Site-wide Backlinks

How does Google view site-wide backlinks?

This is a question which comes up time and time again, both from customers, friends (who ask me a lot of questions!) and on the internet forums. While we’ve always had a pretty good idea, Google’s Matt Cutts has produced a couple of videos which explain it in simple terms:

The first video is about the type of links which you sometimes see in a blogroll for example. Essentially what he’s saying is they are OK if they are relevant, although you certainly won’t get the benefit of multiple links as you would if they were created naturally. Interestingly there is both the algorithmic perspective on this, where the links can become devalued, but also the manual review perspective, i.e. when someone submits a spam report a site seen to be doing this could be devalued.

On this second video he talks about various link acquisition methods, but touches on footer links from a template footer, or possibly from a widget where the site owner may not even appreciate that it’s there. Again the upshot is about the same, they should be filtered out by the algorithm but can also be reported as web spam and manually devalued, so they won’t benefit the recipient.

As always, this isn’t really anything new it’s just that Google are getting increasingly good at finding this kind of practice. So the conclusion? Keep doing things properly and there shouldn’t be any problem, get involved in the latest tricks and techniques and you will get caught out at some point!

6 thoughts on “Site-wide Backlinks

  1. Si the Mon says:

    Do you really believe everything which Matt Cutts says? My thinking is more like do the opposite of what he wants, he is Google propaganda trying to scare you in to doing what they want, if they can’t actually stop you thereself.

  2. Pam Hutchings` says:

    For quite some time I’ve suggested this is the case, I just never had the actual proof of it, so it’s nice to have it officially confirmed by Mr Cutts himself.


  3. P Bushnall says:


    Surely everyone already realizes that a site wide link is not going to bring you any benefit. Look at the typical examples: sponsored footers, purchased blogrolls and advertising. Google wouldn’t want people to benefit from these kind of links. That’s been the same for years, they are simply becoming stricter about filtering them out now.

  4. Abraham Mackin says:

    I think we all benefit from Matt’s conversions with us. Not sure how it would benefit Google to try to trick us, so my guess would be to listen. I also think some found out the hard way 😉

  5. Steve says:

    Hi Abraham,

    I agree that it’s not in their best interests to trick us, however, I do suspect that even Matt doesn’t know everything which is going on there, after all he has become the public face of a huge corporation, so is essentially a PR man these days. I do think you need to read between the lines to some extent.

Comments are closed.