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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.
p.s. i wouldnt be linking any of them to each other
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.
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.
It will to risky for the gg to ban website only from the hosting machine. think about every small website in vitual hosting.
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.
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.
You have some work to do, Mr. Colijn.
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).