Does Linking Multiple Domains Attract a Google Penalty?
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Some time ago, creating different domain names and linking them
together could generate large number of inbound links to your main
website and increase its SERP ranking. However, in the era of
penalizing search engine algorithms such as Penguin 2.0, you have to
think twice before attempting to do something like this. Linking the
various sites in a network together or simply linking domains can now
look spammy and attract the wrong kind of attention. In a
GoogleWebmasterHelp video, Matt Cutts answered the question as to
whether it was possible to link 20 domains together without getting
into trouble. Let’s look at the implications of his reply.
Domain Linking: Best Practices
According to Matt Cutts, it is not a right thing to link 20 domains
together if they discuss the same topic. For example, it is better not
link 20 domains if they are all talking about the same thing. For
instance, linking several domain names for patio-furniture-sets or
cheap-Indian-artificial-jewelry could end up as spam. Cutts suggests
the following practices for linking domains without getting into trouble:
Link the domain names only if they are different versions of your
domain in various countries (For example, Google.co.za (Google
version South Africa), Google.fr (Google version France)). Different
versions of the domain make sense here.
Do not link to large number of domain names in your footer as they
will look spammy.
Have one link to the country locator page from where readers can
choose from your different domain versions. Place flags or
dropdowns for readers to pick the country of their choice to get to
Ensure that all links to your domain versions are static HTML links
so that Googlebots can follow them and transfer PageRank between
Linking in Large Blog Networks
As you know, large blog networks link several blogs together. In such
cases, it is possible to find large number of footer links to multiple
unrelated blogs. Cutts says that even if you have 10 domains (of blogs)
in the network and only few posts in each of them, it is not a good
practice to crosslink them together unless you have a solid reason to do
so (such as a location issue).
Penguin 2.0 strictly curbs massive cross-linking practices and considers
them link spam. Erring websites are penalized. Matt Cutts says that even
if you are linking large number of domains together without the intention
of cross-linking, Google could view it as a massive cross-linking scheme.