Skip to content
Home » Marketing Resources » Marketing Through Cross Linking

Marketing Through Cross Linking

Another hot and controversial tactic…

Cross linking refers to interlinking your own sites when you own more than one. An example of cross linking is on the right hand side of this page.

The controversy comes in when it comes to Search Engine Ranking. Do the search engines see cross linking as a subversive tactic, or do they ignore the links, or do they give importance to them?

Logically, they would be pure idiots to penalize for cross linking sites. Because ANY site owner is going to logically promote their own sites, ESPECIALLY if they have relevant topics! To not do so would be very foolish. When you have a basis for marketing leverage, you have to use it. I get a LOT of traffic to my sites that comes in from other sites that I own. I’d be stupid to not want to keep getting that traffic.

Now, there is legitimate cross linking, and cross linking that can have a negative affect. If you create doorway pages whose sole purpose is to promote the same sites over and over, then THAT is considered black hat SEO. Don’t do it.

If you cross link very aggressively, with multiple references to the same page over and over on your sites, then that is also considered to be low and borderline unethical – besides which it will seriously interfere with the overall quality of your site. Don’t do it.

I have over 25 sites now. Notice in the sidebar, I have only 8 of those sites linked into this one. That is because I have sites on parenting, health and nutrition, and other topics which are not directly related to this site. I have listed only those sites which are relevant – understand though, that search engines are NOT good at judging relevancy, in fact they are very BAD at it. So just cross link when it enhances the value of the site you are building. For this site, the resources listed in the sidebar have value to the visitors of this site. And that is how cross linking should work.

Cross linking can help you as a valid marketing tactic. But it should always be used in a way that helps your site visitor as much as it helps you, if not more. If the links are obnoxious, get rid of them or move them. If the links are not of interest to your audience, don’t put them in. If you have a general site link in a sidebar or other standard “every page” resource listing, then do not link to the home page for that site in your content – if it is appropriate and needed to make reference to a resource in that site, then link directly to the page that has that specific item or topic, not to the home page.

I have heard people say, “A friend of mine cross linked their sites and was banned by Google.” The fact is, that improper cross linking might in fact cause you to be banned, but if your site is banned, it is more likely due to other factors. We have no idea of what else the “friend” was doing on their site that might have got them banned.

I do have some statistical evidence for the power of cross linking though. Back when I owned only a dozen domains, I cross linked every single one. As I branched out more, the sidebar got really cluttered, so I started weeding out the irrelevant links, and interlinking only the sites that related to one another. Within one week of doing that, I saw two dramatic effects:

1. My referral traffic dropped. I get a certain percentage of my traffic from my own sites, and that was significantly changed.

2. My search engine traffic dropped by an equal percentage. This happened within two weeks of making the changes.

The cumulative effect was a drop in overall site traffic of about 25%. I saw a corresponding drop in my AdSense income (that hurt!). Over the next few months though, as the sites continued to grow, and as I continued to add more sites, the traffic rebounded.

As with all tactics, use it in a reasonable and logical manner. Do not think that it is a tactic for manipulating search engines because it is not. It is just one more thing you do in a way that makes sense for the site you are building, because once you HAVE traffic to a site, it is reasonable to use that traffic to encourage traffic to a new site. Your reputation SHOULD be able to transfer from one thing you own to another, and search engines would, again, be stupid to penalize for that, because, after all, when Microsoft or Yahoo slaps their name on a new site, and cross links it with their old one, do they penalize for THAT? No, because those two companies have a reputation that they rightly use. Smaller businesses and bigger businesses need to be held to the same standards.

Do what is logical. You’ll never be able to figure out what the search engines do or do not like, so apply some common sense and go with it. Use your own judgment about where to draw the line, and keep your site quality and visitor satisfaction at the top of the list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *