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Thread: Good links - bad links?

  1. #1
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Good links - bad links?

    I'm sure I found it in here somewhere before that side-wide links were considered to be "bad links" (when looking at the in-bound link profile of a site).

    It's a bit confusing. If site-wide links really are bad, then surely by adding someone to your blogroll, you're doing them a disservice rather than a favour. Also some advertisers want to have a presence side-wide, eg masthead banner.

    I want to add a link to something on one of my sites. His preference is for a text-link and I'm OK with that. I'd be happy to give him that link site-wide but I'd rather not if it would hurt rather than help him. Can anyone throw any light on this, please?
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  2. #2
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    I found what I was looking for. It's on the forum's sister site:
    http://www.experienced-people.co.uk/...ying-links.htm

    1. Sitewide or Run-Of-Site links. These links are generally placed in footers but sometimes appear in sidebars or headers and, as the name suggests, the same link appears on every page of the site. They're bad because their intent is so obvious.
    Ah, I think I'm starting to 'get' it.

    The general rules are that links that look obviously like they were designed to impress search engine algorithms are bad and links that were created to be of use to visitors (and preferably voluntarily) are good.
    Site-wide links might be bad for SEO, because they don't impress the algo. However, there are other reasons for doing (or requesting) site-wide links. The first that comes to mind is brand awareness, also reach. If you've got one little text link on a site with hundreds or thousands of pages, then there's much less chance of being noticed than if the link is site-wide. To be fair, the article I linked to there was written a while back.

    Do people still think that site-wide links are bad? Bad for SEO? Bad generally?
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  3. #3
    aka "bryanon"
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    The whole thing is actually extremely simple and straightforward: it's not the question of whether site-wide links are bad or not, but the question of what does and doesn't appear natural.

    No search engine is going to penalise you if out of 100 domains linking to your site 5 have site-wide links as this tends to happen naturally for the reasons that you've described above (mind you, 99% of webmasters out there don't even know what the terms "site-wide link" or "link building" for that matter mean and it's certainly not in Google's interest to harm the sites of these webmasters). On the other hand, if out of those 100 domains linking to your site 80 have site-wide links then quite obviously something dodgy is happening as that's not something that would occur naturally.

    In conclusion, there's nothing wrong in getting (or giving) site-wide links, as long as you don't grossly over-do it.

    Btw. in our DD analyses we consider 65% or more of all links being site-wide a red flag. This is obviously a percentage that is extremely difficult to achieve unless you're specifically going after this kind of links and the site is getting very few natural links at the same time.

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  5. #4
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    The whole thing is actually extremely simple and straightforward: it's not the question of whether site-wide links are bad or not, but the question of what does and doesn't appear natural.
    Would you agree that this focus on "natural" is a consequence of G's recent penalty for "unnatural linking"? Maybe I shouldn't have gone around digging up old articles, but when I'm researching something I like to cover as many angles as I can.

    ...mind you, 99% of webmasters out there don't even know what the terms "site-wide link" or "link building" for that matter mean...
    I agree. No doubt they've heard of these terms but don't really know what they mean. Many of the people I deal with run small(ish) businesses. Most have a "web guy" who does the website work, but I'm usually dealing with the business owner or a director and they're responsible for sales and marketing, new business development, etc. It's obvious that they don't know what they're talking about in many cases, but they've heard some of the jargon and think they know what it is. A little knowledge can be dangerous!

    ...it's certainly not in Google's interest to harm the sites of these webmasters...
    It's in G's interest to harm anyone who stands between them and their profits.

    On the other hand, if out of those 100 domains linking to your site 80 have site-wide links then quite obviously something dodgy is happening as that's not something that would occur naturally.
    Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the site. Dunno if you know anything about food bloggers. Low end of the market, of course, and at a guess 90+% hobbyists. Most of them are clueless about running a website or link building or any of that kind of stuff. They all link to each other in their blogrolls. It's unlikely that we'll see any of these sites coming up for sale. The point is that many of them could have a link profile which looks "unnatural" when compared to the profile of a different niche. I think that bloggers may have changed the playing field a bit.

    I see your point about using a % figure to raise red flags. You gotta benchmark somehow or have rules of thumb. That said, if I was looking to buy a food blog (I'm not) then 80% site-wide IBLs wouldn't bother me at all.

    This is obviously a percentage that is extremely difficult to achieve unless you're specifically going after this kind of links and the site is getting very few natural links at the same time.
    I agree - unless you are in a niche that's quite cliquey.
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  6. #5
    Top Contributor grynge is a Premium Member
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    Another pro for sitewide links is traffic to the site being linked, when placing links I think especially these days you should be really only worrying about what links will supply good traffic. Don't worry about what the search engines say, as they obviously can't work out the difference between a paid link and a freely given link and if you think about it, the SE's did themselves a disservice by forcing everyone to go "nofollow" now nearly all links are "nofollow" so what does the algorythm tell them to do? Surely it can't ignore 90% of all links as then only very old sites and SEO's would be able to supply non "nofollow" links hence the serps would be spammed very easily.
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
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