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    Doc
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    Office argument about linking our sites


    We are arguing at the office over a decision about linking our sites. If we could hear some experienced opinions on this we would really appreciate it. Our websites are very important to us and are performing well. We don't want a ban or penalty from google as google is our main source of customers. At present the sites do not link to one another.

    We have four websites.

    1) Our main site - A retail site - lets say it sells widgets - a discount seller
    2) Education site - everything that you want to know about widgets
    3) Retail site for custom widgets - high end widgets
    4) Retail site for another product but anyone who buys it might also want a widget (and widget customers might like this site too)

    We want to have links between all of these sites in the following configuration...

    Retail site (about 500 pages) will link to all three other sites (some folks might want education, some might want custom widgets, some might want related products. We would have one link to education site on almost every page - these links will go to a closely related top category page on the education site. Links to the other two sites would connect to the homepage.

    Education site (about 300 pages and growing) will link only to the main retail site. Probably one link per page to the most closely related product page on the retail site.

    Custom site (20 pages) will have one link on every page to the homepage of the main retail site.

    Related product site (10 pages) will have one link on every page to the homepage of the main retail site.

    Our question is - Is this too much linking between our sites? We feel that we are linking our properties in a logical way for our users. Is this linking too much? Will google see three sites all linking to a large main site and feel that we have contrived a linking scheme?

    One more question - our education site is growing and moving upwards in the google search results. Is it possible for the same owner to have multiple sites in the top ten for a keyword or will goolge see this ownership and allow only one?

    Thank you very much for reading this and any reply that you can offer.
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    K_D
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    By reciprocally linking the retail and educational sites you significantly hurt your chances of both of them ranking well on the same search term.
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    Doc
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    Thanks K_D,

    Is our ownership of both sites the reason? I would think that sites at the top have really good content respect one another and link to relevant content on the other site reciprocally?
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    K_D,

    Can you give some backup for this statement. I have not seen nor heard of this type of penalty before. In fact, I have heard the opposite. When top sites link to each other it strengthens their theming and improves the placement for both.
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    It makes just as much sense (if not more) to link to your own sites as it does to link to external sites.
    Google doesn't care if you own 1,000 sites on the search results so long as they are all different sites without duplicate content and you aren't doing anything that violates their TOS, like spamming, etc.
    Heck, I've seen several serps where different pages of the same site take up 2-3 of the top results.
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    K D - I am not sure where you got this information from. It does not seem correct to me ??:
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    Doc
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    We run adwords and adsense on these sites so google will be able to tell if they want to that they are owned by the same company. These also have identical whois information and run on the same server with separate IP addresses.

    We don't want to damage our business by linking these sites. Instead we want to show the affiliation of these properties, share their traffic. The linkage would also have a positive effect, unless google limits same company sites on a given keyword. We hope to hear from others who have done this openly without hiding the affiliation of the sites and still held excellent results in google. At this time our retail site does well in the ranking and our educational site is climbing. Will we compromize our good results by linking them?
    Last edited by Doc; Jul 13th, 2004 at 06:00 AM.
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    Since the linking is beneficial for your visitors, by all means do it! I have similarly themed separate sites like you do. They all link to each other, and all enjoy high SERPS (top 10) for identical keywords.
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    Originally Posted by Doc
    We run adwords and adsense on these sites so google will be able to tell if they want to that they are owned by the same company. These also have identical whois information and run on the same server with separate IP addresses.

    ?
    I do not think adsens account, whois information matter (to find link basis) for google result, yes IP address, probably...
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    Talking


    There won't be much harm if you interlink the websites.

    There are so many websites that do so without any harm and still enjoy good rankings(like Whitesell's site).
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    I agree, so long as the links aren't spammy...

    The worst google will do (and its never personally happened to me) is negate the effects of the links because of the affiliated sites, and if this happens your only back we're you started from.
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    Question


    Originally Posted by Breesy
    I agree, so long as the links aren't spammy...

    The worst google will do (and its never personally happened to me) is negate the effects of the links because of the affiliated sites, and if this happens your only back we're you started from.
    How do you classify the links as spammy?
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    K_D
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    With one link from each page of the educational and retail sites to its opposite, you seriously risk one of them being knocked down in the SERPs on the terms the other ranks well for.
    I say this based on post-Florida rankings for two sites I managed which had a similar arrangement. When one jumps to #4-5 in the SERP, the other drops into the 70s, occasionally they reverse position.

    During the 2004 NYC SES conference the Mike Grehan confirmed observing the same (during the organic listing forum, I believe), although he couldn't finger the exact trigger.

    The sites containing similar content may be a contributing factor.

    If you do try it, please follow up with the results.

    KD
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    *Will google see three sites all linking to a large main site and feel that we have contrived a linking scheme?*

    Not impossible IMO, especially if they get returned for the same search query, as KD suggested.

    In the LocalRank patent G introduces the concept of "affiliation", and excludes such pages from the calculations.
    The primary factor is that the pages are returned for a particular search query, so it's plausible SERPS get a closer inspection.

    This would include having a look at their linkage pattern, which may not be good news for the linking scheme you're contemplating....
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    Does this explain filters and sandboxes?


    I think that this is a very important topic. If this idea is true, then interlinking among sites might explain why so many seem to be "missing" or "filtered" on certain keywords - as K_D points out. Maybe this can explain a lot of the SEO mysteries we currently face.

    We need to get a large number of people to offer support or contrary ideas on this.

    I am not seeing this on my own sites - but I don't have this content page to content page linking structure in place.

    However, I DO have this linking structure between subdomains and my main site. Before FLorida my subdomains would frequently show on the same SERPs page as my main site - but this no longer happens. This left me with one subdomain that still functions as a sales tool, but does not show in google. So, I can support this idea at least between subdomains and a main site.
    Last edited by EGOL; Jul 13th, 2004 at 10:33 AM.
    * "It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain
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