It is common for sites to link to others within their niche when talking about industry news and developments. This is considered normal and should raise no red flags on the part of Google or of market competitors. However, when a link goes out to a totally unrelated site then it might get suspected as a paid link, even if the reality is that the site owner has a personal relationship to the other one. How should people go about this situation to avoid any negative effects?

For Matt Cutts, it’s all about disclosure. As long as this happens only once in a while and the site owner is transparent about the reason behind the unrelated links then it should not become a problem. A short explanation about why it’s there and perhaps the nature of the relationship will provide adequate information for everyone, above all the readers who may be initially confused about the link’s presence. This extra step should not take more than a few minutes to complete. The brief description also adds value to the link and could spark interest by the readers.

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