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We also know that Google has said that it tries to identify sites purchasing links and will discount those links/votes when found. There has also been the discounting of cross linking between sites.
My question is about using Google's Webmaster Tools for multiple sites. If you claim multiple sites, whether or not you upload sitemaps, does Google discount the links/votes from one of these sites to the other? (i.e. Does using these tools hurt your/mine PR and SERP?)
From my experience, it appears that Google is already using the Webmaster Tools to identify sites that are controlled by the same person(s) and then devaluing links from one to the other. I have a very popular blog (PR6 with high internal PR rankings) that links to another ones of my sites. These links used to appear in Google as backlinks for the other site, but about 4 months after "claiming" them both in my Google webmaster tools, the backlinks disappeared from Google. Has anyone else seen this?
If you have one site that does well and has a lot of trust rank and one that does not, may be putting them together and letting google know you have multiple sites may be some trust rank will pass.
Food for thought....
Most of my sites rank very well, maybe it even helps the other (i.e. new) sites to inherit trust from the already established ones.
edit: @trinorthlighting: maybe I should read _all_ posts before writing my own :)
from trinorthlighting "If you have one site that does well and has a lot of trust rank and one that does not, may be putting them together and letting google know you have multiple sites may be some trust rank will pass."
I hadn't thought about the combo of them possibly helping the one with higher trust bring up the trust of a lower trust site, but that could also work in the opposite way. I would hate to combine them into one Google webmaster tools account to risk it based on the roll of the dice.
As to blackhat versus whitehat, I'm not trying to scam Google or the others. I have multiple sites with well established followings/communities that likely all have good trust level, as they rank fairly well for their respective terms.
Matt Cutts from Google has said that Google discounts links known to be advertising (i.e. paid text links). That makes me feel as though since google is looking for unbiased "votes" for your site that they may also discount the value for a link if they know you control site A that links to site B.
Not sure about that. Do not use adsense - prefer other avenues that do not support the Google beast. The sites or rather small groups of the sites are on different servers with different class C IPs. The whois is set to anom.
They are white hat, but this is still a concern.
If I were Google, I would be more likely to devalue what appears to be deceptive interlinking, than open interlinking between sites acknowledging the relationship between the sites. Google knows that lots of us have multiple sites. Hell, Google has multiple sites that they link between.
I guess I'm just too lazy to go to all the effort of trying to hide the relationship of my sites.
Wait a minute... now I'm getting paranoid!
Are you suggesting here that if someone has 6 sites all in a general/similar field and all listed under one sitemap account; and those sites have NO duplicate content (repeat: NONE), however since they appeal to a similar body of websurfers, the webmaster has linked them all together -- that we have signaled to Google our common ownership and therefore they've come up with yet one more way to penalize us?
Tell me it ain't so.
"penalize" may be a little tough, but Google has made it very clear both from MC comments and the support pages.
[google.com ] “Keep in mind that our algorithms can distinguish natural links from unnatural links. Natural links to your site develop as part of the dynamic nature of the web when other sites find your content valuable and think it would be helpful for their visitors. Unnatural links to your site are placed there specifically to make your site look more popular to search engines. Some of these types of links (such as link schemes and doorway pages) are covered in our webmaster guidelines.”
As Google considers each link to your site as a vote for your site/page for the given anchor text (greatly simplified), they are trying to avoid counting any links/votes that you have control of. This includes paid links, link farms, reciprocal links, signature and links on pages/site you control.
I do not buy into the belief that Google already knows about my sites being under my control. For some of them they do, but why should I go ahead and tell them to make sure that they know and can avoid counting those links. With that said, there is still a potential traffic benefit to cross linking between your sites; it is just whether you would like at least he potential for Google to count the backlink.