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Is Linking Together a Small Network of Sites Okay?

Llink together network of sites

9:19 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I run about 7 websites (with plans for maybe 1 more). All of my websites contain original and quality content that I write myself, and I only do whitehat SEO. All get fairly decent rankings in the SERPS too (except for my newest ones).

Anyway, I have long since had a sidebar area called "My other websites" in which I have links to all 7 sites (with the anchor text of the site's domain and target keyword). I have this on each website I own

Since it is on the sidebar, it naturally shows up on everypage of every site I own. I figure this is okay since I am being upfront, and some users may be interested in my other sites (even if unrelated to the website from which they are referred).

Is this okay, even if some of the sites are unrelated? I have seen a Matt Cutts video where he says as long as it us under 10 websites linked together you should be okay.

Or is this a bad idea and could hurt my SEO?

I noticed other bigger sites do something similar (hotels, lifehacker, etc.)

Again, I do things whitehat only, and try to really build useful websites.

11:00 am on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I also have questions about this topic so I'm bumping this for more discussion. If you owned a large site that sold every type of widget, is it unethical and punishable in Google's eyes to launch a bunch of sites to provide assistance to the main site?

For instance, if my site was allwidgets.com, would Google get ticked off if I launched bluewidgets.com, #*$!, and widgettips.com and provided Blogrolls back to allwidgets.com?

Or do they expect businesses to do this?
4:01 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't worry too much about the SEO or search engine implications. If it's good for your users to see your "other web sites", then it may be okay. But if you don't expect your website visitors to be interested in any of those links, then I would not link to them.

I have a feeling that Google is watching where users click and which links get clicked. So, it only is going to help you if you link out to sites that are helpful for your users.
4:17 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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You might also be interested in this discussion in the google seo forum:


Hope this helps.
4:39 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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even if unrelated to the website from which they are referred

Would a visitor to LifeHacker be interested in visiting Gawker or Gizmodo? It's probable. All those sites are time-wasters, it's what they have in common.

The answer to some questions appear clearer when viewed within the context of a reinclusion request. Linking together a modest amount of sites because they are related is easier to defend in a reinclusion request than linking completely unrelated sites.
5:52 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm guessing that if the intent is clearly to boost the individual websites being interlinked, that's a bad thing. Of course, the intent would become ever more apparent as A) the number of sites participating in the link network goes up and B) the relatedness of the individual sites seems increasingly "fuzzy".

Will a site that has crossed the threshold of unacceptable practices even know that they have done so (ejection from the index or a notification from google), or will they simply see a drop in rankings that they cannot discern an answer for, perhaps blaming it on panda or whatever update is in the works at the given moment.
8:20 pm on Apr 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Can you guys think of examples where the mother site has lots of smaller sites that link back to you in a 1-way scheme?
2:33 pm on Apr 26, 2011 (gmt 0)


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Instead of multitudinous/redundant cross/inter-linking why not link the sites, with a reasonable explanation (however short, i.e., anchor text) to one central or "parent" site - which site not only explains the relationships and unique value of each site but ALSO "the mission" of each site AND adds some additional value to the visitor/user?

One has to wonder if there's an algorithmic ability to discern the value of "link sending traffic to a new/related site" versus a link that expresses an unbiased "authority judgment" about that site?

My guess is that your linking won't add any ranking boost but, done right, at least won't evoke/jusitify a ranking penalty. That is, it's one thing to be a "media company" (be the parent of independent related sites that hold some independent value) and it's another to attempt to deploy a tactic that is as old as (older than, in fact) Google.

This all assumes an intelligent algo . . and an intelligent set of guidelines that are applied in the case of a "hand review" . . and competitors that won't target your network for attack-by-grievance . .

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