Google's Matt Cutts: Be Careful Linking Sister Country Sites Together When...

Mar 27, 2014 • 8:37 am | comments (26) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Matt CuttsIn yesterday's video from Google's Matt Cutts, Matt addressed a pretty straight forward question we've touched on here a few times about how to inform Google of multiple ccTLDs for your business.

The real answer is to use a href lang and that is the best approach.

But Matt gets into linking between your ccTLDs. Here are some points on that:

(1) It is okay to link to all your ccTLDs but don't over do it in the footer.
(2) At max link to only 4 or 5 ccTLDs in your footer
(3) It's best to set up a country landing page and link to them that way on that page.

Now, where it is not okay or you should be considered about linking country sites together is when you are not going the ccTLD approach. So if you have and and and so on. When you go that approach, Matt says be careful and probably do not link to all of them like that.

He gets to that point about 3 minutes and 20 seconds in. Watch it yourself, here is the video.

Forum discussion at Google+ and Twitter.

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Do as I say not as I do...

03/27/2014 01:29 pm

Why would it make any difference? Apart from google wielding yet more power, why would it actually make a difference linking and and together?

Abdul Wahab

03/27/2014 01:30 pm

Does it mean we should not even link sister sister sites with each other?

Jon Hogg

03/27/2014 01:34 pm

You'd link them together if Google didn't exist, so why do it differently if it's legit?

PM Fiorini

03/27/2014 01:39 pm

I agree. This is ridiculous.


03/27/2014 01:54 pm

FFS! Come on now, this is ridiculous. " At max link to only 4 or 5 ccTLDs in your footer" I am getting angrier every day with Cutts, who fails to realise that every link is not intended to "manipulate". The fact of the matter is that Google have a flawed algorithm, and because it is outdated and flawed they now dictate how brands behave online on within their own websites.


03/27/2014 02:07 pm

Now, where it is not okay or you should be considered about linking country sites together is when you are not going the ccTLD approach. So if you havebluewidgetsincanada and bluewidgetsinsweden and bluewidgetsinaustralia so on. When you go that approach, Matt says be careful and probably do not link to all of them like that.

Stuart David

03/27/2014 02:10 pm

This Disqus spam is getting ridiculous now

Ann Smarty

03/27/2014 04:23 pm

Talk about simply linking naturally :)


03/27/2014 05:16 pm

"...that could look pretty spammy to users." There is obviously no hard limit in Google's algorithm concerning where or how many links to country-specific versions of your website can exist before some kind of alarm gets tripped. If you are doing something that is legitimately useful to users, don't sweat it. Realistically, how many users will find themselves on the Turkish version of your website when they really need the Australian version? And is a huge list of footer links the best way to redirect this poor, lost user?

Dillip K Mohanty

03/27/2014 05:31 pm

Sometimes it feels like they are framing guidelines according to the limitation of their algorithm.


03/27/2014 06:07 pm

I think that, and are perhaps a wrong type of examples and can be misleading (note that Matt does not mention these domain names on his video). My take on what Matt is meaning when talking about non-acceptable inter-domain linking is something like,, etc.

PM Fiorini

03/27/2014 06:29 pm

No, according to Google, this may be "spam" - LOL!


03/27/2014 08:40 pm

If you are concerned...nofollow those links. It's not like you are using those links to manipulate rankings, right? Problem solved, you're welcome.

Ann Smarty

03/27/2014 10:12 pm

I'd go one step further and say "Nofollow ALL links" just to be on the safe side as guess what? - You never know. Problem solved!

John Doherty

03/27/2014 10:43 pm

There are so many ways to solve this. Matt's probably referring to large sites that have, in the past, linked their ccTLDs to the equivalent page on another ccTLD, thus driving up their rankings. You can solve it with a dropdown easily. If you're concerned about international rankings, learn about HREFLANG and WMT geo-targeting. I actually agree with Matt on this one.

Craig Hamilton-Parker

03/27/2014 10:58 pm

My UK site and USA site are on the same server. Would linking these together cause me problems?


03/27/2014 11:01 pm

We should nofollow every link on the web. Wonder what happened on the SERP. :-)

Sweetha Grace

03/28/2014 04:31 am

Can i make my two domain works in the same server?? and


03/28/2014 09:26 am

It would probably look just as crap as it does today. No problem :)


03/28/2014 09:27 am


Morgan Akchehirlian

03/28/2014 11:46 am

Linking similar websites are not an issue. Numbers max 4,5 like Matt mentioned. As far as practical experience even 7-8 are fine. If the company have different websites for different regions follow souq example.

Kyle Risley

03/28/2014 01:42 pm

Meanwhile, on

Sweetha Grace

03/29/2014 06:54 am

Thank you! Welcome


03/30/2014 12:35 pm

The rule is valid only as long as you care about what Google thinks. Otherwise, there's no "should". :) As Jon Hogg says a couple of comments above, here, "you'd link them together if Google didn't exist".

Abdul Wahab

03/31/2014 02:05 pm

hahaha. that's nice "you'd link them together if Google didn't exist"


04/01/2014 09:47 pm

Ummmmm..... Dear Google, Step 1. Find a way to accurately discern upon these technical issues that bother you so. Step 2. If there's no reliable solution please go to step 3. Step 3. Do not apply a penalty! Step 4. In the event Step 3 is simply not acceptable, please return to Step 1.

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