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Links From Blog To Website

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#1 Nozmo


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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:00 PM

I have read all (or nearly all) of the posts on the subject of creating links from a blog to a website. I was not really able to determine if this is an accepted or unaccepted practice. I am here to tell you that I fall on the side of accepted - based on my most recent experience.

During the last two years we have posted 58 blog posts. Inside those posts there are 58 text links directly back to our website home page and another 45 links to specific pages of the site that included more details of the particular post. Additionally the blog includes six "pages" that are static and contain information and links backs to the website. Within these six pages are 3 links back to the home page and 40 links back to specific pages of the website. I have not changed these pages in about a year or so.

I think Google has determined this is a link farm and has banned or penalized us. Is it a good idea perhaps to create no-follow elements to all the links? Does it make sense to go back and do it retroactively?

The pages of our site appear in the index (using the site operator), but we no longer appear for our primary keywords and sinippets of content from our pages, when pasted in the Google search bar, return zero results in the SERPS. Currently we are working on some fixes to code and navigation, but I cannot believe these items would result in this draconian banishment - therefore my thoughts about this blog - website linking. The blog and website are two different IPs.

#2 Jill


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Posted 26 June 2009 - 07:25 AM

It's highly unlikely that links from your blog to your site would cause a penalty.

#3 qwerty


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Posted 26 June 2009 - 03:57 PM

If you're linking to your main site from every page of the blog, I wouldn't be surprised if those links are being treated as low value and aren't counting for much, if anything. That's not the same thing as a penalty, of course.

But if you've got more links from the blog than all of the rest of the sources of links, then you have to admit that it doesn't really look like a bunch of random people out there are recommending you. Instead, it looks like you're recommending yourself a lot -- a lot more than the general public is. I don't know if that's the case, but I'd say it's something to watch out for.

It sounds like you're treating the two sites like they're really one site. If your blog were a subdirectory of your main site, of course you'd link back to the home page from the pages of the blog. But if they're on two different domains, I have to wonder why they're being treated like one.

You mention that among the links are "45 links to specific pages of the site that included more details of the particular post." So, you write a blog post, but leave out some information, then put that information on your other site and link to it from the blog post. Why? I can't think of an excuse for doing that (if I understand what you're doing correctly) other than having links and driving clicks to the other site.

In my own case, my blog isn't about the same subject as my business site most of the time. When I write a blog post that's actually about SEO, I'll often cross post it on the main site and link them to each other, and that doesn't seem to have done me any harm at all, but I think that's because I've only done it 5 or 6 times in the 2 or 3 years I've been doing it. It's the exception rather than the rule, and I'm doing it because it's an example of the audiences of the two sites coming together, so someone who's interested in that particular content might be interested in some of the content on the other site.

#4 torka


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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:19 PM

QUOTE(qwerty @ Jun 26 2009, 04:57 PM) View Post
It sounds like you're treating the two sites like they're really one site. If your blog were a subdirectory of your main site, of course you'd link back to the home page from the pages of the blog. But if they're on two different domains, I have to wonder why they're being treated like one.

I'm going to take a bit of a contrarian view. It's Monday and I'm feeling feisty. smile.gif

We do this with several domains, all of which are combined to make a single site. It was done for non-SEO-related business reasons over a period of years (some of which happened before I came on board). At last count we have our main domain plus a subdomain and two secondary domains, all linked together to form a single website via the standard site navigation.

Oh, yeah, and a third secondary domain for a closely-related "members-only" website, a link to which is included on our home page. And a handful of product-specific informational minsites which also cross-link extensively with the appropriate product pages and other informational pages on the main, secondary and sub domains.

Seriously, it all makes sense for our business and I can give you good (non-SEO) reasons why each one of those domains is there. So far -- almost six years in -- it hasn't been a problem. I interlink extensively across all these domains, because it makes sense from a business standpoint to do so.

From what I've seen over that time, I honestly don't think the SEs care about the concept of "website" the way the rest of us do. Near as I can tell, it's mostly just pages and domains and links to them. We get hung up over whether pages are on the "same site." The SEs? Not so much.

"Domain" and "site" aren't the same thing. If the blog is being treated as part of the same site (despite being on a different domain), then it would be expected to link to the home page and other pages of the site (and vice versa), regardless of what domain those pages might be on. After all, you expect pages on the same site to have common internal site navigation that would, necessarily, link to pages on both domains (since both domains would be part of the site).

On the other hand, if the blog is being treated as a separate site, it still wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing to extensively link back to the home page and to other pages on the main site (and vice versa) -- after all, despite being a different site, both sites are related to the same company, and to each other as a result. So linking would make sense from a business point of view.

I mean, why would a company create a blog and then hide it away? As a visitor and a businessperson, I expect to see links from the main website to the blog. I expect a bunch of links from the blog to the main site.

Putting part of the information on the blog and part on the main site? Why not? Blog posts are written all the time that reference other blog posts or articles, make their comments and send the visitor off to the original to read it if they want. If the original happens to be on the main website of the same company that publishes the blog, so what? Maybe if you did that on every single post, and the posts themselves were just a couple of sentences pointing to the main article without any useful additional commentary or information, and those were the only kind of posts you ever published, I guess eventually Google might possibly take some kind of action (maybe)... but I bet the readers of the blog (all two of them remaining at that point) would get tired of it and unsubscribe long before Google got around to doing anything.

Would those links count for as much as if they came from a totally unrelated domain? I dunno. I don't know if anybody (outside Google) would know, and I'm not sure how they would go about conclusively proving that knowledge if they did. And I would guess the answer would depend at least in part on how you defined "totally unrelated." Surely Google is smart enough to figure out that many times apparently "unrelated" sites have off-the-books relationships (the site belongs to your brother-in-law, you agreed to barter services for the link, etc.). At least in this kind of case, the relationship is clear and above-board.

But I'm pretty sure from what I've seen with my own sites that those links count for something, and they don't seem to have triggered any sort of issues with any of the SEs. I would never recommend going overboard (with anything -- moderation in all things, including moderation), but I think it's not as necessary to be quite so cautious with interlinking as long as there are good reasons for the links.

My penny.gif

--Torka mf_prop.gif

#5 qwerty


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Posted 29 June 2009 - 12:42 PM

Oooh, them's fightin' words ranting.gif

I'd still like to hear from Nozmo whether the reasoning behind the creation of those links involved anything beyond getting attention from search engines, and if so, what that reasoning was. In other words, how does it benefit the reader to click a link at the end of an article to get some additional information rather than having that information in the article?

#6 thefandango


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Posted 03 July 2009 - 06:20 AM

If all you have is 50 odd links I dont think you will even appear on Google's radar.

#7 Nozmo


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Posted 17 July 2009 - 02:53 PM

QUOTE(thefandango @ Jul 3 2009, 07:20 AM) View Post
If all you have is 50 odd links I dont think you will even appear on Google's radar.


I wanted to get back on this issue, because it is one that I find quite difficult to get my arms around. There is a lot of conflicting thoughts. To answer the question on my thinking, I did start the blog, 2 years ago, with the idea that it would be good, from and SEO point of view, to link between the website and the blog. It did generate recognized backlinks to the website. When I speak about "more information" on the website, this would be an example - blog includes story about most recent housing market - website includes all the numbers, town by town and more detailed commentary. Another would be a blog post about one of our properties being featured on the TODAY show - link back to website is to see additional properties. Things like that. The blog also includes "pages" that are static. An example here is a list of all the different waterfront regions of Maine, and a link back to the website would be more detailed maps, reviews, etc. Much more detail than I could ever include in a blog.

When our website dropped out of Google I began the quest to find out why. Since that time our programmers have completed all kinds of technical fixes. For example we reduced our code validation errors from over 150 to less than 10 (and that should be reduced to 1 by the end of the weekend). We also fixed canconical URL and 301 redirects and a bunch of technical things. But, I could never get a firm answer on the blog and website. In queries I posted on the WMF, I was told I was scamming and building a link farm. I found this hard to believe, but I could understand the logic. Plus I have seen many others do similar things, with no consequence. The SEO people I have consulted felt that the links were not a problem - and that was also the opinion of Jill in this form (I think it was her). Nonetheless, I have re-written the "pages" on the blog so that the content is different from that on the website (this was the synopsis on communities, waterfront, relocation, etc). I also am removing links in the blog posts directly to the home page. Based on advice from this forum, I am leaving the other links, because I feel they are justified - and the comment about using the no-follow, but still expecting the blog to have "authority" made sense.

On thing I have not been able to figure out is that the blog itself generates all kinds of backlinks to the website through the index feature. The same link gets generated more than once in Google. I think this is a problem, but would need to change blog software to eliminate this.

I hope this information is helpful - I would think that others also struggle with this issue - since there is not hard and fast rules to go by.

#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 07:45 PM

Just out of curiosity, you have a lot of invisible internal navigation links at the bottom of the front page of your non-blog site. They look like normal site navigation links and it appears to me you're trying to manage them through CSS.

Still, when did you set up that navigation? Was it anywhere around the time when you lost search visibility?

I'm not trying to embarrass you. Quite often people make what they feel are insignificant changes to a site and then something goes wrong. They assume there is no connection between those "insignificant changes" and whatever happened.

ON EDIT: BTW -- neither of your sites is banned in Google. Both appear in the index and they rank for their own names. It's unlikely you've incurred any sort of serious penalty. I suspect what people call an "overoptimization penalty" may have kicked in.

#9 Nozmo


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Posted 18 July 2009 - 07:08 PM

Hi Michael,

I don't embarrass to easy! I'm not sure what navigation you are referring to - the links at the very bottom of the page? I'm not sure why they would be invisible. They have always been part of the site, so changes to these I doubt have had a negative influence. I do have the option of which ones to include as part of the programing. I also did run the motoricerca spam tool and it shows that there are invisible links along the top and side navigation with the message: "Probably used to create interactive objects, like navigation structures", which they are. This seems to be a useful report and I would recommend it. Another that I use, that would also recommend is oyoy.ed (but you guys are probably aware of these things already).

I agree, I have come to the conclusion we are not banned, but being penalized in some way. I think our path forward looks promising. The fact that I can't get any page to return in the SERP (G-only) when I paste exact content into the search bar is concerning - but hopefully it will work out.

#10 Nozmo


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Posted 13 August 2009 - 07:21 PM

Some of you may remember me. Our website dropped out of Google completely several months ago and I was searching for answers. It was so bad that if I typed an exact portion of content from our site into the Google search bar nothing would be returned.

To make a long story short I hired an SEO company to help identify some problems and my programers went through a long list of fixes that included correcting code errors (we now have zero - before over 100), getting our www vs non-www straight, fixing broken links, correcting all 301s, creating a custom 404 and several other things. I also re-wrote many pages that seemed to similar to some of my key competitors and I re-wrote many of the permanent pages of our blog so that they were not the same as the website.

I was going to go through a reconsideration request at Google, but we have come in the SERPs - and in a better way than we were before. A success story - even though I wonder every day when things could go haywire again! I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to those on this forum who gave me some good insight in what to attack and how to go about it - Thanks a lot!

I still have work to do - it never ends - but seeing some progress gets you excited to carry-on.

#11 Randy


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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:53 PM

even though I wonder every day when things could go haywire again!

And it most likely will happen again. It does for pretty much every site out there some time or another. Either from things you've done, things you haven't done to keep up with the competition or because of changes in the algorithm.

This is why I advise everyone not to count too much on the search engines for all of your traffic. I've personally found rather prudent to get my sites to the point that 50% or less of my sales come from the search engines.

#12 OldWelshGuy


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 02:13 AM

Yep, this happens, google simply loses sites now and again. no rhyme, no reason. Often something small can hit your trust score, you slip, then once G gets its head around it, all is well again.

#13 bwelford


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Posted 14 August 2009 - 08:11 AM

Let me join the chorus, you have to stay on top of things. Have a regular maintenance routine. Verify your websites with Google Webmaster Tools and watch for warnings. Even more basic do a Xenu check of your website and make sure broken links are repaired and that Xenu can crawl all you want the search engines to get to.

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