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Do search engines penalise ‘Home’ links and/or buttons?

My work colleague has recently had conversations with some SEO consultants and after those conversations she has come to the conclusion that having a link to the home page on the home page will have a negative effect on the websites SEO.

And because of this we are now building websites that don't have a home link show until you are on any page other than the home page.

If the above argument is true then surely then if we are on the about page of a website we shouldn't show a navigation item for the page we are on, and that would the case for any other page of the website...

So my question is:

Does having a home navigation item on the home page have a negative effect on the websites SEO?

And if not:

Why has my colleague come to the above conclusion? Could she be misunderstanding something more important about home links on the home page regarding SEO?

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marked as duplicate by John Conde Nov 24 '12 at 3:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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What reasons did the SEO consultants give for not using a home link on the homepage? (The only one I can think of is that it might cause search engine page crawlers to enter an infinite loop if they follow the home link, but I suspect they're all smart enough to work around this by now.) –  Nick Nov 19 '12 at 11:44
    
I don't know the conversation that my work colleague had with the SEO consultant. I cannot argue the case with her until I have evidence that it does not effect website SEO –  Brady Nov 19 '12 at 12:50
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This does sound like an "urban myth". Search engines do try to operate on what might be called "common sense" and I'm struggling to think of anything "common sense" that would cause a search engine to actively penalise a page for linking to itself, particularly since this practise is very common. It should be simply ignored. There are, however, several non-SEO advantages for a page linking to itself: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/23917/… Incidentally, the stack exchange homepage links to itself. –  w3d Nov 19 '12 at 13:10
    
@Brady The burden of proof is on the SEO consultants to demonstrate that Home links on the homepage damage search rankings. If someone at your company's already made a decision based on such evidence, I would gently ask for clarification. i.e. "That's interesting. What was their thinking behind removing Home links on the homepage?" With that evidence in hand, you can then work to confirm or disprove it by asking here. There does not seem to be a widely-recorded reason to omit Home links on homepages, so we can only guess at their rationale. –  Nick Nov 19 '12 at 15:41
    
I feel this question should be closed as it has no real answer. (1) it depends on the search engine. (2) the search engine's ever changing unknown algorithms. (3) the question just fosters many opinions. Like mine: SEO people often provide opinions based on no real evidence or science. We developers link to to the home page for the user, & that is all. Content > SEO. A large percentage of people trying to do SEO get paranoid or read baseless articles with no evidence & get all revved up for nothing. Perhaps this SEO had nothing left to input on this week & needs to meet the monthly quota. –  Anthony Hatzopoulos Nov 24 '12 at 0:40

4 Answers 4

I wouldn't hide navigation links for pages your visitors are on. Build websites for people not robots. Let people know where they are on your site. If you do not have a home link that won't affect your SEO. You do realize most sites which do not have home links in main navigation are 99% of the time linking their logo in the top right to their home page. That itself is technically a link back to the home page.

Look at any website if there's no home link and I browse 10 pages are you really forcing me to hit my back button 10 times to go to your home page? It's not logical. Just tell your partner to look at any website and point one out which does not link to it's home page in either the header navigation, the logo, and or footer.

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"hit my back button 10 times". You seem to have digressed into discussing home links in general - from other pages - I don't think that is in question. The OP is specifically querying the use of home links just on the home page itself (pages linking to themselves). –  w3d Nov 19 '12 at 14:17
    
zappos links their logo on the home page to the home page. So do millions of other sites. I wouldn't waste time on this and simply link something either the logo or a home link. There's hardly any information about this. And Matt Cutts suggests letting page rank flow and not to try and sculpt it internally, which is what they seem to be getting at. –  Anagio Nov 19 '12 at 17:42

No, you won't have any negative SEO unless you seemingly do this in an irregular fashion. For example, 30 links to your homepage from your homepage~ with only 31 links on your homepage.

From such a linking pattern, it would be quite clear that you are attempting to pervert the natural direction of your sites internal page rank.

To answer your question directly though, no PageRank would be lost from a page linking to itself, however it does have the potential to limit the PageRank that would otherwise have flowed to other pages on your site.

Also, you would really be killing userability in making these adjustments that go against all common sense. What you would suggest is extremely unnatural.

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It is bad.

A rule of thumb in Website Usability (hence SEO) is: never have link that does nothing on your page.

This is why on breadcrumbs, the last item is never a link, and this is why the homepage link on the homepage should be only a label and not a link.

It is not a disaster but not good either.

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I strongly disagree. I agree with your example of convenience by setting the final link in a breadcrumb to just text, rather than a link, but the link that you provided isn't actually on the same topic, plus I would argue is slightly outdated. The article was written in 2006, a time when <noscript> was actually still quite topical. But nowadays, so long as your website obeys userbility principles, you can do what you want... By encouraging a user to not link to the current page, (depending on the circumstances) you could actually be causing userbility issues that otherwise wouldn't occur. –  Laykes Nov 20 '12 at 14:57
    
I read your opinion and i disagree with you too :) and to talk about here is off-topic so.. thanks for the comment. –  YardenST Nov 20 '12 at 15:17
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It's not offtopic. It's not like I down voted you, I am just merely pointing out to other people reading why I think that while you support your point with evidence, the link is irrelevant and principles outdated. –  Laykes Nov 20 '12 at 16:03
    
I meant that I don;t think it is outdated, and it is off topic to talk about whether it is out dated or no. –  YardenST Nov 20 '12 at 16:08

I've never heard of such a thing, but in any case, I think that having a primary navigation that changes on different pages could confuse users and negatively impact usability. Users reference the primary navigation as an anchor, to help them understand what the site has to offer. If they're on one page, and there's no link home, and then another page (as you logically suggest if the principle is not to have a link to the page one is on) is missing the About link, etc., they could find this disconcerting.

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