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Extensive linking of 2 of my sites - any risks?

Will linking may pages on my two sites hurt search engine rankings?

12:45 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I have two web sites. One sells original items, and the other sells reproductions of the items. When I have sold one of the original items, I would like to place a link on that item's page to the corresponding item on our reproductions site saying "we have sold that but you can but a reproduction of it here".

I want to do this to increase sales of our reproductions rather than to affect search engine rankings.

Doing this I could link about a thousand pages on the sites.

Is there any risk I could damage the search engine rankings of either site? I am especially converned with my original art site, as that ranks in the top 3 in my targeted key words in Google and has PR5.

Thanks for your advice

8:52 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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

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If you are not doing it to influence search rankings then no follow it. As far as interlinking networks of sites, a lot of sites aren't penalized for it when it makes sense for the users and the individual sites have their own individual inbound links. The one time I recall encountering a network of sites taken down for interlinking is a network of hundreds and hundreds of sites interlinking with few unique inbounds to each one. This was around five years ago.












11:57 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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If the link is two way in all the cases, then you should definitely use a no follow attribute.
11:16 pm on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the advice guys. I will use the nofollow tag as you suggest.
7:43 pm on May 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I had a good look through those threads and have spoken to countless webmasters about the subject. The one thing that hit's me with regards to interlinking sites generally , is that there is a lot of contradictory conclusions and areas of uncertainty.

The only certainty is the use of no follows.

But if we all applied no follows , the SERP's would be adversely limited. So on the one hand I'd encourage site owners to interlink as an SEO tactic and legitimate piece of usability, but on the other hand understand the risks.

So I'd like to raise my confusion in this by adding a few references from Googlers :

Adam Lasnik - Internal / cross-domain linking... don't go hog wild. There's no magic threshold. However, penalties for country-domain cross-linking isn't something I have seen." [webmasterworld.com...]

So one thing's for certain , it's uncertain what to do and how much to do. More clarity needed perhaps ?

John Mu - [groups.google.com...] - I personally don't see anything wrong with linking to other, related sites that the same person owns, as long as it is done within reason. Cross-linking a few related and relevant sites in the footer
is generally not a problem, but if you have too many sites, I would recommend linking to one main "about us" page where you list them. Be reasonable :-)

PPS Somewhat related, there's a practical reason why it often does not make sense to operate too many related sites: how are you ever going to maintain them, keep them relevant and filled with unique and compelling content? Just keeping duplicates (or near duplicates) is not going to cut it in the long run. Our Webmaster Guidelines touch
the subject at [google.com...]
and [google.com...]

and then there are a few quotes from Matt Cutts :

Regarding interlinking between sites, he said itís fine to interlink if the sites are related, but he said not to overdo it. When pressed, he said over 10 sites interlinking might be asking for trouble. He said it would also be ok to break out your network of sites and interlink sites within a certain category. The specific example was a network of local sites, and Matt said you could either have a single portal with links to all the geo-portals, or maybe interlink between all the various plumbing sites.

He then went on to say

sites donít automatically get pagerank just for existing. They need backlinks to get pagerank. Also, he said if you have a network of sites and add a bunch more sites, itís like spreading the same amount of peanut butter across a bigger piece of bread. In that case, each site in the network gets a smaller share of the pagerank distribution. [seo.com...] ....

So where's the specific's in all of this ?

Actually I'm sceptical that there is any and I also believe that the evaluation process of the algorithm is very sophisticated , which is probably what I'm alluding to in the above.

While our good friends at Google can pass comment in general terms , which probably relates to more simplistic models , as soon as you put scale into this the situation becomes less predictable.

Interlinking [ and normal linking patterns for that matter ] that rapidly alter are likely to be noticed and probably discounted.

The worry is , that even if you experiment and even if you legitimately believe and see that interlinking is working for your users and that you are getting SEO benefit , things can suddenly go " pear shaped " when Google changes it's algorithmn , a flag occurs for that sudden change or a competitor reports to Google that you are using manipulative practices and an editor uses their interpretation of internal guidelines that sends your sites into a penalty.

So ..... interlink at you peril . If it works .... good luck. If you want certainty ...... well i don't think there is any.

I'd be interested to hear any more thoughts on this.

[edited by: Whitey at 7:59 pm (utc) on May 22, 2009]


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