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Home Page Link Vs. Sitewide Sidebar Link

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#1 ClickClick


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Posted 31 January 2014 - 06:04 PM



My site has had a home page link from a very strong website for a few years. The link seemed to have quite a positive effect on our listings when it was first added. We have recently been hit by one of the Google updates (for the first time ever) and I have been in touch with an SEO agency.


One of the things they told me that they thought could have caused a problem, was the fact that our previous home page link from the website in question was changed to a link in the side bar (throughout the whole site) a few months ago. I'm not sure of the exact date so I'm not sure if it coincided with our drop in Google, but it seemed to be somewhere around the same time. The SEO company said that home page links are stronger and less spammy-looking than side bar links that are on every page on a site. It doesn't seem  to make sense to me as lots of sites have headers, footers and side bars that are consistent throughout their whole site and why would Google give less value to a link in a side bar throughout the whole site (including home page) compared to a home page link?


Any advice on this matter would be appreciated. Would you advise I ask the web master to revert back to a home page only link?



#2 Jill


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Posted 31 January 2014 - 06:55 PM

I can't imagine one link making that much difference. 

#3 Michael Martinez

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 08:30 PM

...The SEO company said that home page links are stronger and less spammy-looking than side bar links that are on every page on a site....

Like Jill, I have a hard time believing that 1 link can have that big an impact, especially on an established site. I have several Websites that have received unsolicited sitewide links from HUGE sites (thousands of links in the sidebars) and haven't had any problems.

On the other hand, pursuing/favoring homepage backlinks is exactly what got a LOT of people in trouble with the search engines in 2012 and 2013. I would be very leery of an SEO agency that said you need homepage backlinks.

Sure, they can be good and helpful, but if you build a strategy on homepage backlinks you're asking for trouble. Most Websites won't give you a homepage backlink, so if you rack up a lot of them that will look unnatural.

#4 qwerty


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Posted 02 February 2014 - 08:40 AM

I've got a few questions for you.


Trying to be as objective as you can (or at least to try to take the subjective perspective of a reader rather than the site operator), do you think the links in question are truly relevant? Does it make sense that this site would recommend your site, either on the home page or from a sidebar on every page? If I wanted my business to recommend another business to my readers, the only reason I can think of for either linking from every page or from the home page would be that I have a commercial interest in it -- that I have something to gain from sending traffic to that other site beyond just doing something helpful to my readers. I think if I was recommending your site simply because I thought it was of interest to my readers, I'd find one or two specific pages where that link would be of particular relevance and just put them there, without regard for any question of how much "juice" I'd be sending with those links.


With the site-wide links you currently have, about how many links from that one site does that add up to? And how does that compare to the total number of backlinks you've got from all other sites combined?


Did you receive a message in Webmaster Tools indicating that you've received a manual penalty for unnatural links?

Edited by qwerty, 02 February 2014 - 08:41 AM.

#5 ClickClick


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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:01 AM

Thanks for your responses. No qwerty, I have never received a penalty that I have been informed of in Webmaster Tools. It probably adds up to hundreds from that site (it is quite a big site).


What is the best way to look at links from other sites? I used to use Yahoo site explorer but it's not there anymore. We have a lot of in-bound links because we have a lot of stories (approaching 3,000) but they are not all valuable links.

#6 Jill


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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:36 AM

What is the best way to look at links from other sites?



Try Ahrefs.com

#7 chrishirst


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Posted 04 February 2014 - 10:01 AM


but they are not all valuable links.


How do you know?

#8 MarkWarner


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Posted 18 May 2014 - 11:56 PM

You say you were hit by an update... Do you have a particular date that you know of where things dropped off? That is where I would start if I was you. Do a quick Google query to find a list of known or suspected updates (Moz has a decent list for the larger updates) and sometimes you can see what hit you and search around to see what the update was all about.

Edited by MarkWarner, 18 May 2014 - 11:58 PM.

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