Google’s Thoughts on Site-wide Backlinks

Speaker – Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team

Transcription – Nu Studio’s SEO team


Today’s question comes from Chris, in Poland. Chris asks, ‘Are site-wide backlinks considered good or bad by Google? Or do they just count as one link from the whole domain?’ That is an excellent question. Let us tackle it from both the algorithmic standpoint and from the manual standpoint.

On the algorithmic standpoint, typically, I have said before, if we have keywords, the first keyword counts some, the next keyword counts a little bit, but not as much, the third keyword, not as much. Even if you do keyword stuff and even if you throw a ton of keywords, at some point it becomes asymptotically diminishing returns, and it does not really help you anymore.

You can imagine the same thing; if we see a link from a domain, we may count it once, but if we see 50 links from a domain, we still might choose to only count it once. On an algorithmic side, we do a pretty good job of compressing those links together.

Then there is also on the manual side. Imagine that you have a Polish website, and you see a site-wide link in English talking about ‘rent cheap apartments’. To a regular person, that looks pretty bad. Certainly, it does happen that you have site-wide links, maybe have a blogroll or something like that. If I were a manual webspam analyst who were doing an investigation, and we got a spam report that you are an English site and you got a site-wide Polish link, or something like that, or vice versa, it looks commercial, or it looks off-topic, low-quality, or spammy, then that can affect the assessment on whether you want to trust the outgoing links from that site.

Site-wide links do happen, it is completely natural. You may have a privacy policy, copyright policy, all that sort of stuff. When we see irrelevant or off-topic links, or even spam links, site-wide, then that is the thing that does make a spam fighter’s ears perk up a little bit. I think we handle it very well on the algorithmic side, but we do manual investigations, as well.

I hope that helps.