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How should I link to a site that I have a personal relationship with?

How should I link to a site that I have a personal relationship with? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: We have a question from Tom Critchlow asking from London, UK. Tom says, “If a site owner has a personal relationship with another unrelated site in a different niche and adds a link to their site from his, this link looks a lot like a paid link. Since paid links can harm your site, what is the best practice in this situation?” Well, one thing that would be completely safe, for example, is disclosure, disclosure, disclosure, right? You’re only making this link once, so, you know, according to the question, it’s not like you’re adding links all over the web. You’re talking about one link from site A to site B. So, take some time, write, you know, three or four sentences about why you like this site and why you think it’s cool, you know. You can even say this is not a paid link. This is some editorial link that I really love. This guy I’ve known since college and it turns out he turned out to work on this sort of widget and I worked on this other kind of thing, but I think his site is cool, right? That helps your users. It gives them context. It tells them where they’re going to land and why they might want to click on that link. So, especially if you’re only adding that link once, why not give people a little bit more information, and then some competitor who’s looking at your site will be like, “Oh, okay, that’s just someone he knows and he thinks that site is really cool.” So, there’s no much–not much harm, it’s really easy to make a link like that. It takes, like, two extra minutes, and then, you won’t need to worry about, “Oh, no, what if my competitor comes and looks at my site?” Because it’s abundantly clear, you’re giving all the information to your visitors right when they land on your page.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: