Google’s John Mueller joined an interesting conversation on Mastodon about linking between websites with different languages and whether or not it can affect rankings.
The person who asked the question was concerned that getting links from a non-English language site to their English language site might negatively impact that site’s ranking.
There is a belief that linking from a website in another language could affect the ability of English language websites to rank geographically in English speaking countries.
The original poster wrote:
“Hi @johnmu, I had a question.
We have several non-English language websites and would like to help our English language website rank better.
Can linking from non-English pages help the English site in its pagerank and ranking?”
John Mueller reasonably assumed that the person asking the question was talking about linking their own non-English versions to their own English-language websites.
So that’s the context of John’s first answer, a context that changed twice as the conversation progressed.
John’s first answer:
“@shahram Networking of language versions is generally a good idea, regardless of ranking.”
Are paid non-English language links okay for English language websites?
The questioner next mentioned that these links were from paid blog networks, which caused the context of the question to change significantly.
You mentioned that the links came from a private blog network (PBN).
A private blog network is a way to link to a paid blog network. Everyone knows what it is, but they still call it a private network, presumably because it’s secret.
The person who asked the question replied:
“@johnmu If I want to pay for it, is that still a good idea?
Buy from PBNs in different languages?”
John Mueller, of course, provided a predictable answer.
“@shahram oh it’s more about other people’s websites? Paid links are link spam and violate search spam policies.
If it’s just links between versions of your own content, you can control that without paying or anything.”
Of course, purchased paid links in different languages
The person who asked the question changed the context of the question again and mentioned that they didn’t buy the links from the PBNs.
They insisted that the link was acquired without any payment on their part, that it was acquired naturally.
That’s not as far-fetched as it might sound.
It is an extremely common practice for paid link sellers to link to two relevant websites in addition to the one paid link.
Sometimes it is an internal link, an external link and a link to the paying customer.
For some reason it’s almost always three links, one of those routine exercises that everyone does.
The point, however, is that linking to a regular site is believed to help the Paid Blog Network site look more natural, and perhaps the site of the person asking the question is one of them.
The person wanted to know if they should disavow the links from the non-English speaking shady websites.
John Mueller replied:
“@shahram There is no reason to reject links just because the linked website is in a different language.
Due to the language of the site, these are not bad links.
For some reason, this remains a common myth.”
Links from different languages are fine
John Mueller confirmed that links from websites written in another language are not bad. He also called it a myth that these links could have negative repercussions.
As is usual with certain types of questions, he didn’t confirm if there was any ranking advantage.
He didn’t say these links were good for ranking. John made the context of his first answer clear beyond the context of the ranking with the sentence: “Regardless of ranking…”
“Regardless of rankingthe networking of language versions is basically a good idea.”
However, I’ve been hearing for a number of years that links from websites in other languages work. That may have changed, I don’t know.
I have never tested this.
It makes sense that a link from another language wouldn’t be a bad thing, because that kind of thing happens naturally.
Google tends not to allow naturally occurring patterns to negatively impact ranking.
An example of a naturally occurring linking pattern is the reciprocal link, where two websites are linked together.
Read the original Mastodon discussion:
Hi @johnmu, I had a question…
Featured image from Shutterstock/Asier Romero