How Sitewide Links Affect SEO

The ability of a website to attract and convert traffic depends on many factors. One such factor is the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking of the website. A highly ranked SEO website can appear at the top of Google search results when a user enters a query for products offered on the website.

Good SEO ranking defines the ability of a website to sell and give profits to the owner. One technique used by site owners for years to improve their rankings is the use of sitewide links on their websites.

Sitewide links are backlinks that appear on all the pages of a website. Usually, these are links that are placed in the header, footer, and sidebar of the website.

In the recent past years, people would insert sitewide links on their websites to quickly improve the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) rankings of their websites.

SERP ranking refers to the list of page results displayed by Google or another search engine in response to your search query.

SEO Warrington, a company of SEO experts, explains that this method of quick back linking was useful to website owners in the past, but not anymore because of the reasons explained in the paragraphs that follow. But first, we shall examine a brief history of sitewide linking in recent years.

Why Sitewide Linking Became Popular

Back then, back linking used to focus on the quantity rather than the quality of search results. Website owners aimed at increasing SERP rankings by ensuring a long list of results for every search done on their website.

That was until Google introduced the Penguin Updates in April 2012 which led to some websites being penalized, and their rankings falling abruptly at the same time.

Google aimed to have the Penguin updates catch websites that were spamming Google results by using link networks that were intended solely for boosting Google rankings. Other culprits included websites that were buying and using links to boost their rankings.

How Sitewide links lost Popularity

The Penguin updates by Google would effectively hurt any building of backlinks that were deemed not natural by Google. Many forms of website backlinks were penalized, and the websites using them lost greatly in SERB rankings.

Google generally considered any unnatural link as posing a danger to your website. In the process, Sitewide links for many websites were also attacked by the Penguin updates.

This prompted the majority of website owners to discontinue the use of sitewide links and start searching for alternative techniques that would boost their SERP rankings without attracting penalties from Google.

This marked the end of an era where massive sitewide linking was the most available option for any website owner to beat the competition for SERP ranking.

Not All Sitewide Links Hurt SEO

Some types of sitewide links are natural and therefore do not in any way disadvantage your website SEO.

These include the links you insert on your website, as well as the links that another person may put on their site to link with your website.

SEO Warrington asserts that such links are neither likely to lower the search the rankings of your website, nor to hurt SEO.

It may be advisable to safely retain such links in your website, and to use them without fear of either attracting penalties from Google, or compromising the website SEO in any way.

Some Sitewide Links Do Not Aid SEO

SEO Warrington informs that links placed in your website’s header, footer, or sidebar may not be of any assistance to SEO. This is because Google pays very little attention to these links.

Such sitewide links are of no consequence where site SEO is concerned. Having the links, therefore, offers no advantage to the website in the face of search engines like Google.

Perhaps it would be advisable to remove such links from your website if present or to never bother to insert the links on the website at all.

When to Consider Sitewide Links as Natural and Harmless

SEO Warrington views some sitewide links as being harmless to your website because they are natural. The first examples include those links that appear on the page footer and those found in a popup banner on the website.

Although such a link will appear everywhere on the website, it is natural and harmless. It will neither attract a penalty from Google’s Penguin nor compromise SEO for your website.

Other examples of natural links are those that connect two websites belonging to one owner. However, for these links to be treated as natural, the two linked websites must be dealing in similar or closely related topics. Others may be dealing with similar or identical products. Otherwise, the links will be treated by Google as harmful, and they are likely to have the website penalized.

Avoiding Penalties For Using Sitewide Links

Our experts, SEO Warrington, recommend taking the following measures to ensure your sitewide links will not be perceived as spam by Google and hence attract penalties.

First, let your anchor text never contain keywords. Instead, use other wording for your link. For example, you may use as a link the company name, a product name, or the name of the website itself.

Second, ensure that the website you link to is very relevant to your website so that the linking will appear natural to google. A relevant website is one that deals with a similar topic or one that handles products that are closely related to your site’s products.


Sitewide linking is no longer useful as an SEO tool for your website. After the Penguin updates in 2012, this technique has been known to cause more trouble than SEO benefits to owners of websites like you. Indeed, many websites have had to face penalties from Google.

However, we at SEO Warrington insist that there are still some types of sitewide links that will not attract penalties because they are natural. Such links are therefore safe to use on your website.

But then, these so-called safe links too may not be of much benefit to your website SEO either. We advise you to forget the sitewide links and adopt other available SEO tools that pose fewer problems because they are more acceptable to Google. Contact Blue Whale Media Ltd today for any advice regarding your website SEO, we shall be happy to assist your website to grow. You can contact us via Email: [email protected] or call 03332101218.