Multiple Sites and Multiple IP Addresses

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If you own multiple sites and plan on interlinking them, is it important for them to have different IP’s or different C-Block IP’s? To answer the question we really need to look deeper at a few different factors.

First let’s address why you’re interlinking the sites. Are you interlinking the sites because it makes sense within the context of the page content and is beneficial to the end user? Or are you doing it to increase your link popularity? Of course this is a question a search engine algo is going to have a hard time answering. But it’s just as important to realize that, when people are interlinking for the purpose of the users, the anchor text is often sub-optimal; when they are linking for the sole purpose of boosting inbound anchor text, on the other hand, the anchor is much more focussed. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself how many people uses phrases like “book cheap hotels in NYC online” when linking to other websites. The closer you are to that self-serving line, the more concerned I’d be about having a different IP.

Does the link exist for branding purposes? Look at the links on the bottom of sites like Engadget or Gifts.com. Those links exist because they are owned by the same parent company, they probably aren’t getting a heck of a lot of weight from Google, and it really doesn’t matter if they are on the same IP or not. In general I’d avoid trying to use site-wide footer or sidebar links to get any sort of link popularity. There are better ways to skin that cat.

Next you want to look at the backlink profile for the sites you are interlinking. If the sites have dramatically different backlink profiles, you don’t need to be as concerned about different IP’s. If the sites have some overlap or significant overlap in backlink profile, getting different IP’s is more important. If you haven’t played with Touchgraph give it try. It does a decent job of showing your backlink neighborhood from public data. Imagine what Google can do with the all the data it has.

So, when we get down to it, the multiple IP question really becomes an issue as you enter in gray and black hat areas. If you are going down that path then, yes, you should be concerned about IP’s. You’re also going to want to look into using different hosting companies, different registrars, and different whois info. Using fake whois info can result in you losing your domain if someone files a complaint. It’s not common but it is something you need be aware of. Chances are you’ll need to set up a few DBA’s, use PO boxes, UPS mail boxes or other mail drop services. If you do go that route, contact your lawyer and accountant first as you may expose yourself to certain other tax issues.

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One Response

  1. Completely unrelated to linking, I like to keep certain sites on separate IPs or separate hosts altogether for privacy reasons. I have sites that make up the core of my business model. Those include my business site to attract clients and certain bigger niche blogs and sites that help build credibility in my field. Those I attach my name to very publicly and I don’t mind hosting them on the same IP, even when inter-linked because I only inter-link sites that are relevant (and usually end up merging related ones later anyway).

    On the other hand, I have several of what I like to call “quiet sites.” These are sites I setup solely to build residual ad revenue. They support the development of the larger sites — paying my coders and designers for example. These aren’t the spam-variety MFA sites. As I writer I still stick to the goal of only creating quality content that adds real value. However, if they’re unrelated to my main topic areas I don’t want them diluting things like search results for my name. I also don’t want people being able to do a reverse lookup to see every site I own because they’re on the same IP (I’ve been maliciously targeted in the past by both trolls and hackers, and I find that separating the casual money-makers at least ensures I don’t have to waste extra time cleaning them up when that happens as well.).

    There are certainly other reasons you wouldn’t want people knowing about certain sites — for example, if you write under a pen name and don’t want people figuring out who you are for whatever reason. And some people write about things that could get them in trouble with their boss or others in their lives.

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