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!