Google spokesman Matt Cutts recently announced the search engine giant has changed the guidelines limiting webmasters to 100 outgoing links per page. Webmaster Guidelines indicated that web owners who exceed the limit would be penalised. Subsequently, SEO technicians have refrained from including more than 100 links on any one page.
However, the Big G has not actually enforced the rule since 2008, and have now dropped the rule altogether – providing the links are not spammy. In his usual video speech, Cutts explains the guideline was initially introduced with end users in mind – and a mass of links from one page can look pretty daunting.
However, given the number of websites that provide links to relevant and useful information such as Wikipedia or Project Free TV, the search engine giant quietly dropped the rule without making a song and dance about it. Google Webmaster Guidelines has been updated to read a “reasonable,” number of links are allowed.
What is a “reasonable” number of page links?
Unfortunately, Cutts does not explain what his employers mean by reasonable. However, let´s not forget about Google´s initial idea for the rule – your site has to be user friendly. If you do require a high volume of links on your website, make sure your list is easy to browse through and the websites you are linking to are authentic.
Let´s not forget there is still a threat of a penalty if you are linking to spammy sites or your webpage is not user-friendly. The Big G takes into account the quality of websites you are linking to when assessing the rank for a webpage because it is often the case that a webpage overloaded with outgoing links is a link farm.
Organising a website with over 100 links
The more links you have on a page, the more organized the page should be so be very careful how you present the information. The best way to get around this is to organize your linked content into lists that are clearly marked and the subjects easy to find. An alphabet system is crucial whether this is an entire A to Z list or whether you have bunched subjects into categories.
If you have too much information to fit on one page, for example if the user has to scroll through long lists, you can put hyperlinks in at the top of the page. Alternatively create other pages. The key factor here is to design your webpages with your visitors in mind – what is the quickest and easiest way they can find information. Essentially, your outgoing link page is an index to content.
Just to clarify the 100 links rule only applies to webpages and not entire websites. There is still a consensus in the SEO community that wherever possible you should not exceed 100 links on any one page of your website, but having said that, if you have no other option you can go-ahead with confidence knowing you will not be penalised by Google.