Does Google Penalize Pages with Too Many Links?
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s search spam team, has added yet another video to his series in which he instructs site owners and search engine optimizers on how to stay within Google’s quality guidelines and avoid having various pages, or your entire website, penalized in your search engine results.
This time, Cutts tackles the topic of whether it’s acceptable to have more than 100 outbound links on a single page. Will Google view this as spam, or have they evolved in their thinking about pages that spider out to tons of other sites?
A Guideline No More
In the earlier days of Google, the search engine had a guideline asking site owners to restrict outbound links to no more than 100 per page. Even at this time, Google rarely penalized sites that surpassed this guideline, especially if the page only exceeded 100 links by a small amount. However, as technology progressed and the internet grew, it made less and less sense to restrict outbound linking at all, so Google dropped the guideline entirely in 2008 or even earlier.
At the same time, Cutts said that Google reserves the right to penalize a site that packs a page with links in way that appears spammy, either to the site user or to the search engine’s bots. In other words, unless you’re filling up your page with links for no apparent reason and these links bring no value to your users, it’s unlikely that you’ll be penalized by Google even if the page contains hundreds of links.
Cutts also mentioned that the amount of PageRank that flows out of your page is fixed and divided among the number of outbound links on the page. Take this into consideration when building your site, and think twice before including links that don’t create any tangible benefit for your expected audience.
If you’d like, you can view Cutts’ full video below: