In the field of search engine optimization, there’s a tactic called “cross linking SEO”.
And it’s a handy method for getting higher search engine rankings for your website.
But what is cross linking in SEO? And how can you use it to your advantage?
That’s the topic I’ll cover in this post.
Below, you’ll learn all about cross linking and SEO, including what it is, the benefits it provides, and how to do it the right way to give your pages a better chance of ranking for certain keywords.
What Is Cross Linking In SEO?
Cross linking in SEO is the process of linking two websites together. The purpose of cross linking is to increase the number of inbound links to a page with relevant SEO keywords. Cross linking in SEO can help a page rank higher for specific keyword phrases and generate referral traffic.
Types of Cross Linking
- Natural Cross Links: These are inbound links that occur naturally when one website editor chooses to cross link to another website. Natural links (or organic cross links) happen when a content editor wants to reference another website in the written material.
- Outreach Cross Links: These are inbound links created by reaching out to other website owners and asking for a link placement on their site. This can be in exchange for a written guest post or payment to get a cross link on an existing piece of content on the site.
- Private Cross Links: These are inbound links that are created by the website owner themselves who has their own network of websites called a “private blog network” or PBN. A PBN only exists to link to a central website to influence that website’s rankings in the search engines. (See what is PBN backlinks for more details.)
Now you know the basic idea behind what is cross linking in SEO. But there are some additional things you need to consider before you cross link two websites together, be it your own sites or through outreach.
Next, we’ll look at the top cross linking SEO benefits and then go over how to do it the right way so you can get maximum value out of this search engine optimization strategy.
Benefits of Cross Linking Websites
Increases Inbound Links
The top benefit of cross linking is that it increases the number of inbound links to a webpage. And the more links a page has, the higher it can rank in Google.
Backlinko published ranking data after analyzing 11.8 million Google search results and discovered that “the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10.”
Therefore, the number of cross links your site gets is a critical ranking signal.
Boosts Domain Authority
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz that ranges from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
And while DA is calculated by a number of things, the most important metric for cross linking is the number of linking root domains to a website.
So, the more websites on the Internet that link to a particular site, the higher the Domain Authority becomes for that site, which makes it easier to rank for more keywords.
Boost Page Authority
Page Authority (PA) is another score developed by Moz that predicts how well a specific page will rank on the search engine result pages (SERP). PA scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.
Page Authority takes Domain Authority into account when coming up with a PA score for a particular webpage. And according to Google, “if other prominent websites link to the page (what is known as PageRank), that has proven to be a good sign that the information is well trusted.”
Therefore, cross linking can help boost the Page Authority for a specific page on your website so it has a better chance of ranking higher in Google.
Helps a Page Rank Higher
We’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating: cross linking is a proven SEO strategy that can help all of your pages rank higher in Google.
And according to Search Engine Land, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said the other two ranking factors besides RankBrain (i.e. machine learning-based search engine algorithm) were links and content.
I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.Andrey Lipattsev
So, good cross linking has been officially confirmed by Google itself to achieve higher rankings and search visibility for your content.
Increases Referral Traffic
Another benefit of cross linking SEO is that it increases the amount of referral traffic to your website.
When links to your content appear on other websites, the readers of those sites may click on the links and visit your pages. This is a good way to increase your traffic outside of the search engines.
How Do I Link to Another Website With Cross Linking?
To link to another website with cross linking, you’ll need to own more than one website with content published on that site.
The best method here is to have a website on its own domain, but you can try this process out by using free web 2.0 sites as explained in my guide increasing your SEO traffic in 30 days.
After you have another site set up, then you can follow the steps below to cross link them together.
1. Open a relevant page on the website
The first step for how to link to another website with cross linking is to open a relevant page on the linking website.
This step is important because topic relevancy matters in SEO.
For example, you wouldn’t want to cross link a webpage about car insurance to a page on computer keyboards. Instead, you want to use cross linking and SEO to connect pages that are topically realted, such as a page about cars or insurance to the page on car insurance.
2. Open the page editor
After you choose a relevant page for cross linking, the next step is to open the page editor so you can start the process of adding in the cross link for SEO.
3. Choose the keyword to link to another website
Before you insert the cross link into the page, you want to choose the right keyword to link between the websites.
The anchor text for the cross link matters a lot and can help a page rank higher for a specific keyword. So you always want to pick keywords or phrases that the target page is already being optimized for with on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
For example, I want a particular page on the SEO Chatter website to rank for the keyword phrase, “how to learn SEO without a website”. To get the most value out of crosslinking in SEO, I would make sure that those keywords were on the page for me to add the hyperlink to.
If the keyword phrase does exist, then you would simply add it where it seemed natural on the page.
4. Add the hyperlink to cross link the websites together
Once you’ve chosen a keyword and confirmed that it’s on the webpage, the next step is to hyperlink the two websites together with that word or phrase.
If we use the example given in step 3, then I would cross link the following keyword phrase from another website to the specific page I want to rank for the term: how to learn SEO without a website.
5. Save the page
The last step is to save the page so your changes take effect.
Now the cross linking is in place and the SEO value will be assessed by Google when it crawls the linking page again.
Cross Linking Tips
Cross linking may seem like an easy process to do, but there are some important tips to keep in mind when using this method for SEO.
Below are the top things you need to remember when doing cross linking between your own websites.
Only Cross Link Unique Content
Make sure that the two pages being cross linked together have their own unique and original content. You don’t want to post the same piece of content on another website and then cross link them together.
Choose Relevant Pages
Make sure that the pages you cross link together for SEO purposes are topically relevant. A topically relevant page has more SEO weight than a non-relevant page.
Use Keyword-Rich Anchor Text
The whole purpose of cross linking is to improve your keyword rankings with SEO. So make sure to use keyword-rich anchor text in the words you’re hyperlinking to the other website.
Don’t use generic text like “click here” or “visit this page” as that will dilute the SEO power of the cross link.
(Note: This advice also applies to internal links as mentioned in tip #8 on my post about how to improve your keyword search results for any page.)
Make the Cross Linking Natural
Don’t try to force a cross link into an article. A good cross link will naturally flow with the surrounding text.
If you can’t find a good place in the content to put the cross link with your target keyword, then write a new sentence or paragraph so it has a natural placement.
Don’t Overdo Cross Links On Each Site
If you own two or more websites, then you may be tempted to cross link over and over again between those sites. This is one of the most common grey hat SEO techniques people use to gain an advantage in the search engines.
But that strategy can backfire. Especially if you own both sites, as it can create a digital SEO footprint.
It’s perfectly fine to cross link a few times between different (and relevant) pages between each site, but don’t over it. For example, cross linking 3 to 5 times on a large site with more than 100 pages is acceptable, but a website with less than 20 pages would look spammy.
Don’t Create a Cross Linking Ring
Creating multiple websites and cross linking them all together is a bad SEO practice and can get your sites penalized by Google.
A common example of a cross linking ring is when website A links to website B which links to website C, and so forth. And each of those websites links back to one central site in order to increase its domain authority and keyword rankings.
The problem with cross linking rings is that it violates Google’s webmaster guidelines. Plus, these link rings are easy to spot because of their digital footprint.
So just don’t do it.
Host Each Site On a Different IP Address
When you have multiple websites on the same hosting account or IP address, it’s easy to find out that a single entity owns those sites. And, if you’re cross linking sites for SEO purposes and Google finds out, it can deindex all of your sites.
Therefore, if you want to use cross linking in SEO safely, then you should avoid all footprints by using different web hosting accounts or VPS providers for each website domain. This will spread your domains out over different IPs, nameservers, and SOA record email addresses so it’s harder to detect you as the single owner.
Cross Linking In SEO Summary
I hope you enjoyed this guide on what is cross linking in SEO.
As you discovered, cross linking SEO is a powerful way to increase the domain authority for your site and page authority for particular pages you want to rank higher in the search engines. Google itself admits that inbound links are a ranking factor and cross linking is a good way to makes sure your pages get the rankings they deserve.
And if you do want to try cross linking and SEO, make sure to follow my additional tips so you can keep your web properties safe and secure from a ranking penalty.