Cross linking refers to the process of linking between two sites. Whether or not they are owned by the same person, cross linking is the process on which the internet is built. It allows users to reference sites with content similar to that which they are already viewing, and may be of further interest to them.
Cross linking also serves an interesting purpose in terms of search engine optimization. Link popularity is one of the main factors involved in how search engines determine the value, importance and relevance of sites on a given topic. This calculation is then reflected in the site’s search ranking.
As a result, cross linking between sites is a very popular method of search engine marketing. Both reciprocal links and inbound links can be valuable SEO tools, provided you use cross linking effectively, especially if you are the owner of both web sites. Below are some guidelines to remember when cross linking between two sites that you own.
- Make sure each site has unique, original content. While this may seem obvious, it’s important to make the sites different enough so that it at least seems that a user could learn something new or different from the other site. It can be similar in theme and subject, and in fact will promote better link quality through cross linking if it is similar, but it must be unique.
- Consider hosting the two sites through different IP addresses. Even if the crawlers do pick up on the fact that both sites are on the same IP address they probably won’t penalize you for cross linking, but it never hurts to be cautious. It may also improve the quality of your cross linking in the eyes of the crawlers.
- Don’t use cross linking on every page. Too often people tend to use cross linking by putting a link to the same sites on every page. This dilutes the quality of the link, and will appear questionable to the search engines.
- Use Anchor text for cross linking. If you can use keyword rich anchor text around your cross linking, it will be more appealing to the search engine crawlers. SEO marketing is about combining all kinds of SEO strategies, so using cross linking in conjunction with keyword text is always best.
- Don’t create a “link ring”. A link ring is when several sites are cross linking to each other, with no other sites linked into the ring they create. Search engines will penalize this kind of cross linking immediately.
Above all, be smart about cross linking. It can be a great way to improve your SEO as well as offer users or customers better options, information or products. However, cross linking too much will be apparent and may cost you penalties from the search engines. And remember, cross linking works best in conjunction with other strategies. Web optimizers should make sure to submit inbound links to link directories and other sources as well. Cross linking helps, but the more inbound links the better, and beyond that, the more variety of links you have, the more effective cross linking between your own sites will be.