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I cannot find any definitive advice about cross-linking. I am unhappy about the way that if you have one really big site you can make a lot of stupid pages and still get a major benefit in google but if you have different on-topic sites you cannot link them to each other in case you get the PR0. Anyway forget about that.
I have 5 nice domains for widgets in different cities.
e.g. Widgets-LA widgets-NY widgets-SF
each of the sites has different widgets a person will be interested in.
blue-widgets yellow-widgets green-widgets
at the moment i have just the index pages linked together widgets-LA -- widgets-NY -- widgets-SF
people will search on widgets-LA, blue-widgets-LA, yellow-widgets-LA (these are people from outside LA)
I had every page linked to the home pages of the other sites but I removed this because I was worried about getting PR0 for cross-linking. The problem is that I am missing out on valuable click-throughs from people who would be interested to see about widgets-NY even if they had come to blue-widgets-LA.
Many people who come to blue-widgets-LA never leave that page so never see the links to the other sites from the index page widgets-LA.
I need to know how to let people know about my other related sites without risking any google punishment.
What do you think about linking the internal pages to the relevant internal pages of the other sites? e.g. blue-widgets-LA -- blue-widgets-NY -- blue-widgets-SF From a user point of view this would be perfect because as I said some users are only interested in blue-widgets and not in yellow-widgets or the index page and would be interested in blue-widgets in the different cities rather than the green and yellow widgets in the same city.
I realise that if google accepts this then there would be a slight benefit for me but I want to do it even if there is no benefit but as long as their is no penalty. Therefore I can hide the links inside a <FORM> so google will not follow it but I would rather not do this.
Any suggestions about how exactly the penalty for cross-linking would be applied in this case would be gratefully appreciated.
From what I hear, no one actually knows if Google penalizes for cross linking. I have a similar situation...you can check out my post:
as well as these helpful threads:
"Surfing in California"
"Surfing in Mexico"
"Surfing in South Africa"
"Surfing in Hawaii"
"Surfing in Iraq"
What is wrong with cross linking all these sites. They're all about surfing, so should be good relevant links and of interest to the user.
I guess what the original question is asking is.. how far can you go with cross linking? Just from each index page? From every page? From a few selected pages?
While we on the subject, doesn't Google pretty much ignore multiple links from the same site anyway? So doing this for purely PR purposes doesn't work, or am I wrong? If this is the case, then surely a few links here and there would be OK. Every site should have a "surfing in other places" page that link to the other sites.
Sorry to use "surfing" and not "widgets" as an example. Don't like widgets. Nasty little things.
When a boogie boarder comes across the 'boogie boarding' page of the 'Surfing in Cali' site they are not going to look at the other pages on the site or go to the index page that would contain the links to the other 'Surfing' sites. However, they might be very interested in the 'boogie boarding' pages on the other sites. So how to let them know about this without getting penalised?
The answer has already been given ... hide the link from google ... but this seems a shame when it is relevant and on topic and if it was within the one big site would get a PR boost from it.