Multiple Domains and Cross-Linking: Does It Improve Your SEO?
Many times a person or a company owns more than one domain, so it’s tempting to link between them. You want all of your websites to do well, so it only makes sense to have each of your domains help the other through linking, or cross-linking in this case. For those who have 20 or 30 different related websites, why not link between them all to improve your SEO and visibility? Because oftentimes it is viewed as spammy.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Cross-Linking Amongst Multiple Domains
As great as this idea may sound, it looks spammy in the eyes of Google. As Google always reiterates, you have to be linking for a very good reason. Cross-linking over and over amongst the same 20 sites doesn’t seem natural (and chances are Google is right, it’s not natural). However, even if it is natural and helping readers, it’s something to keep in mind. It might look natural to you, but it doesn’t to Google, so consider easing-up on the cross-linking. In short: It’s bad for your SEO.
What about Multiple Country Sites?
This is the only time that head of Google Webspam team Matt Cutts says that cross-linking is OK and won’t hurt your SEO. If you have multiple domains that all work for your same one company, it makes sense to cross-link between them so it’s easy for readers to find another version of the same company site. However, you have to make sure even this doesn’t come across spammy. There are a few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t use foot links; use a country locator page. Linking to 30 different domain names in your footer looks spammy to the Google bots (and probably readers), so Cutts suggests you have one link in the footer to a country locator page that will pull up a map and show you all the different locations. Allow readers to click the location they need and then let that link take them to your other domain.
- Keep them normal static HTML. When you create your country locator page, be sure to keep it static HTML so that the bots can follow your links and your PageRank will transfer.
Below is a video coming straight from Cutts that explains this exact issue:
As with most things dealing with Google, you need to use your best judgement. If you want to cross-link once because you think it will help readers, don’t be afraid to do so. Google likely won’t penalize your SEO, and although it might not help your SEO either, remember that you’re linking and writing for your readers. If you have something that can help, by all means go for it.