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Is interlinking owned sites with nofollow OK?

   
9:28 am on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have a group of sites I want to link up, all linked to and from each other. If I nofollow ALL links will that completely avoid any manual or alogo penalty?

I’m slightly worried someone might report it as a link scheme to Google and if they manually look at it WITHOUT going into the code it would look like a link scheme and get a penalty on all sites?

Should I worry about the anchor text if the links are nofollow or is that no longer a risk because of the nofollow attribute?

I might even want todo a link wheel for these sites but again nofollow the links, is this all safe when you nofollow?
.


Mod's note: Changing thread title for clarification...
...from:
Is no follow link exchange amongst owned sites ok?
...to:
Is interlinking owned sites with nofollow OK?

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 7:50 am (utc) on Jul 6, 2013]

9:55 am on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I have a group of sites I want to link up, all linked to and from each other.


Here's the only question you need to answer: Why?

Answering that will tell you everything you need to know, but you have to do it honestly.
10:06 am on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Since you want to nofollow links between your sites, I presume the purpose of interlinking is for visitors only? How many sites are we talking about?

In general, you should be safe interlinking sites this way. I don't think you need to worry about anchor text either (with regards to the site the link point to). But I would also make sure the anchor text is "natural" (read: made for visitors) on the page from where you are linking out from.

But I am not sure what would happen if you interlink (lets say) 100 sites this way.
10:10 am on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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To maximise potential traffic to each site, all sites are related to a specific widget main category but are sub categories or are just related to the topic.

I was hoping nofollow would = no need to explain since you’re not manipulating the algo just maximising click through potential of site visitors?

@aakk9999 maybe up to 25 ish on a "links" page

I thought google "nofollow was googles way of saying “okay we don’t want you to link to manipulate the algo but we are going to give you a workaround so your still in control and can link however you want”

Can nofollow links still be classed as "Link schemes" in violation of google guidelines, I guess that's what im asking?
11:49 am on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member




Can nofollow links still be classed as "Link schemes" in violation of google guidelines, I guess that's what im asking?

The point where somebody can give a definitive answer is the point where Google will move the goal posts again.

I have run information sites in the arts sector with lots of natural links in and out which have not had the tiniest bump in the SERPs through all the stuff that G has thrown at us. I just carried on getting it right for the visitors and everything seems to work out ok.
1:40 pm on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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maybe up to 25 ish on a "links" page


If that's basically all that's on the page, you might consider the possibility of using robots.txt to block googlebot from crawling the page
3:24 pm on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Answering that will tell you everything you need to know, but you have to do it honestly.


But you're also relying on Google's ability to discern your "honest" intent, and AFAIC, that's in doubt. I no longer think we can simply assume that if a link scheme makes sense to and benefits humans, the algo will understand that. This is where (I think) Tedster would bring up machine learning and the possibility that the algo really IS less sophisticated right now than it used to be, but only because Google is making changes that will in the longterm make it more robust.

But for now, the "if it makes sense to visitors" rule is not one I rely on.

However, if this is a move that's likely to please visitors or bring you more traffic, or spread your traffic around more pages, I would do it anyway.
3:49 pm on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



"and if they manually look at it WITHOUT going into the code"


I am pretty sure that whatever tools google has will tell them upfront and on the table whether a link is a nofollow link or not. I seriously doubt they are going to have to be "going into the code".

This is something that EVERY third party link checking tool has and I would venture to say that the tools that google has at their disposal are more sophisticated than the third party ones out there.

~~~~

On the other hand, who knows what google thinks nowadays.
4:30 pm on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Google's John Mueller:

if the links have a rel=nofollow then they're not used by our algorithms and not used for manual webspam action (which is where you'd get an unnatural links notification from).

[plus.google.com...]

Folks should keep up with his Webmaster Central videos. They often have much more info than the Matt Cutts' variety.
10:46 am on Jul 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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But these linking website in return giving you link with no follow attribute then its no use to do that. No one will get benefit.

It depends on the reason why sites are interlinked (exchanged links). It may be for traffic purpose rather than for link juice.
11:37 am on Jul 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



1. This discussion is about interlinking own sites with a no-follow. It's not about exchanging links.

2. CaptainSalad2 has a good reason to interlink, to refer traffic between his sites. It's our traffic, we can do what we want with it and maintain our rankings if we do within Google's guidelines. Publishers who don't care about the rankings are free to interlink anyway they wish.

3. CaptainSalad2 has a valid concern. If someone should report his site (because they didn't see the no-follow), the site might receive extra scrutiny and lose rankings for some other reason apart from no-follow. It's within the realm of possiblities, like getting hit by a bus while stepping off a curb.

There are a lot of bad things that can happen. Dwelling on all the bad things that can happen is just going to cause anxiety.

4. I think the majority of spam reports get dealt with in an automated fashion and the no-follows will cause the report to be dismissed.
3:56 pm on Jul 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



"But these linking website in return giving you link with no follow attribute then its no use to do that. No one will get benefit."

I think the point is that the USERS will benefit.

"4. I think the majority of spam reports get dealt with in an automated fashion and the no-follows will cause the report to be dismissed."

Agreed.
2:36 pm on Jul 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Related question: if you had several sites that aren't in the same niche, but do target the same audience, and you wanted to do a little sedate sidebar or footer link with nofollow to the other sites, just to alert your audience that potentially interesting other sites are out there, do you think Google is okay with that?

Just curious, because one of the things that's always frustrated me (as a traditional marketer) about SEO is that it forces you to target a niche as opposed to a demographic. If you have a site on fly fishing and a site on beer, those two are an obvious natural match to a marketer, but SEO doesn't look at it that way.
3:45 pm on Jul 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Well, I don't know about the connection with beer. How about a site about fly fishing and a site about kayaks? That's a demographic that makes sense to interlink.

A path I'm taking is to peel off a demographic from a popular site and bring them over to the new and unrelated site. I won't interlink between the two sites in a general manner. But I will refer specific site visitors from highly specific pages on the old site to the new and different site. The idea is to filter site visitors to those most likely to click through and enjoy the other unrelated site that appeals to a demographic subgroup within the older site.

So I suppose something like that might work with your fly angler/beer drinking scenario; distill the beer drinker sub-group from the fly angler general group through specific linking but not through general linking.
4:43 pm on Jul 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



<snarky>
I thought fly anglers drank white wine and bait casters drank beer.
</snarky>
5:47 am on Jul 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Martinibuster, my example was meant to be tongue in cheek. I should never try to be tongue in cheek after a full day of rearranging furniture :D

What I'm saying is, let's assume you've done your research and know that there's a single demographic out there that's wild about both candy and frogs. And hey, you happen to have two sites, one on each topic. Your readers would probably appreciate something like a sidebar link (and I'm speaking from visitor experience here), but how will Google interpret it?
 

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