Link to your own websiteFor years the majority of people with several websites have linked them together in order to share their traffic and gain SEO benefits. However the search landscape keeps on changing, and what worked in the past doesn’t always work now. If you do the wrong thing then you can see your site take a huge tumble in the rankings. Because of all the continuing big changes to the search engines, you really do need to ask yourself – Should I link to my own websites?

 

Google seem to be focussing on rewarding marketing and link building efforts that aim to gain traffic rather than to increase search engines rankings. I don’t know how they are achieving this, no one does for sure, but it is something Matt Cutts, head of Google spam, talks about consistently. Matt Cutts clearly advocates that you should focus on gaining traffic to your websites, not focus on gaining rankings. Then the rankings will come.

 

This does make sense. If you have no traffic to your website, then how can anyone link to and share your content? You must get people on your site, then Google can watch how they react to your content.

 

 

Sites in the same niche

If you run a website about meditation and you also run a site about relaxation, then it would be prudent to link them together. You would want to pass traffic from one to the other as they are quite closely related. A person interested in relaxation may also want to see your content about meditation, and vice versa. This is normal and natural.

 

However if you run a website about guitar playing and another about insurance, then it is a different thing. The vast majority of your visitors will not be interested in going from one site to the other. They are totally unrelated. Google know this and because they are so unrelated, they are likely to view these links as being put there purely for SEO purposes, rather than traffic sharing, and will ignore any SEO benefits they pass.

 

If you want to pass on SEO benfits by linking to your own websites, only link to your websites that are related to each other. Here’s what Matt Cutts himself says about this issue.

 

 


So it would seem that it is OK to link to your own websites as long as they are relevant and its not done hundreds of times. If you have 3 DIY websites, then it is OK to link them together.

 

 

What about sites in similar but different niches?

However what is not answered is whether a website in a similar but different niche can be linked to one of your others. So could I link my DIY site to my money saving tips site? Some DIYers will be interested in saving money, but it is a very different niche. Perhaps, but who knows how related it needs to be? I would guess that this would be fine, but we can’t be sure.

 

I think, but this is only guessing, that Google will be cool unless the sites are totally unrelated. Linking your maths tuition site to a viagra site probably wouldn’t sit too well. I think the trick here is to honestly ask whether the people on your site would genuinely be interested in the content of your other site. If they are not, then you are best not linking them together. Take SEO out of the equation for now – it’s not good to waste your visitors time trying to herd them to another one of your websites that they will clearly have no interest in. They will not buy anything. They will just quickly leave, never to return.

 

I would say, when linking to your own sites, forget about SEO and decided whether it is worth bothering people with a link to another one of your websites. Will most of them be wasting their time if they click on it? Will they even bother to click on it? If you feel it is relevant then fine. If not, then Google may interpret this as you attempting to abuse your position of being able to give yourself links. If you are not sure then you could add the link and nofollow it. If you find that your visitors are indeed clicking on the link and finding it useful, then you can always make it dofollow in the future. It should prove that your sites are closely enough related if people are following the link and are actually engaging when there.

 

 

Please stay in touch and sign up to my newsletter for occasional snippets of information.

 

 

Jon Rhodes

Thanks for reading! I am a clinical hypnotherapist, musician, author, and internet marketer. I would love to stay in touch. Please sign up for instant delivery of my latest blog posts via email. UPDATE! For a limited time I will give you a free copy of my book (worth $29) Alternative Guide To Affilite Marketing - Please click here to sign up.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle PlusYouTube

11 Responses to Should You Link To Your Own Websites?

  1. Andrea Hypno says:

    Well, with the neverending G updates what’s fine today can be totally wrong tomorrow, depending how they come out of bed. And if for example someone uses Adsense or webmaster’s tools I guess they can easily see if one owner links his own websites together.

    Since it’s better to be safe than sorry I guess that the best bet is not linking at all. As you rightly say it’s fine if websites are related between them, but G could change its mind tomorrow and drop all of them.

    Happy weekend!

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      Thanks for your regular Friday visit Andrea! Google will have no problem identifying which sites you have an interest in. You can bet that if you have Adsense on your sites then Google will note the sites that all share that account. Most people also add their sites on their Google plus account. Google may also monitor your behaviour towards some sites to work out you have an interest in them. If you use Google Chrome then they can analyse almost everything you do when surfing!

      I think Matt Cutts was sufficiently categorical about it being fine linking a hand full of your own related sites together. I would personally be comfortable with doing this. You can always remove these links should this change in the future for any reason. How does everyone else feel about this?

      Have a great weekend too!

  2. Ethan Pepper says:

    I see nothing wrong with linking to your own sites as long as they are related. Google probably wouldn’t object unless it was done in way that totally games the system like buying expired high PR domains and linking them to your money site.

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      That’s a good point Ethan. Google probably wouldn’t like people buying websites just to link to their own. However could they detect this? For instance what if you made a genuine purchase of a website that was in your niche because you saw its potential. Shouldn’t you then be able to link it to a few of your other sites? I would suspect that Google would let this pass, unless you took it too far and did it with hundreds of sites.

  3. Iain says:

    It all boils down to relevancy. If in the context it makes sense to link to similar content whether it’s your own site or not, I think it is ok.

    The main thing is that what you link to has to be relevant. It needs to have some similarity to what you are writing about.

    For example, If you are writing about insurance for animals, then it may make sense to link to a dog site.

    Whether Google will penalize that or not is hard to say.

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      Yeh its difficult to predict with any certainty what Google’s response would be. The million dollar question is if Google sees you are linking to your own irrelevant sites, will they just disavow the link, or will they penalise your site? If they merely disavow the links then you are kind of in a no lose position. Either your link passes the SEO benefits, or Google removes these benefits. You can link to all your sites and stand to gain or stay the same. However if there is the risk of a penalty then you have to be careful as you could lose out.

      I suspect that you would only get the value of the link removed and not actually suffer a penalty (unless you take it really far with hundreds or thousands of link). The reason I suspect this is because Matt Cutts commented in a video that if you have a link from a site that is found selling links then no penalty will be given, just the value of the link removed. You can see the video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGQRMkiIA2U

      So my guess, and it’s only a guess, is that you are free to link to any of your own sites as long as you don’t push it with too many. You may get some of them devalued, but the link still remains if you feel your visitors might want to visit.

  4. When you think you are doing the right thing, the opposite sometimes happens! I set up 2 websites, one was Tinyhouseuk and back linked it as much as poss, blogged with links to it and promoted it. The other, Tinyoffice.co.uk… I did nothing! Tinyhouse is a PR 0/10 still and Tinyoffice is a 3/10! Hence, dont try to be a SEO wiz unless you know what you are doing like Jon clearly does.

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      Hi Mark. There are so many factors that Google now look at, that it is very difficult to definitely pinpoint the problem. I had a quick look at the link profiles of your 2 sites. Yes there are more links pointing to Tinyhouseuk. One thing I noticed about the links pointing to this site was that more than half of them were “no follow” so they don’t pass any SEO benefits.

      Also because it has a very high amount of no follow links, it could be that this has signalled to Google that it is an unnatural looking link pattern. This is just speculation as I have never heard of this happening before. I wouldn’t go and remove all those nofollow links. Perhaps just try to build some more dofollow links.

      I have noticed that on both sites the links are not from a wide variety of sources. Just a handful of different sites. Try and diversify your link profile a bit more and get some links from different sources. Maybe write a few guest posts for quality blogs, write some content on your own sites and submit them to social sites, submit to a handful of quality directories etc. Check out this post for some more link building ideas http://www.affiliatehelp.info/2011/08/09/link-building-strategies

      You don’t need to go crazy on a link building mission, but a few more won’t hurt. Also try and think about what search terms you want to rank for. Include them in the text of your site a couple of times and get a handful of these anchor texts pointing to your site from external sites. This will let Google know what search terms are relevant to your site. I hope this helps!

  5. John Gibb says:

    hey Jon,

    Non relevant one-way linking and inter-linking was done from day one, and still is. News sites can link to any site, as per their category, they’re general in nature, isn’t it?

    If I (or a friend of mine) own a site on “guitar playing” (as in your example) and another about “insurance”… I can have a guest post on the guitar site on personal item insurance – benefits and pricing, etc.

    You can inter-link two unrelated topics and create something new. I do it all the time, and I’m sure Google won’t mind. This has been done, and will always be.

    Any input on this?

    • Jon Rhodes says:

      Hi John. Good point, you can usually find some sort of connection between two topics. Yes I have also done this type of thing. I remember writing about how hypnotherapy can help teeth as it can help stop the habit of teeth grinding. I put this on a site about teeth.

      I cannot see Google having a problem with this. I think there is a difference between doing this, and just putting a site wide link with anchor text. Ultimately with this tactic the page you are linking from is relevant even if the site overall isn’t.

Leave a Reply

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.