were referring to Yahoo?


 8:07 am on Sep 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been doing something similar for a year or two. I design small business websites and I link to many of them from my portfolio. They in turn have a link back to me as "Widget Web Design". I have not had any problem with this so far and this is quite a common practice with web designers.

I suppose it's not exactly the same since the sites don't all link to each other. They only to my site so it will look less like a link farm.

One word of caution, I had another site penalised earlier this year for being involved in a link farm. I had searched out a group of about 10 companies that were in the same industry but not in competition with each other. We interlinked for the link popularity but also because we generated genuine traffic from each other's sites. I didn't see any problem with this but Google didn't like it!


 4:12 pm on Sep 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks very much for the comments. Actually, I wouldn't have any interlinking between the individual specialized sites.

Basically just reciprocal links between the main company site, and each of the individidual specialized sites we produce.

Also the links wouldn't be sitewide. Just one link on the 'About' page from the specialized guide to the main company website, and one page on the main company site that has links to the specialized guides.

So, I suppose that this could be similar to the common situation with web-design companies like yours (Here are links to sites we've designed, and each site has a link back to the design company: Site design by ABC Web Design"). Although, you don't really own/control those sites, right? And the sites might be on different servers, different IP, etc.


 1:05 am on Sep 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's my story.
I have three specialized sites.
All with the same host.
Each with their own domain name.
Site #1 is a catalog of items which can be made.
Site #2 is for sales of many of those items - ready to sell.
Both offer the same widgets.
Site #1 links with site #2 (ie if you don't want to wait, you can purchase it here at site #2).
Both sites are PR5.
Site #1 is #2 in results, and has held that position for more than three years.
Site #3 is totally unrelated to #1 and #2, but links to both in the "link" section, with a reciprocal link from each. It is a relatively new site and ranks #1 - #3 for keyword searches, and is a PR4.

IF you're careful, and NOT trying to pull a fast one on your visitors or the search engines, you should be ok.

Of course, your mileage may vary.

Robert Charlton

 5:12 am on Sep 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

rover - The setup you describe sounds totally legit, and Google should think so too, but I do see a potential problem area. In my experience, Google can be touchy about sites with "similar" or thematically related content on the same Class Cs.

Similar sites on same IP address
Ranking issues

I don't think that Google is going to look at how up front you are with the user. They're dealing with related sites on a much broader scale. I don't think they want related sites to rank for similar terms, and I think that right now they may have their similarity filter turned up too high.

Beyond the hosting... I think the question boils down to how related the sites are thematically, and how independent their links are.

With regard to the links, this might mean that for some of your sites, you might want to establish independent inbounds before linking to them from your main site. All of the sites that I've observed with difficulties had minimal interlinking, but they were connected.

With regard to theme... if one of your sites is a gizmo site and another is a widget site, and the page on the gizmo site that links to the widget site contains some description about widgets, that may be enough to raise a similarity flag. Your hosting and linking patterns would then perhaps be deciding factors. I still haven't fully sorted it out.

edit to fix typo

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:21 am (utc) on Sep. 6, 2004]

Robert Charlton

 5:19 am on Sep 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

My gut tells me that Google would probably not apply a penalty to interlinking sites like this, but rather just not provide any positives in terms of passing the PR/better ranking factors, etc. But maybe this is wishful thinking?

PS - One would think that they would just drop the positives... but in one case, at least, that I describe in the Similar Sites thread, I'm seeing that a site doesn't even rank for its own non-competitive company name (I'm thinking because it's mentioned on the linking page of the higher PageRank partner site).


 3:26 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks very much for the comments and experiences and the reference to that thread I had missed.

Finally, I think I'm going to avoid interlinking the sites at all just to be on the safer side. It will help me to sleep better at night, and not always have me wondering if any SERPS problems are related to the interlinking.

It bugs me a little from the user side in that the interlinking is really just a logical setup, but then again, not having the interlinking is not going to really degrade the user experience in any major way.

I suppose then I'll also have no excuse for being lazy about independent link development for each site, since that will be the only way I can get inbound links (i.e. I can't rely on my established sites to get things started for a new site).


 4:10 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

*Just one link on the 'About' page from the specialized guide to the main company website, and one page on the main company site that has links to the specialized guides.*

To me that sounds well within the guidelines, and wouldn't be perceived as a "links scheme designed to increase PR or ranking", but I can understand your super-cautious approach.. ;-)


 4:22 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

I agree absolutely with Robert_Charlton - it depends if you are moving in the area of related topics, which it sounds as if you are.

It is then easy to knock your primary blue widget site out of the serps for a number of terms, just because you may be using them on another related site (especially if that site is linking to the primary site and especially if that site is more "global" in nature).


 4:30 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmmm, this is similar to something I am currently undertaking.

A web design and hosting company has offered to get me reciprocal links from all their sites (about 150) to my directory. They will almost all be relevant as it is a local area directory and they generally do local sites. However, 150 links from the same IP?

Could be interesting to see what google does....


 5:04 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

*Just one link on the 'About' page from the specialized guide to the main company website, and one page on the main company site that has links to the specialized guides.*

Sigh...It seems that way to me also, but after reading all of those threads, I keep getting nervous about it, because it still might get confused in the google algo.

...if you are moving in the area of related topics...it is then easy to knock your primary blue widget site out of the serps for a number of terms, just because you may be using them on another related site...

Actually the main company website is just a company "brochure" type site. Basically it just provides some background on the company and what we do (produce specialized guides in a broad field), and then would have a page with links to each of our specialized guides. I actually don't mind if it doesn't generate its own search engine traffic.

Also, I wouldn't really run into the situation where two of the sites would be competing for the same keyword or keyword phrase. The only sharing of the keywords/phrases would mainly come from the link from the main site to a specialized guide either in the anchor text or the brief description.

Other than that there is no targeting of the keywords for any of the specialized sites in the title, H1 tags, keyword density, etc. on the main company site.

So, given that there isn't excessive interlinking, and there isn't duplicate keyword/phrase focus, maybe I am overly concerned here about this and am over reacting. Hard to know these days.


 6:24 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

In a recent example of a "Fall from Grace", the site had been inter/cross linking for some time, but it was the recent aquisition of hundreds of Run of Site links that seems to have brought unwelcome attention to their linkage pattern.


 6:36 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

Do you mean Run of Site links from their own sites (same host/ip)? Or from separate, non-affiliated sites?


 7:12 pm on Sep 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

They were bought links, from a network that seemed to have had their PR/anchor text transfer capability barred.


 10:44 pm on Sep 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

Once you get penalized for interlinking and you remove these links is it generally possibly to recover? And if so, does anyone have experience (I am curious to see the time it may take)?

I do not think we have received this penalty, but we have dropped 5-7 spots across the board (does not appear to be a simple algo change since it happened to 5 of my sites and they all dropped about the same amount).

And if you are interlinking, would you get knocked out of the SERPS our is it possible to just drop?


 3:38 am on Sep 10, 2004 (gmt 0)


Let us know if you go through with the 150 links and what the effects seem to be. It could go either way...


 5:51 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Creating many website in use the same ip class and same whois information, but haven't interlink together. Is this affect by Google? Right now, I have already interlinked. If I have remove them off, Google will see different?


 10:39 am on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

there is going to be an effect as backlinks vanish.
Depends on your current ranks!


 3:37 pm on Sep 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I find this a bit hard to keep up with i meself have 100 sites they do inter linkbut in no set pattern, however they all have other external links again some of these do appear across all my pages.

I have dropped out of all rankings slowlu over a period of time,so this week i have removed all my links which are from my own sites across my entire network, whta i am trying to work ot from this thread is will i see my rankings come bank.

Secondly all my sites are location specific so i have started getting links from business, community site, schools ect which all have the location in the title and url so far for my main site i have around 40. The site is currently 26th with a pr of 5 taking into account all the links removed from my own network, all the new links added with the location in the keyword. Can i expect to jump back to the top 3. I forgot to add i have addeda lot of content too.


 9:44 pm on Sep 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

I own a bunch of affiliate sites with similar content, since they are all promoting the same products. 2 of them are hosted in their own IPs but the rest are hosted on a shared IP under a multiple domain hosting package (to save myself money on web hosting).

Should I probably not have any links between any of my sites? Should I only avoid linking between the shared IP sites?

If I do interlink them, should I avoid homepage linking, and would doing it from my reciprocal links directory pages be safer?

What if any of my crosslinks are showing up in Google search > link:www.website...com? Should I keep those links?


 6:02 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have a number of sites that cross-link to each other on every page. This was done to provide lateral navigation as a convenience for our visitors. I wasn't aware this could be a problem until reading this thread.

We still want our visitors to find related content on our other sites so we replaced the html links with javascript that displays the links to the visitor but would presumably be disregarded by spiders/search engines.

Does anyone see a problem with this?


 7:07 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

We've been interlinking like this for years with absolutely no problem for 100+ urls and top ranking for nearly every KW, which does run into thousands, some of which we never actually tried to optimise for!

Years? Oldest site 10 yrs, youngest 3 yrs.

100+ urls? Country specific, widget specific, trade specific and all the top bar navigation for every site i.e. contact, about, enquiries, quality, faqs, wanted, etc...all refer to the main company web site.

Never had a problem however there is absolutely no duplication of pages on any site and, admitedly, we are regarded as the #1 authority site in our industry worldwide. Some sites even run in little rings of their own, max 14 urls however they still link back to the main company web site.

I wouldn't worry about it whatsoever and as for passing PR...this has never, ever been considered by us...content is king.


 7:25 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Are all of your sites on the same server, class c ip block?


 8:03 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

They were until very recently however owing to so much traffic and bandwidth usage we've recently moved 20 domains to another ISP with a far superior offer and service.

We are keeping our original ISP since moving all domains would be a pain in the butt at the moment and we are now serving many of the images from the new ISP to the pages on the original ISP!

It may sound a lot of work but it's simple find and replace action when using Dreamweaver:-)

An obvious side benefit to this is that now the separated sites are actually independent in the eyes of the Google algo which would possibly help with backlinks if they were ever to be required.

It's very difficult to quantify that when already being #1 so I'll let my keyboard stay quiet and just assume I may be correct.

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