Site Wide Links: Do They Help or Hurt?

May 11, 2006 by  

There’s an interesting discussion over at the Search Engine Roundtable forum about the value of side wide links today.

Side wide links are links that appear on every single page of a site, such as footer links.

There are lots of times sitewide links are appropriate – in the footer of websites sharing a parent company, when permanent navigation falls across multiple domains, or in blogrolls, which commonly appear on every page of a blog.

I’m not sure about value to the particular search engines, but I would say that all three either do or will take a hard look at sites whose links come primarily from sitewides. In any indsutry or sector, there’s going to be certain flags that different types of links can send up – sitewides are certainly one that can do that.

In terms of link value, it’s my general belief that with a few notable exceptions (Wikipedia, Yahoo!, MSNBC, possibly DMOZ), the value of 5-10 links is near the maximum value you can get in terms of rank-boosting power (“Google Juice”). Moving up to 100 or 1000 links probably will not significantly impact your site’s rank, IMO.

As for requesting a webmaster to actually remove the sitewides… I’d first think about value and intent. If the goal was to gain rankings and the links never get relevant clicks, removing them in favor of a content sector link in the body of an on-topic page might be positive in the long run. However, if you’re getting clicks from lots of different pages, I wouldn’t worry that a sitewide is adversely affecting your rank – if you’re really concerned, you can ask that the links be “nofollowed” except on the page(s) you think will most benefit SEs.

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