Should I Interlink My Own Blogs and Sites?

By Daniel Scocco

questions and answersThis post is part of the weekly Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.

Ron Merters asked:

I have several sites. They are “somewhat” related – they are all related to technology, but different technology. (like one is cars, the other is washing machines, let’s say – related, but not really).

I have added a footer on each site with links to the others on my network. Is that wise? Will I get punished by google who might consider this a link exchange?

Interesting question, especially because I have to deal with it with my own blogs and websites, too.

First of all let’s check what Google itself says about interlinking and link exchanges.

Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity. However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

  • Links intended to manipulate PageRank
  • Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web
  • Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)
  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank

As you can see, Google does not mention interlinking between websites that have the same owner or that belong to a network. The problem is when you “build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites.”

In my opinion, therefore, cross linking your own sites is OK as long as those links are placed for the purpose of helping your readers to find more content that they might like, and not exclusively to increase the overall PageRank of your online properties.

That being said, I would add an extra layer of caution on the interlinking process, even if done with legitimate purposes in mind. Why? Because often times it will be a computer and not a person judging if your interlinking is legitimate or not. That is, it will be a Google bot taking a look at your sites and determining if the cross linking is suspicious or not. If for some reason the computer finds that your links are suspicious, you might get a search filter penalty without knowing it.

So what is this extra layer of caution? Using the nofollow attribute on the links that connect your own sites. If you are interlinking them for the purpose of letting your readers know about your other properties, after all, nofollowed links should get the job done anyway. The only difference is that they won’t pass link juice.

That is what I use on my “Daily” network on all my sites that are interlinked. Most large blog networks are also nofollowing their network links these days, too.

So my answer is: In theory it is OK to interlink your sites and blogs as long as you are doing it with the purpose of adding value to your users and readers (by letting them know about your other content that they could also be interested in). If you want to be 100% safe, however, it would be a good idea to add a nofollow attribute to your cross links.



Share

24 Responses to “Should I Interlink My Own Blogs and Sites?”

  • ravi

    Great question, I often wonder that myself. Even linking to other pages within your own website. Does it count as a good link? I’ve noticed when researching my competitors on Google that a majority of their links come from within their own site, so they must count for something.

    I own three different swimming pool informational websites and they all link together in more than one way!

  • Web Address

    Yes any link is counted as link, more over if they are related, its great!
    but if all the domains are on the same IP then it should be at a minimal, so that the domain should not get flagged with Google for unethical link building..

  • David Radford

    I am working on a website that links out to versions of the websites in different languages. The link is by means of a series of flags which appears on every page. Would it be a good idea to add nofollow to these links?
    Thanks for the post!

  • medyum

    I have a small blog network, and our sites have headers linking to all of the other sites. This was done to encourage readers to visit our other sites, but our pagerank was removed, and we only got it back once we added nofollows to the links in question. Now I add nofollow to everything because I’m paranoid about penalties – as you say, even if you’re linking for a genuine reason, it’s not a human being who makes the decision, and you can end up being penalised.

    Thank You

  • SEO Analyst – Google Lover – Pravish Thomas

    The QUESTION was Interlinking Own Blogs and sites.

    Its very simple – Blog is used for updates, news, connecting relevant bloggers etc. So in basic if u are connecting ur blog with ur
    site its much better becz its like a bridge where u are providing much more valid information and updates.

    Interlinking with relevant category is much better than an unrelevant category. Example Business – IT ( Software, Hardware ) So here Software sub category and Hardware can be connected so that relevant traffic flows through the channels ( links). Google would love if sites and blogs link to there respective categories.

    Just think google’s work would be much easier when u link relevant data which enables Google to provide accurate data results in google search. So its all about relevant data which should be kept in mind.

    So don’t be afraid of cross linking only if the links which are paid links(buy,sell links) should be carefull otherwise cross links helps users to find relevant data.

    Note: Yes Excess of anything should be avoided – Just be Natural

    Thanx

  • Gold Coast Golf

    This has always been a topic that fuels controversy.

    If you are linking out to a lot of references/other sites/your sites you really should always use nofollow otherwise search engines can see you as a link farm.

  • Mario Andrade

    Great question.
    On one hand nor a person or a bot will be able to determine that this site is actually of the same owner.

    There is the micro format rel=”me” which says it’s to link from a page about a person to another page about another person.
    Since blogs are generally personal, and people who write on it normally write about something they like I consider the rel=”me” can be used instead of the rel=”nofollow”.

    On the other hand re=”nofollow” would solve any problems that might happen in the future.

    With this said I can advice footer links will not work that well

  • phunchu

    Hey thank you for the information. The inter-linking among sites have always confused me. I am afraid of being penalized and yet want to flaunt it in my sites. But this article have sure helped me and I’d follow ur instructions for sure.

  • Amber

    I have a small blog network, and our sites have headers linking to all of the other sites. This was done to encourage readers to visit our other sites, but our pagerank was removed, and we only got it back once we added nofollows to the links in question. Now I add nofollow to everything because I’m paranoid about penalties – as you say, even if you’re linking for a genuine reason, it’s not a human being who makes the decision, and you can end up being penalised.

  • Jan Fellyre

    Hi,

    This is truly an awesome post… Thanks a lot for sharing the information… This has certainly helped me to get more traffic…

  • Chris

    All the huge networks do it, and it hasn’t affected their PR. Look at Gawker (Engadget) and AOL (Gizmodo) for example. All of their sites include non-nofollow links to their whole network, regardless of relevance. Kinda pisses me off, actually. I’d say go for it.

  • Adam

    What if your sites are wordpress blogs, likeminded, and the sites you own appear in each sites’ blog roll in addition to other blogs? No problem there, right?

  • Tom – StandOutBlogger.com

    The only reason I would interlink my blogs is if one of them had content that I thought the readers of the other would enjoy – then I would link to the individual post.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Ikki, that is called three way linking, and search engines detect them easily too.

    @Arun, I think that is OK too, but I would use nofollow even with that setup.

    @Rahul, sidebar links are just sidebar links. I have plenty of them here 🙂 .

    What is against Google’s policy are paid links that are used to pass link juice.

  • Rich

    This should explain why my friend suggested to me that I should not link my 2-week old blog to my older blogs.

    I suppose this action by Google only shows that link building should be taken care of. We must admit that there are a lot of “genius” around who abuse the system.

  • Bruce > The Big Desk

    I try and stay away from cross-linking. Not sidebar or Network type links. I like each project to be independent. I do however, from time to time, mention other work I do within a Post if I think the readers will find it interesting. I think this carries more weight anyway and the anchor can be altered from mention to mention (never over do it though). Google continues to grow it’s massive brain over time, as things move forward natural linking and interactive/resource content will be all that counts.

  • Donald Ballard

    I sure appreciated this “question and answer” post because I have always worried about that, since I have several sites that I link to, that are my own.

  • Tiago Jaime Machado

    please, use microformats!

  • Rahul Jadhav

    Hey isnt selling sidebar links on a blog against Google’s rules due to which we can get a PR penalty??

  • Matt Gio

    Great question, I often wonder that myself. Even linking to other pages within your own website. Does it count as a good link? I’ve noticed when researching my competitors on Google that a majority of their links come from within their own site, so they must count for something.

    I own three different swimming pool informational websites and they all link together in more than one way!

  • how to make a blog

    Great response Daniel! Very detailed and accurate…guys lets stop going around the subject…Daniel covered it all and answered all your questions – the idea is to provide the links if you feel its necessary and would add value to your site – now if you are linking for page rank or seo purpose alone then you’ll probably end up penalized.

  • Arun Basil Lal

    Daniel, What if we make a page on every website with the title “My Network” and link to all network websites without nofollow.

    Besides each link i will add a small description of what the site is about, so when the bot sees the page, it will consider them as legitimate links.

    What do you say.?

  • Ikki at Blogging Blog

    Another good approach to solve this are one-way links. For example, let’s say we have 3 sites: A, B and C. To avoid any penalization, we could link A to B, and then B to C, and finally C to A.

    What do you think?

  • Ron Mertens

    Daniel,

    Thanks for answering my question! That’s great info. I think I agree with you (I actually removed those footer links, waiting for your answer, and suspecting it might be worth it). After all most footer links will never be seen by visitors, so the only purpose is really the link itself which is not so wise like you point out.

    Thanks!

    Ron (Mertens, by the way, not Merters)

Comments are closed.