What Are Multiple Links? (+ Do They Help SEO?)
By now, most people dabbling in SEO are aware that not all backlinks are created equal and that quick-fix link-building schemes that promise the world are never worth it. However, there is still plenty of debate about how effective different link-building methods are, which methods deserve the most focus, and which simply won’t deliver significant results, even if they’re safe.
The impact of getting multiple links from one referring domain to your site is one of these debated areas. Today we’ll get to the bottom of whether you should be trying to earn these links for your website.
What Are Multiple Links?
Backlinks are hyperlinks on one website that link to another website, passing link juice and increasing PageRank in the process. PageRank is a scoring mechanism internal to Google that determines how valuable and authoritative a webpage is, which influences where it appears in search results.
Backlinks from high-quality webpages in your niche are valuable because they pass more link juice along to your webpage, helping you get discovered in search. It’s well understood that the more high-quality backlinks you can get, the better.
Additionally, it’s better to have fewer backlinks provided they come from websites with high domain authority (DA) that are relevant to your industry than to have a high number of low-quality, unnatural backlinks.
Multiple links are backlinks from a single referring domain pointing to your website. They might exist on the same page, or different pages of the same domain. For example, you might write multiple guest posts on a single domain, resulting in multiple links on different pages.
If those multiple backlinks come from an excellent, high-DA, highly relevant domain, will you enjoy an increased amount of link juice from that domain? Or does Google discount the value of multiple links since they’re all coming from one source, and therefore aren’t worth as much as if they came from a variety of sources?
This is a common question that thoughtful SEOs who want to make sure they’re constructing the best possible SEO campaign ask themselves. Let’s get into how exactly multiple links impact SEO.
Multiple Links and SEO
When it comes to multiple links and SEO, the big question is: how does link juice flow in the presence of multiple links pointing to a single target?
While we can’t see behind Google’s curtains to identify exactly how their algorithm handles multiple links, we can use data and metrics that are available to us to deduce the likely effect of multiple links.
Research that has been done on this subject reveals that multiple links do provide a positive impact on PageRank.
A study conducted by Neil Patel evaluated different link-building techniques and found that creating 3 links from a single domain improved rankings more than when just 1 link was created after a 180-day evaluation period.
It’s worth noting that the 3 links were on different pages within the same domain and that the sample size was 200 websites. However, the results provide a solid indication that multiple links from highly relevant sites can be great for SEO.
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider the fact that of the websites that rank in the top 10 of Google’s search results for at least one keyword, nearly 80% of those have multiple links pointing to their domain.
In short: a significant majority of sites that rank at the top of Google’s search results have multiple links in their backlink portfolio.
This means that the fears some SEOs have about multiple links looking unnatural to Google, and therefore potentially flagging your domain in Google’s system, are largely misplaced. Multiple links are very much a natural part of the internet landscape, and it shouldn’t be surprising that websites that are fans of your content should want to link to it more than once.
Benefits of Multiple Links
Now that we know multiple links are part of an effective SEO strategy for tons of successful websites, let’s get into all the reasons you should be using them. Not only can they boost your rankings, but they can create plenty of other benefits for your business as well. Here are some of the major perks of multiple links:
- They pass more link juice – From an SEO perspective, this is the big question people have about multiple links. If additional link juice wasn’t passed after the first link, there would be no point in trying to gain multiple links from a single domain. Luckily, the evidence points to multiple links from one authoritative domain passing more link juice than just one link from that domain would.
- Extra referral traffic – Links help build rankings, but they can also be a source of referral traffic. This is especially true when they are well–placed and relevant to the context in which they appear. Multiple links provide more opportunities for people to click through your content and discover your business through referral traffic.
- Enhance UX – Multiple links can enhance the experience of readers, which should always be the goal of any piece of content. If each link provides something valuable, then each can play a role in improving UX.
- Reach a broader audience – Consider multiple links appearing in different pieces of content on a domain. How likely are visitors to see every piece of content on a website? Slim to none. It’s more likely that each link appearing in a different piece of content will be seen by a partially overlapping but not identical group of visitors.
- They appear natural and organic – Sure, there is going to be some upper limit at which multiple links start to look suspicious, but most of the time multiple links come across as natural and authentic. People naturally link to sources they like and trust, so there’s no reason to fear a reasonable amount of links from one domain looking unnatural.
- They can increase individual page authority – When a backlink points to a specific page on your domain, not only can your overall domain authority (DA) increase, the page authority (PA) of the page increases. Pages with higher PA are more likely to rank highly in Google. Multiple links pointing to different pages mean that you can enjoy increased PA across different pieces of content, giving more pages a chance to rank.
- It’s easier – Once you have a link from a domain, it’s much easier to keep getting links from that domain. Firstly, they already are aware of and like your content! Secondly, you may already have a relationship with them making it easier to reach out and request additional links in the future.
There are plenty of reasons to love multiple links!
Multiple Links Best Practices
Of course, as with all link-building practices, there are some key points to keep in mind to ensure the best results and that you don’t fall afoul of Google’s webmaster guidelines. Let’s go over what these are.
A diversified profile is still the goal
While multiple links can be great for SEO, don’t let that take your focus off the fact that having a diversified profile of backlinks from a wide range of referring domains is what Google’s bots love to see. Think of it this way: an authoritative, high-DA website that loves your content and has linked to it multiple signs indicates to Google that you have great content that is seen as valuable by at least this domain. If they link to you again and again it’s a strong vote in your favor.
But Google doesn’t only care what one high-DA website thinks. Their algorithm is meant to identify the best sources online for any given search query. Multiple high-quality domains casting votes of confidence for your website through backlinks remains the ultimate indicator that your content should appear at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Multiple links can be a part of your backlink profile, but in the big picture, you still want to be getting links from multiple sources.
Different URLs are best
We briefly mentioned how page authority works: different pages on the same domain can have different levels of page authority, with a higher score indicating a higher chance of appearing at the top of SERPs.
When securing multiple links, take any opportunity you have to request that varied URLs on your site are linked to. Whether the links appear on the same domain or on the same page, varying the destination URL can help you boost PA across the board.
Vary the link text
Similarly, varied link text is preferred by Google. It looks more natural and is more likely to be descriptive and reflect the context in which the link appears.
Another important tip here is to avoid stuffing keywords into the link text. This used to be a common practice, but can actually look spammy and work against you now. Instead, link text should naturally flow with the sentence in which it appears.
There are likely diminishing returns
While the rate at which returns diminish is unclear, it’s almost certainly the case that the 15th link from a domain won’t pass as much link juice as the 5th.
This is another reason to vary your link-building strategy and ensure you’re securing links from plenty of other domains.
Our verdict on multiple links: go ahead and get them! There’s no reason to limit your best referring domains to just one link. After all, it’s tough to find great websites to secure backlinks from.