Often we come across several websites with a number of footer links that appear sitewide or throughout the site on every page. In the process of optimising your website for search, you could have the question; “should I be using a sitewide backlink” or “is a sitewide backlink good or bad for SEO.” Today we will clear the air after our extensive research and test results have provided us with a conclusion.
Sitewide Hyperlink Variants:
- Sitewide nofollow internal hyperlink
- Sitewide dofollow internal hyperlink
- Sitewide nofollow external hyperlink
- Sitewide dofollow external hyperlink
As a result of continued efforts by engineers at major search engine companies like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Baidu, the search algorithms have been evolving over time. The ever changing algorithms aiming to improve the search quality and experience for netizens have become smart enough to differentiate between forced link building and natural linking. Unfortunately, sitewide backlinks can quite easily fall under the bad list, hence why using them with the right approach is imperative.
Why sitewide backlinks can become a reason for forced SEO penalty:
Search engine companies strive to deliver the best quality results for their users – they want the results to be as natural as possible. For this reason, they could potentially penalise any unnatural efforts to build links which clearly result in a pattern. Having an outbound link means multiple backlinks with the same “anchor text” which is a clear pattern. In case the sitewide link is from a huge website, you could end up having hundreds of backlinks with the same anchor text which is not a good idea.
If you really must have a sitewide hyperlink from your website for business reasons, such as referring to your parent company, you could choose to add a nofollow attribute to this hyperlink. This signals Google bots to ignore such hyperlinks, thereby making the approach a white hat one. On the flip side, if your business demands a home page dofollow (passing the link juice) backlink, then the next option you have is to use a homepage backlink that is not sitewide.
What is the best approach?
Having discussed the negatives of the different sitewide backlink approaches, it is clear that the best approach is one that can ethically make use of SEO. Most of the best in class websites, who intend to link to an external website, will have a sitewide link to an internal page (such as resources, recommended sites or business partners) and from that page they link outward, thereby avoiding the sitewide outbound link. To summarise, I recommend to refrain from having any sitewide outbound links to the website your are planning to optimise. However, if you really must, make it a nofollow link, unless it is an internal page hyperlink.