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THE CURRENT VERSION IS SEY 2003


Cross Linking
by André le Roux
Dec. 2002

NOTE: For an updated discussion of cross linking, please refer to the current version of the Search Engine Yearbook.

Multiple domains can be a plus, but can also get you into trouble.

The natural thing to want to do is to boost your link popularity by having lots of links between your different domains. Cross linking sites in this way may seem harmless, but it is a way of artificially inflating your link popularity. That’s also the way the search engines see it. Google is rumored to have a “PR0” penalty for cross linking. It stands for PageRank zero.

Google denies this, but many site owners maintain that their PageRank was dropped to zero for excessive cross linking. It’s a thorny subject. A site for a holding company, for example, will and should provide links to all associated companies – and they should all link back to the holding company’s homepage. It’s also perfectly natural and acceptable to link to your personal homepage from your business site.

So when does cross linking become “excessive”? What about “web-rings”? There’s no clear line. One strategy that works for me personally (so far) is to build my cross linking into the editorial content of my site rather than just cross linking from a menu
or the bottom of the page.

Also, if the content of the sites are related in a way that a spider can pick up on (similar keywords), then cross linking those sites is (seemingly) perfectly acceptable.

By the way, I’m planning an experiment with a couple of throw-away-domains – just to see how far I can go before Google pulls the plug. Hopefully that experiment will get underway during 2003. If you’re interested in the outcome, subscribe to my EnginePaper newsletter. You can subscribe (free) with a blank e-mail to send-ep-subscribe@topica.com.

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