Is Cross-Linking a Bad Strategy According to Google?

Aug 3, 2007 • 9:53 am | comments (10) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Yesterday, the Google Webmaster Blog came out with a post that said that cross-linking is not encouraged between many sites.

Before you begin cross-linking sites, consider the user's perspective and whether the crosslinks provide value. If the sites are related in business -- e.g., an auto manual site linking to an auto parts retail site, then it could make sense -- the links are organic and useful. Cross-linking between dozens or hundreds of sites, however, probably doesn't provide value, and I would not recommend it.

But WebmasterWorld members are dissatisfied with this. Blog networks, for example, utilize this practice and get instant rankings. So why stop?

Quadrille puts it quite nicely. There's still no value to the user with this strategy.

As you say, every new blog instantly crosslinks with many others, regardless of race, color, creed, quality or relevance. So, if we're honest, the value of each link to a visitor is close to zero - it's a lottery, frankly, rather than a recommendation.

If the site is not relevant, Miamacs says, there is little weight placed on the link because Google recognizes themes of websites.

A site not relevant to the anchor text it links out with, doesn't pass much power.

This really isn't anything new. Back in 2005, Google took the same approach. If there's no value added, Google doesn't rank those links, so why bother cross-linking?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Michael Martinez

08/03/2007 03:35 pm

"If there's no value added, Google doesn't rank those links, so why bother cross-linking?" Because Google DOES value those links (and lets them help rank). They wouldn't be making such a fuss if they could really filter out the links themselves. Once again Google is failing to take responsibility for the problem that Google created in Google's index: if they stop allowing links to pass anchor text, they will solve their problem.


08/03/2007 04:11 pm

It really annoys me when I see sites like putting up links in their footer to, and These sites are all owned by ebay, but they are not relevant to paypal at all. This is almost the same as selling text links; however, in this case PayPal is giving away free links to their own non-relevant network of sites. I know this was intentionally done for purposes of passing PR, because if it were for branding purposes they would've used nofollow's and they would have opted for banner ads to cross market their products instead of footer links. Tactics like this allow the big sites to get bigger, and the small sites to get smaller.


08/03/2007 04:34 pm

A newbie webmaster knows that 1) links help his/her sites get spidered and appear in search results 2) links increase toolbar PageRank .. so he cross-links everything he owns. It can sometimes take a few years to grasp the concept of "editorial links." You will probably never understand it if you only have experience running a commercial site. I recently worked with a client who owns a 7-years-old website and asked me "what are editorial links?" Almost all his IBLs are receps or paid for; inspite of that, not surprisingly, he's been ranking high until recently for competitive terms. Now, if Google made it clear to site owners why their sites lost rankings, site owners would clean up their act. If Paris Hilton gets sent to jail for a few weeks, she doesn't sit in jail and wonder "why the hell did I get sent to jail?" She knows she's there because of DUI. But out on the web, people often don't have a clue. So they keep on with their spammy tactics.


08/03/2007 04:48 pm

You can definitely get away with cross linking with Google, but when it come to yahoo... they seem to monitor cross linking a lot. If you own 20 sites and you link them with each other, yahoo will drop 19 and just crawl one site.

Michael Martinez

08/03/2007 08:48 pm

"I know this was intentionally done for purposes of passing PR, because if it were for branding purposes they would've used nofollow's..." Sorry, but that makes no sense. Paypal and eBay are free to link to whichever sites they wish. No one is under any moral or legal obligation to NOFOLLOW links to their own properties. Such links ARE editorial links. Google is in no position to determine for the rest of us what constitutes an editorial link. All Google is in a position to do is manage its own index.


08/05/2007 10:55 am

This is some interesting post-commentary. I initially thought I'd comment on the SER post, but I'm now tempted to get into a debate with Michael Martinez... but I won't. I am glad, though, that despite that SER bothered to cover this, at least the author here mentions that this topic was covered back in 2005. I'm surprised it warrants a mention these days, but since there are several people commenting on the topic I guess the topic still raises some debate (i.e. Google hasn't algorithmically cured the problem yet).

Amie Nguyen

09/20/2007 10:24 pm

I am curious about the comment on cross linking and Yahoo. Does anyone have more information on the validity of this?


03/30/2008 04:44 pm

It´s interesting, but I think that google sometimes have wrong actions.


06/04/2008 06:04 pm

Cross-linking with sites that have nothing to do with the content on your site still helps with pagerank. However, it would even be better if you could cross-link with sites that share the same niche market as you. Try words like cross-marketing marketplace to find places to find good cross-linking partners.

pariuri sportive

02/01/2010 10:27 am

I think that cross linking is a bad ideea

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