While overly dramatic the title says it all and I'm frustrated. I have a site that ranks well and gets great traffic, it's about summer widgets, and I'm apparently not allowed to maintain search visibility if I link it to my other newer site about winter widgets. The sites completely make sense together but the rankings don't hold when linked together.
I tried a simple link in the sidebar, reciprocal from each site, and both suffered in rank. I tried a single link from the homepage, a footer link and lastly a single mention from a single article, same effect.
The effect is fairly quick, rankings suffer within a week and then take 3 weeks or more to recover after removal. I've left the link in the single article for now but I feel like this just isn't how it's supposed to work.
When I visit Google.com I am flooded with their other products and services and I AM free to do the same with my sites but doing so without losing rank, and visitors, is the cost?
What would be the best way/location/method for making sure my visitors know they can visit the other seasonal site and that i'm here year 'round without dropping 5 spots in search (it's the equivalent of a 50% traffic cut) ?