SiteWide BackLinks : Good or Bad for SEO?


SiteWide BackLinks : Good or Bad for SEO?

Since Penguin update, the way we get backlinks has changed a lot. Unlike old times, where quantity of backlinks matters the most, today it’s the quality and relevance of backlinks which matters the most. I remember the time (2 years back), when I keep getting paid sidewide backlinks opportunities from many webmasters. But after Penguin hammered down any kind of spam looking backlinks, one of the most common SEO question asked : Is Sitewide backlinks worth or it may have negative impact?

We have seen many quality sites like Wpmu and quickonlinetips were penalized for getting sidewide backlinks using free WordPress themes and that made people think a sitewide link bring negative impact in SEO. Though this is not completely true as mentioned by Matt Cutts in recent webmaster video and in this article, I will be giving my insight on getting sidewide links in the right way.

How Sitewide Backlinks impact SEO?

It doesn’t matter what strategy you are using to get links to your blog, but what matter is how relevant those backlinks are. For example, here at ShoutMeLoud, I talk about Blogging, SEO and WordPress all the time and If I link to sites like ProBlogger, SearchEngineland in an article or even maintain a blogroll in sidebar and giving them sitewide links, it’s completely natural and relevant.  Unnatural and spammy links come into the picture, when I give an exact match backlinks to any irrelevant domains like “Forex trading” “insurance sites” and so on.

Before I give more insight to this, lets have a look at what Matt Cutts have to say about Sitwide links and how Google count them (1 links or many backlinks):

One thing which Matt Cutts made it clear from the video: Sitewide backlinks are not bad until they are natural and relevant. At the same time, getting links from Blog footer like “Site developed by XYZ company” or “Free WordPress theme by XYZ” are not so useful now, as you can’t control where these links are coming from.

Earlier, releasing free WordPress theme or plugin is one of the easy ways to get a Permanent link from all the pages of a domain, but now this method of getting links are considered as spammy and you might be penalize by Penguin algo update. One simple reason is, you can’t control which niche is using your free theme or plugin, and you end up generating tons of irrelevant backlinks to your domain with exact anchor text.

Even if you use Google Disavow link tool, I won’t recommend to get sitewide links using such methods, which is out of your control. Though the best way to get a domain wide link is by asking Webmasters to link to your domain in Blogroll only if it’s relevant or you can get sponsored link (Again relevancy is the key). A three way link pyramid (Old and classic way) is still useful but again do keep in mind that you might be keeping your blog at the edge of getting Google penalty.

What’s the best and natural ways to get sitewide link?

sitewide links on SmashingappsThere are many ways by which you can get natural sitewide links from footer of a site or from BlogRoll, though the axe hangs on both the party : Site giving link and Website which is getting links.

For design and Web development site:

It’s a good idea to get a mention in a Blog post than a sitewide footer link to your Web design and development site. Though you can make an exception if you are developing a site for a relevant niche (design, Web development) and consider getting a sidewide footer link. One thing which you would like to keep in mind is: Get link to your brand name instead of a SEO optimized Anchor text.

BlogRoll links:

Earlier I have talked about benefits of outbound link for SEO, and keeping that in mind, a Blogroll links to relevant niche is not a bad idea. Infact, when you are linking out to an authoritive domain with a sitewide Blogroll link, it’s not going to have a negative impact. I have seen many of my clients maintain and love to give sitewide links to useful Websites in the same niche, and so far I have not seen any of them getting affected by Penguin update. Check out the above image taken from Smashingapps which maintain a sitewide blog roll link to quality and authoritative domains.

One thing which you need to avoid here is: Using two way link exchange, as Google algo considered it as spam and you might get penalize for the same. The ideal way to get Blogroll link is using a 3 way link Pyramid. Even if you are going for paid blogroll link (Yes people do it), make sure it looks natural and you are not linking out to spam site or irrelevant site.

Do let me know if you ever got penalized for getting sidewide Backlinks? What other methods you are using to get domain wide links and how do you make sure, that such links will not give negative impact on your site?

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Article by Harsh Agrawal

Harsh has written 1043 articles.

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  1. says

    Hi Harsh, thanks for the post. I can see how the footer links from, “Theme Developed by XYZ”, is uncontrollable, but what about sitewide footer links from website’s you developed? I’ve read the sitewide footer links topic everywhere, but high ranking sites in my niche put their brand on the bottom of their clients websites. I still have sitewide footer links on my clients and other websites I manage, but haven’t seen any penalties as a result. If you go deeper, if you can control where the sitewide links are coming from, ie. your clients where you even manage their SEO (backlinks for example), how bad can they be eespecially when Matt Cutts says they just count the links as one anyway from an algorithm stand point?

    • says

      I have seen few cases in the past where websites got penalised due to site-wide links. Till the time links are coming from quality sites, it won’t be an issue. I usually add nofollow tag to such links when I add in the footer section of site developed by me.

      • says

        I worked with a SEO company that a year ago and this company made 300 website (for clients) with footer links (Follow). After I left this company they changed there name and domain. Changed all there website made by links to there new domain. And yes it is still working, because they are at #1 in on one of the most important webdesign words in The Netherlands. This type is still working in The Netherlands.

  2. James Munyeria says


    I saw some Guys on freelance site selling some back links like 100 plus . is it advisable to buy this service ? my site has pr 1

  3. says

    That’s why I suggest to my client that even you have a lot of backlinks but irrevalant to your site. Your rank will not increase unless you have the quality backlinks. I just recently know the definition of site-wide backlink and how it effect to the websites.

  4. Tarun says

    What is the difference between site wide and not site wide backlinks ? I am always getting not site wide backlinks and my sitewide backlink count is 0.

    • Steve Master eMailSmith says

      A site-wide link is a link that would appear on all (or many) pages of the same website, with the exact same anchor text, title, target, etc…

      Usually, these are links that are placed in the footer (the “powered by” type of links) or on a sidebar (a blogroll link, for example: “WordPress”) as part of the website’s deployment frame, or eventually, as a result of the site owner’s choice (as a personal preference, or as a paid link).


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