Snap! SEO -- Considering cross linking? Is it bad?

Alexis Wilke's picture

What is Cross Linking?

I have seen many people talking about cross-linking and how bad such practice can be. So... first of all what is Cross Linking?

I already talked about links. There is only one type of link on the Internet: the an anchor tag. Whether you are using Snap! Hosting or another service, a link is a link1. The anchor tag is defined as follow:

<a href="destination">text or image or both</a>

There are reasons why you'd want to use text within the anchor, but using an image is safe as long as you make sure to include a valid alternate text and title attributes on the image. Either way, the text should include your keywords whenever possible (i.e. not « click here » unless that's what you're selling...)

Now that we know what a link is, I can define Cross Linking

Cross Linking is creating two links between two websites. In other words, site A links to site B and site B links to site A. Why would anyone want to do that? There are several reasons, but since I'm writing this page under Snap! SEO, you probably can guess that the most important is it can help your SEO ranking.

The result of getting links creates more credibility for your website and thus increases your ranking. Remember that each link is viewed as a vote.

So why would so many people say that Cross Linking is bad?

To answer the question best, I will present the following figure. As you can see, I represented two websites. Each website is composed of multiple pages (I recommend that you always create multiple pages on a website. Uni-page websites are not going to have a lot of content. You won't be changing it very much and thus it will not get you a good ranking. At least, that's quite unlikely.)

Now that you have some content in your websites, you start adding external links. That means you link to other websites and your friends on other sites start linking to you. This creates a web of links between all those websites. Up to here, easy, right?

My Site and Hist Sites cross linking between different pages.

Okay, now I will introduce a second figure. The following shows the same two websites and both link to each others. However, as you can see in this new example, both are inter-linked within a single page on each site. So page A links to page B and page B links to page A. That's it. That's what Internet Marketers call a bad Cross-Link.

Direct cross-linking between two pages on two websites.

In this case, you both do not add credibility to your respective websites since they both say that each others pages are great.

Note that although Internet Marketers are considering those links bad, it does not remove validity from your site. It just doesn't boost your credibility for that one specific page. That's quite different... The problem for Internet Marketers is that they like to boost their page rank to the top as fast as possible. The truth is that to do it right, it simply takes time.

As usual, do what you think is the most helpful to your readers. If you send them to a website that's crappy, they just won't like it and they will discredit your website and you can be sure that Google and the other will at some point do the same. Whenever something looks natural, then it is natural and it gets a lot more credit than the rest.

Strange because I was told to put links to my Snap! Blog home page?!

Ah! Yes. Again, that's an Internet Marketer strategy. It is a valid one, however, if Page B talks about a very specific subject and you have a Page A that also talks about that subject, then you should not have B point to your home page. Think about it... when you do that, people clicking on the link found on Page B will be sent to a page that's not relevant. That is, if Page A was appearing on your Snap! Blog front page, then at that time it was great. But once you wrote enough new articles that Page A disappears from that front page... people sent there will be wondering why there was such a link on that other website.

This being said, when you post a comment on someone else blog and they offer you to enter your website URL, that one should be a link to your blog home page since that's about you and people are looking for fresh content. That works! Similarly, a link in a directory should always be at the very top of your Snap! Website: your home page.

  • 1. Note that there are links within Flash animations and links formed using JavaScript. Those are likely to be ignored by many search engines and they are not recommended to create valid SEO links.