Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sitewides: Are They Really "bad"?

Since sitewides continue to be a controversial topic, and a client recently asked "Are sitewides really bad"? I thought I`d deviate from the Blog Topic List (see my previous post: SEO 101) and write up something quick on sitewide links.

When taking a look at the website user, sitewides can be good and even important links, as users are much more likely to click them. Additionally, they make the overall site template look more consistent, which encourages the users to feel more secure. When looking at sitewides from the SEO standpoint, there are obvious reasons why you would want to be careful when purchasing sitewides, but when done correctly, absolutely still add value.

For example, take a look at Blogs. Google recognizes template based elements, and as most bloggers use a template, the links will appear on every page simply because of the design. Is this to say Google would actually penalize or even devalue links simply due to design, or template based elements? We know this isn`t true, or 1,000`s of clients who have purchased blog reviews and other sitewide links would be penalized by now. Instead, many factors (multiple “bad neighborhood” sites linking in, a whole network of sites linking in, etc) come into play when Google becomes suspicious and/or chooses to penalize.

In a nutshell, if your backlink profile includes a few solid sitewide links along with other link types, you should not only avoid any penalty, but experience increased trust with diversity in your link profile as a whole. Just stay on topic, avoid purchasing links on bad neighborhoods and, of course, don`t rely predominantly on sidewide links. In fact, you really shouldn`t rely on one link type ever, as the makeup of a well established link portfolio includes many different link types. It`s the diversity that makes the links appear more natural, and therefore encourages Google to trust your link portfolio in its entirety.


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Phil said...

That's a helpful article!

I have been asked this question many times and always end up explaining in details why sidebars can not get you in trouble if done right.

You did a great job in just a few paragraphs!