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Lots of big sites share their contents via 'add to your site' scripts. (scripts, we use on left column etc.. my portfolio script, sport news script etc...) Is this harmful to content owner site? It has back links, and you can not control who will use it. We also know that site-wide links are usually toxic status for Google.

I'm trying to make 'add to your site' system to share my content. my visitors will call this via JavaScript and iframe from my site. Will this be a toxic link factory?

If I shorten the URLs via goo.gl shortener, can I protect my site? ( Of course I would have to change all the URLs: hrefs, img srcs, etc.)

  • How are you going to control/police duplicate content? – closetnoc Jan 8 '15 at 2:34
  • no; its just a script, shows lates news's headline and summary(actually its 50% of the news.. i didnt think this duplicate content problem)... it redirect user to my site. – deniz Jan 8 '15 at 7:47
  • So it's just a feed then? Like an RSS feed - a list of links that point to another domain? – zigojacko Jan 8 '15 at 8:40
  • it contains headline, summary, 1 related image and 'click to read more' link per news.. and the script is listing last 10 news from my site. yes; its like rss feed, with a little more content.. – deniz Jan 8 '15 at 10:47
  • You will want to read my comment on one of the answers about site wide links that you will want to avoid which is easily done. Is there a reason why RSS would not work in this case? You can use a script to provide the RSS and exercise some control over who can use the list. Does this sound like something that would work? – closetnoc Jan 8 '15 at 16:14
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The typical term for links from your content on other sites that is fetched by JavaScript is "Widget SEO".

The biggest danger in distributing widgets is that Google may view the links that go with them as "unnatural" and penalize your site. Matt Cutts has a video about the subject where he strongly advises using nofollow on any link that goes along with a widget.

From an SEO standpoint, using nofollow negates the SEO value you get from widgets. You can still use clear widget links for SEO as long as you follow some quality guidelines. I've used widget SEO successfully for a couple different sites.

  • Use your brand name or domain name as link anchor text. Most of the penalties that Google has doled out for widget SEO are for sites that use keyword rich anchor text. Here is one story of a site penalized for using keyword rich widget link anchor text: Widgetbait Gone wild
  • Allow any links to be removed from the widget. It is possible to enforce the existence of links either through technical means (the JavaScript checks for the link and won't display the content without it), or through contractual agreements (widget terms of service). Google has said that not allowing link removal from the widget is blackhat and worth a penalty.

I've never seen any problems from sitewide links or even bad neighborhoods that use widgets. One of my widgets was used on every page on a network of seven pornography websites. I was somewhat worried about it, but it never caused a penalty. Of course, these links were a small percentage of the total links that these widgets brought in.

  • There are still dangers of sitewide links that has to be paid attention to. I assume the nofollow fixes some of this, though it is not exactly clear that I have seen so far. I like your putting in your personal experience. I just worry about sitewide links and perhaps a bit too much. I know there is a safe number out there where sitewide links works okay. I just do not know what it is. I rather like to caution people even though I am sure that there is a safe limit built into the process. Just being paranoid. ;-) – closetnoc Jan 8 '15 at 18:36
  • Most of the penalties I have heard about for site-wide links related to paid links and keyword rich anchor text. I've seen penalties for including site-wide paid links in WordPress themes for example. You won't have problems when site-wide link are not paid, not brand anchor text, and only a small percentage of your overall inbound link portfolio. – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 8 '15 at 19:35
  • The target of the penalty were the web designers who were to your point adding branded links if you consider their generally unknown domain name a brand. At that time, it was perfectly valid to use a link back to the template designer and a reasonable quid pro quo. The J.C. Penny case was a simple link bug. No branding or obvious keyword loading, but the culmination of all the links with a one or a few simple keywords each was enough to drive huge traffic artificially and shutdown/redirect valid search during a holiday season. I am sure there is a limit. But I would not bet on a ratio. – closetnoc Jan 8 '15 at 23:33
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Firstly, site-wide links themselves are rarely "toxic". Usually they are just ignored by search engines.

However, if a link to your site comes from a "toxic" (very low-quality) site, potentially it could damage your ranking. But the chance of this happening is extremely low: spam sites are just spam and don't usually add these kinds of scripts. And the spam sites should be massively outweighed by good sites.

The other thing to note is that these things use JavaScript, so there is no actual HTML link in the page source - it uses JS to make the link. So some search engines will not see the link, while Google (which does parse JS) may treat it differently to a normal link.

As a precaution, it could be a good idea to add rel="nofollow" to the links.

  • Sorry. But his is not quite true. If you are the target of a lot of sitewide links, you can be penalized by Google ever since Penguin 2.0. This was designed to combat web design companies gaming the ranking systems with links in footers as well as a famous case where J.C. Penny and others gamed Google and was manually de-listed for a long time as a result. As well: support.google.com/webmasters/answer/66356?hl=en where is says Widely distributed links in the footers or templates of various sites is a Google no no. – closetnoc Jan 8 '15 at 16:11
  • @closetnoc Perhaps, but it's not clear whether there is actually a penalty for that or if they are just ignored. And it doesn't seem clear to me which site they are talking about (the one with the site-wide links, or the one receiving the links... maybe both). But I made a small change to the answer, and added a solution to mitigate all the issues. – DisgruntledGoat Jan 8 '15 at 17:19
  • I think there is a tolerable limit to this. As well, I assume that nofollow has an effect. And of course it is the link target that gets hit. Here is one answer I wrote: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/59290/… and some other links: blog.kissmetrics.com/penalized-by-google and rewindseo.com/sitewide-links-case-studies There are many other pages too. Admittedly, there is some fuzziness surrounding the answer, but I know you can clarify it easily! – closetnoc Jan 8 '15 at 17:35
  • the biggest backlink controller agencies list these the sites, which uses my javascript widget as a link. i mean: google see's links even its in iframe or javascript..and they rate most of all toxic. i dont know why; even %80 of useage from blog sites. – deniz Jan 10 '15 at 1:37

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