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Avoiding a Penalty With Multiple Sites on the Same Server,

 10:40 pm on Apr 2, 2005 (gmt 0)

I know this topic has been talked about a lot, I've read thru a good number of posts, but I still need a bit of guidance.

Say I have 5 sites. All closely related in topic. All 5 sites are hosted with a big hosting company under the same account and I can assume they share an IP on the same server.

Question: Would there be a penalty if each site were to link to the other four? i.e. each index page has 4 links to the other sites. Sub-pages WOULD NOT have linking to any of my other sites. I've read that if all sites are on the same c-block then it should not be done.

Should I add these links? Or would it be considered cross-linking? Thanks.



 12:48 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

I would like the answer to this one as well.

I have a community that consists of a party supply store, party favors store, ideas center etc. that all go together and would like to know about the whole linking thing.



 1:12 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

yeah me three...I have a dedicated server, with a bunch of ip's (all the same c block though). Can I have multiple sites, with semi related content, on different ip's, on the same server? Actually I'm wondering if it matters anymore since it's so easy for G to do a whois lookup, and know I own em all.

p.s. i wouldnt be linking any of them to each other


 2:19 am on Apr 4, 2005 (gmt 0)

Penalty is too strong a word, I'll use the term dampener instead as I believe it to be more correct.

The word penalty implies that a site will suffer adverse (negative) effects.

The woprd dampener on the other hand suggests a reduced amount of positive effect (possibly reduced to zero)

A dampener will be applied if any group of web sites are heavily interlinked.

That dampner will be increased if those sites are on the same domain or Class C subnet.

You can think of it as meaning that the links between those sites won't pass as a normal link from an unrelated site.

karl forshaw

 11:27 am on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi Mrmister

What is a C subnet? Will the dampner be applied because they are heavily interlinked or because the sites are on the same server?

Many thanks


 2:27 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

***Would there be a penalty if each site were to link to the other four?***

Brett has said to link away, but I'm not so sure.

Pre Florida, we had 8 related sites all interlinked and all on the same server. We went from thousands of G$$gle hits per day to a trikle post Florida.

Sites were adult toys - each one specialized. It was natural to have them interlinked in that if you were looking for something in particular it was easily found by the searcher.

Of course it could have been something entirly different - but I suspect the interlinking for the sudden drop for all the sites.

karl forshaw

 2:43 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

The question I have to ask is "is this caused by heavy linking or being on the same server?"


 2:53 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Penalty is too strong a word, I'll use the term dampener instead as I believe it to be more correct.
I have seen no evidence to back this up.

I wouldnt heavy link with any website as a rule unless the website is 100% ontopic with each page a link points to.


 5:42 pm on Apr 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

If google are applying hilltop ( big if) then if several sites from the same ip appear within a set of results, only one will remain in those results.

karl forshaw

 7:34 am on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ah, so if I bought additional IP addresses for my server this problem wouldnt occur?


 1:05 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

Please note that nameservers is also an issue that Google may be checking... So to be sure you need different C-class IPs AND different nameservers. At least, this is what I am doing.


 3:35 pm on Apr 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

What I have observe since florida. You must not interlink your web site if they are in the same server. But if they are under different IPs your are safe for the interlink. But by the way this is another discution... don't interlink your web site.

It will to risky for the gg to ban website only from the hosting machine. think about every small website in vitual hosting.

karl forshaw

 1:45 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google would ban you for interlinking two highly relevant sites togther just becase you wrote them both? That's absurd, surely you should be rewarded for providing a service to the community.


 6:25 pm on Apr 28, 2005 (gmt 0)

My experience of an extreme case.

30 sites, one main site, all about related topics, all interlinked, one server, one IP.

Initial result: Only main site ranked in G, other sites very rarely. Also G crawls only main site deep, others only one or 2 levels deep.

After some time: Pages of main site start dropping from G, other sites remain the same.

After more time: More pages drop, now pages indexed by G 5-10% of what they were to begin with.

My conclusion? Interlinking has consequences. Call it penalty, dampener, what you will.

The sites were not created like this with SEO in mind, in fact were created by people who had no clue about SEO.

An interesting anecdote: All the 30 sites used to link to another site on another server, say Site X. Site X never linked back. One day they did link back. G remains stable for 3 months, and one day, POOF! Site X loses all pages in Google. Again, no deliberate SEO done for site X either, the linking was due to other considerations.


 10:10 pm on Apr 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I think something is wrong with Google algorithms if webmasters can no longer make links to related websites without making sure they donít share the same IP, nameserver, whois info or whatever.

Google has done some changes this year to fight spam but at the same time they are hurting the average webmaster who has no knowledge of SEO.

In some cases, penalties, filters and sandboxes to white hat sites are actually encouraging black hat techniques like Javascript redirects. One of my clean sites lost all Google traffic last December. How can I help people find my site other than redirecting them from another domains? I want someone from Google to answer this question.

You have some work to do, Mr. Colijn.


 6:40 am on Apr 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

> All 5 sites are hosted with a big hosting company under the same account and I can assume they share an IP on the same server.

No need to assume; find out (although it's a reasonable assumtion).

> Would there be a penalty if each site were to link to the other four ...

Not necessarily. It depends on how they are linked to each other. But the point that keeps getting missed is that it also depends upon many, many other factors that are not related ... but are made to be related by the algos. These factors include but are not limited to common templating and file structures, intersecting kw's across sites, backlink patterns, blah, blah, blah. ;-)

Just having a handful of conservatively linked sites across a shared IP will not put your sites under water. There are tons of example to the contrary.

People have to stop thinking about pieces of the algo as though they were independent. There are some site elements that all by themselves can get you in trouble when done to extreme, but that's not why most sites suffer in the SERP's (when they suffer).


 8:22 pm on Apr 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

I needed a new website related to my main topic cluster, and although I really like my current webhosting service, I felt I had no choice but to scramble to find an alternative provider. Harumph!

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