07. Is It Useful to Crosslink Between Different Company Websites Within the Same Organization or Group?

With Barry, Dawn, Dixon and Will.

Dawn Anderson – Director Move It Marketing
Yeah, I mean I have seen this is really effective, if you like you can call them like super brands. So they may be a group of retail companies, they may have brands that sell different types of products and they seem to have almost like this superpage that links to our brands and does seem to be really effective.

And obviously you have got the other view that there is this semantic flock that occurs aswell, whereby Google realises that these are connected brands and would rank them for the same thing. But, at the same, time then you then see clusters whereby we know that they’re the same brands but just with different offerings.

Dixon Jones – Majestic Marketing Director – Receptional Founding Director
So, I have seen most of them on a page level as opposed to domain level and you wouldn’t argue I can link to my Twitter profile, my LinkedIn profile, my other profiles. But it depends on the nature of the corporation. Because, if the corporation is full of completely disparate web businesses, or businesses that have no context with each other, then you’ve got to appreciate that crosslinking is in context as well as in authority.

So you would, in that stage, maybe they all link to the parent company that might explain them all out but you wouldn’t crosslink all the individual websites. So ultimately, you’ve got one big network of many, many websites and there is only so much love for the whole conglomerate and then you’re spreading around on a lot more websites.

So the crosslinking between the sites in itself, not a problem at all, but you may, at some times, be doing yourself a disservice if you’re still not connecting the user. Because if you are trying to connect an oil company with a fashion business, because you happen to own them both, then that may still not be the best way to do your linking.

Dawn Anderson
It’s not a good look. It’s very tenuous isn’t it?

Barry Adams – Founder Polemic Digital
I think you can make it into a good part of your linking strategy of the whole, if for example you have one property which is very good at earning links, another property where you struggle more.

One of my clients is a regional news-publisher, who also has classified websites doing like jobs and property listings and those sorts of classifieds sites are tough to earn links for, whereas the news-website, being a funny popular news-website, they have more links than they know what to do with.

So one of the key tactics they can employ there, is to give boost to specific pages on the classifieds website by featuring them in news-articles. In an editorial sound way, of course, that doesn’t look too artificial.

But you can make that a good part of your link-strategy if you have one property, that is very good at getting links, to spread the love out to other websites which may not be so easy to get new links for.

Will Critchlow – CEO & Co-Founder Distilled
I think from a theoretical perspective my approach would be to see them as actually just internal links. To my mind, in theory, it makes very little difference whether those two that you just mentioned are different domains or whether they’re different subfolders in the same master domain.

As far as an imaginary omnipotent Google – omniscient I guess. But in practice, I think we see that Google isn’t treating them quite like that, and in fact often times they do get treated as just genuinely external unaffiliated links. I guess you can take that too far.

Dixon Jones
You make a really good point treading on a page level, the own site it comes down is on entity search when you got universal searches and certain web-properties are in universal search and others aren’t, so then you need to bleed it out somehow.

Will Critchlow
From a user perspective, there is some of it where I wish it actually happened more. I wish there was a direct link product to product, from amazon.com to amazon.co.uk, for example. As a user. Because if I end up on the .com site, I don’t want to have to go to the .co.uk site and search for the product, why isn’t there just a link there?

Barry Adams
The trick is you can change the .com to a .co.uk and end up on the same page.

Will Critchlow
But I just want to click on a link! And I don’t know whether that’s comes through fear of Google or whatever else, but we have definitely seen a shift away from those kind of mega footer links, you had a couple of years ago, – you still see them in some places – particularly, especially in travel.

Dawn Anderson
I think they’re still there on Amazon aren’t they?

Will Critchlow
Oh they’re there on many things but that massive footer where there’s like, “Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, whatever” and then, the same thing, linking to all those same ones on your other domain, and on your other domain, and on your other domain…

Barry Adams
The interesting thing is, those links can have value but not for ranking purposes, they’re primary for discovery nowadays. To enable easy crawl paths to those different pages. Footer wide links across different domains, in my experience – I hope maybe you can say something about how you see it – they don’t have rankings anymore, but they do help crawl paths.

Dixon Jones
I don’t think that’s always true, I think there is still sometimes a worrying prevalence for Google to accept a footer link as something that is perhaps more deserving than it should be.

Dawn Anderson
I think also it depends on the intent of the, if you like, “the SEO behind it”, if literally you’re not really a brand but all you’re doing is trying to build a network of sites to sort of boost everything up then that’s probably not something that you…

Will Critchlow
Again, I don’t know whether from a theoretical perspective but certainly in practice, you see the big groups get away with stuff that you would never get away with.

Dawn Anderson
Yeah, absolutely. But this is the thing, they are perceived as brands aren’t they versus just a link network or a PBN (private blog network).

Dixon Jones
Well I think you misunderstand that. I mean, they do have a huge manpower these big brands, I mean, they do have lots more people looking at their website, they do have a lot more people talking about the brand, they’ve build up and earned that brand recognition and then they can use that, effectively or ineffectively, but – and that becomes a disadvantage for the small businesses and Google tries to mitigate that with bits of algorithms where it can – but a well thought out campaign of cross-linking between a group that’s got a powerful brand or set of brands is going to be much more effective than a smaller group, sure.

Dawn Anderson
No, absolutely.

Juan Gonzalez – SISTRIX
Thank you very much.