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This 51 message thread spans 2 pages: 51 ( [1] 2 > >     
"Bad Neighborhoods".
What are they?
Timona

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 4:01 am on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have heard people talking about "bad neighborhoods", and that you can get in trouble for being linked to by them or by linking to them. But what are they?

Someone told me that <snip> could be one, but I am not sure, does anyone have any feedback on that.

I want to find out as they link to our site and I need to find out if I should get them to take the link down or if it is no worries.

[edited by: Marcia at 6:31 am (utc) on Mar. 22, 2004]
[edit reason] No specifics, please. [/edit]

 

Dreamquick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 3:55 pm on Mar 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

Try this old thread (or just google for bad neighborhoods and google);

[webmasterworld.com...]

- Tony

au_sammy

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:10 am on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't believe this what-so-ever.

It opens up too much room for frauds and scammers.

For example, I run website A which is highly popular, and website B runs the same kind of content and wants to be as popular as website A.

Therefore, website B could very easily add links from "bad neighbourhoods" to website A, thus getting it banned or have it lose PR etc.

I think Google would have surely thought of this, and I don't see that they would allow such opportunities for frauds - so there is my two cents - I think it is rubbish!

Cheers,

Sam.

Stefan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:21 am on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Therefore, website B could very easily add links from "bad neighbourhoods" to website A, thus getting it banned or have it lose PR etc.

It's the linking-back part that nails you, not just the incoming links.

yaelede

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 8:36 am on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is it safe to link to subwebs?
I'm currently linked to a few "city.mainsite.com" sub sites of mainsite.com. They all have PR5 and they are not affiliate sites. They link back to me.
I'm not banned from Google, but I can't move an inch from my PR5 (it could have many reasons of course..)

I'm curious whether it is advisable or not?

Midhurst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 4:45 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Another way of examining this problem is to pose the opposite question:
What is a good neighbourhood?
Well, the answer served up by most experts on this forum is this: only exchange links with good sites (good PR)which have no dodgy links to Link Farms and the like, and which are 'on theme'.
It begs the question what is a valid theme.
I have my business in a small country town. The stores and other businesses find it hard to compete with two cities 15-20 miles away to the north and south. The town does have some USP's, apart from being one of the most desirable places in the country to live.
In an attempt to market local businesses, ammenities and attractions on the Internet, circa 20 businesses within a 5-10 mile radius and within the town itself got together and agreed to exchange links. So someone trying to find a rare clematis for example will locate a garden center outside the town and from its website will find links to Gardens Open to the Public,to outside statuary exhibitions,etc.
It seems to be working.
But since early Feb many of the websites have lost their ranking. Some tiny ones you can't find now even if you type in their name, only when the name is typed in inverted commas.
The question we are all asking is this. Are we being penalised for linking with other local businesses? We've always assumed LOCALITY was a valid theme. But is it in Googles eyes? Do we have to dismantle our joint marketing just to please Google?
The whole issue of theming is fraught with difficulties because at the boundaries theming is a subjective assement; and this will give Google the opportunity anytime it likes to move the goal posts and penalise, perhaps wipe off the map altogether, sites which have done their level best to keep within the percieved rules.

SyntheticUpper

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 5:23 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmm,

'What are bad neighbourhoods'

If you don't know, it would be extremely harsh if you were penalised for linking to one wouldn't it..

Just a thought :)

SlowMove

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 5:32 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

You just need to be careful about where you send the users of your site. Think about what would happen if you could be penalized for links pointing at your site. Some of your competitors would take time to make sure some crappy sites link to your site. It would be bad for the Web.

SyntheticUpper

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 11:07 pm on Mar 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is it safe to link to Amazon pages then? Their interlinking appears suspect in some areas (by 'some areas' I only mean 100,000 areas ;)

bether2

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 1:20 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Here's an old thread where googleguy describes what he means by "bad neighborhoods."

[webmasterworld.com ]
(msg #27)

Beth

taxpod

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:10 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

This is simply arrogance on Google's part. If you don't know if you're in a bad neighborhood or not, and you value Google's opinion (traffic), don't link.

The really funny thing is that inside the Google directory there are tons of links to what I would call bad neighborhoods - spammy and useless sites. They freely link to sites that are nothing but repositories for affiliate links. And many good sites can't get in because DMOZ is a dinosaur stepping into the tar pits. If I applied the Google criteria OBJECTIVELY, I would be sure not to link to Google, lots of spammy outbound links, lots of garbage.

I recently created 10 sites. 4 of these consist exclusively of links to the top 10 results in Google for certain keywords, affiliate links and some plain vanilla but SEO'd text. The other 6 sites have actual content. Guess which sites do well in Google? Guess which sites were reviewed and accepted quickly by DMOZ. That's right the spammy garbage sites are all in DMOZ and doing great in Google. The real content sites do very poorly.

Either create content or index it, but don't try to control what you are indexing if you aren't creating content yourself. There is something wrong with the equation. But that's OK, time will sort it out.

vkaryl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:19 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ah - I didn't take that as arrogance at all. I just understood him to mean that one is responsible for one's outward-bound links - in other words, who links to YOU is not your patch, but who YOU link to is. Nothing unusual about that really, even though personal responsibility seems to be dead these days.

jdMorgan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jdmorgan us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:32 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Midhurst,

You probably need a separate thread, but here's a hint from the SERPs: Google seems to *love* directories these days - even bad ones. So rather than having everyone linking to everyone, you might try moving toward a more hierarchical linking strategy, and reserve inter-linking for similarly-themed and semantically-similar pages... and I did say "pages," not "sites."

Jim

taxpod

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:34 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's a bit of an overused, too easy to grab for, cliche these days, don't you think?

Its got nothing to do with whether people today do or do not take personal responsibility. It has everything to do with who the self-appointed legislator, judge and jury is. My most important point is that if the criteria were applied objectively, Google might be deemed to be a bad neighborhood and anyone linking to it would be penalized.

But like I said, it is far easier to get spam into Google today than it is to get quality sites. As a result, there is a ton more spam on the web today than there was 3 or 4 years ago. Far from correcting the situation, Google is creating it. Maybe they should take personal responsibility for that!

vkaryl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:44 am on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

[Editorial comment: I'd assume that the difference in our opinions on personal responsibility is a direct component of age-difference. I don't know how old you are, but I'd bet way younger than I am, and that seems to be problematic when it comes to the "personal responsibility" equation. I don't consider it a cliché, no. I DO consider it a measure of one's essential ability to contribute in a positive way to the betterment of the human condition.]

Whether one gets spam with/for/in spite of Google also seems to me to be a direct result of "rankhounding". Since the commercial sites I run don't "advertise" on or require referrals from search engines, none of the mad scrambling for rank etc. makes any difference to us.

Live by rank, die by rank?

Midhurst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 1:30 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Jim,
Thanks for the suggestion. I'll start another thread on theming.
I agree directories are all the rage; and your idea of linking semantically similar pages (in different websites) seems to make sense.
But, I assume from your cautious response that you probably aren't sure how Google might view Local Links

BallochBD

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 2:50 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bad neighbourhoods are not easily defined or filtered.

My site was a member of a "webring" that had been formed by about ten sites that were involved in an engineering discipline but not in competition with each other. We linked to each other before I knew that Google did not like this. (Why is this bad?) Apart from the potential for link popularity improvements our being in aligned businesses created traffic between the sites.

A few weeks ago my site suddenly disappeared, lost its PR5, all titles and cache info. When I raised this on the forum I was told by GoogleGuy that it was probably caused by my linking to one of the sites in the webring because it was being classed as a keyword stuffer.

Now classing this as a bad neighbourhood seems to me to be very wrong. The sites in question were all legitimately trying to generate more traffic through their links and I cannot for the life of me see why this should not be allowed. If sites are offending then by all means penalise them but don't penalise those who link to them.

Obviously we closed the webring when I heard from GoogleGuy and as a result I have lost the traffic I was receiving from it. I have also lost ALL my Google traffic. This is not fair in my opinion and it is also a lesson to us all that Google's definition of a bad neghbourhood can be quite "flexible". Be warned!

Brad

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 3:18 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Bad Neighborhoods" is Google's corporate spin to justify their own attempts to dictate and control the terms of website linking on the Web.

Understand, it has nothing to do with the actual quality of the site you want to link to, nor does it have anything to do with how useful that link might be to your visitors. "Bad neighborhoods" is all about Google, co-opting the language to look out after it's own commercial self-interest.

dazzlindonna

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 3:20 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

sites are offending then by all means penalise them but don't penalise those who link to them.

I agree. Google loves to toot the "natural linking" horn, however this goes against that. Imagine the millions of average people out there who have never heard of SEO, and they put links to sites that they believe their users would be interested in. They have never heard of "bad neighborhoods" so they inadvertently link to some. These quite innocent, "natural links", cause the poor webmasters harm. Seems wrong. (We as people familiar with seo aren't even positive what a bad neighborhood is, although we at least have a good idea. How can they know?)

Midhurst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 4:29 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

BallochBD.
Presumably you exchanged links with the 'keyword stuffer'? You didn't just have an outward link?

Brad.
Please elaborate on your comment 'look after its own self-interest'. Google obviously wants surfers to get the most relevant information. Hence the the theming issue. But they also seem to be moving towards geographic searches too.
In my view LOCALITY IS A THEME. A group of people in a town have a common interest in other non related businesses, in which they can create a multiplier effect by linking together. There is NO excuse for Google to penalise this type of link association. It would be easy, in my view, to adjust the algo to take account of postcodes and postecode proximity to others
Perhaps Googleguy would like to comment?

Brad

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 4:56 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Brad.
>>Please elaborate on your comment 'look after its own self-interest'.

Background: Google felt there was a threat to their PageRank system. So they started handing out penalties to webmasters based upon who they linked too. The most famous of these was the "PR0" penalty from a few years back. Link to a site with a PR0 penalty and you too get penalized. Share the pain.

Nowhere in all that is Google looking out for anyone but Google, hence they are looking out for their own self interest.

As a practical matter, few webmasters can afford to defy the dictates of Google when it comes to linking so, be warned.

BallochBD

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 5:00 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

They have never heard of "bad neighborhoods" so they inadvertently link to some.

That's the exact point I was making. I am an engineer and less than three years ago I knew nothing, (and I mean absolutely nothing!) about web design or SEO. When I started to become aware of it everywhere I looked someone was talking up link popularity. Linking together seemed like a good idea at the time and I still cannot see why people in associated businesses should not be allowed to do this.

Presumably you exchanged links with the 'keyword stuffer'? You didn't just have an outward link?

I most certainly did exchange links with the keyword stuffer but the whole point was that I did not see any problem with his site. Apologies to those who have read about this in another thread but this particular site deals in hard to find mechanical equipment. A lot of it is foreign equipment and they had listed many of the company names at the bottom of the home page. Each of these linked to another page with more information about what was available.

It did look like keyword stuffing but this guy was also providing a valuable service. Had I been searching for a part and found his site this way then I would have been deilghted. Unfortunately the algo designers have probably never did anything more mechanical than remove the fluff from their mouse so it was flagged as keyword stuffing.

Midhurst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 5:40 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

BallochBD
Just where and how were the keywords being stuffed?
You mention a list of mfg's at the bottom of the front page with links to inside pages. Nothing wrong with this. Unless you have something like mfg1 keyphrase1 mfg2 keyphrase1 mfg3 keyphrase1 and so on. He would probaby be 'had' on repetition and proximity. But, is this what happened?

Herenvardo

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 5:46 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is it safe to link to subwebs?

Good question!
Some time ago, I had a web in a free hosting service. I had a URL like that: [myname.service-name.com...]
I had links to some friends that used the same service, so the links were to many subsites of a same domain... never penalized.
Some sites expand into various domains, and some domains host many sites.
In conclusion, you won't get punnished for linking to subwebs. But if the subdomains are something like a web-ring, then you can get punnished for linking such sites.

Herenvardö

BallochBD

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 8:48 pm on Mar 24, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just where and how were the keywords being stuffed?
You mention a list of mfg's at the bottom of the front page with links to inside pages. Nothing wrong with this. Unless you have something like mfg1 keyphrase1 mfg2 keyphrase1 mfg3 keyphrase1 and so on. He would probaby be 'had' on repetition and proximity. But, is this what happened?

He has a list of links at the bottom of his index page. It is obvious that he is using them to get found but they are valid links. I think if he had created a standard navigation menu at the side of his page with the same content it would have looked OK. I may be wrong so I will sticky you with the URL and you can let me know what you think.

DaveAtIFG

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 1:06 am on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

Many comments condeming Google for punishing "link exchanges" and linking to bad neighborhoods. Do any of you remember back before PR and link building became the currency for acquiring Google traffic? People used to include "resource pages" on their site that simply contained links to related content or information useful to their visitors. A reciprocal link was usually not sought, and never expected.

Back then the whole "link exchange" concept was yet to be. And it appears Google is turning it into a page in the history books. Link spam has become ineffective.

Isn't it time to move on?

When asked for clarification about bad neighborhoods, GoogleGuy said, "Don't link to spam." Not sure what spam is? Read Google's webmaster quality guidelines [google.com].

Brad

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 1:31 am on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>When asked for clarification about bad neighborhoods, GoogleGuy said, "Don't link to spam."

And not everything Google calls a bad neighborhood really is spam.

hutcheson

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 8:11 am on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

>And not everything Google calls a bad neighborhood really is spam.

Certainly: they are distinguishable concepts (like assault and battery, or breaking and entering.) But Google engineers noticed that spammers, faced with the problem of obtaining link pop for pages that couldn't ever get it naturally, started building bad neighborhoods -- so there's a very high correlation.

I don't think the definition of "bad neighborhood" is at all difficult. There are two aspects,
(1) "Neighborhood": when all the affiliated pages are put together, the amount of "recirculating page rank links" is substantially [i.e. several orders of magnitude] larger than either the outgoing links or incoming links. [I place no credence whatsoever in theories about "same c-class IP addresses" or "domain registrant" or the like: for a competent mathematician, the trivial approach is simply to try to partition the transition matrix. Each partition is a neighborhood. (The tricky part, of course, is doing this efficiently. That's what Google hires the PhD's (not engineers!) for.

(2) "Bad": presence of blatant, egregious keyword spamming in at least one page of the neighborhood. Googlebot presumably constantly gets better at finding that, so one should expect techniques that _used_ to work, suddenly being detected, and "there goes the neighborhood."

If you're creating artificial link structures AND artificial keyword stuffing, then you need to worry. Otherwise, you should be safe.

BallochBD

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 8:57 am on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

... for a competent mathematician, the trivial approach is simply to try to partition the transition matrix. Each partition is a neighborhood.

DOH! Sorry, I haven't got a clue what you are talking about!

What I will say again is that I see nothing wrong in a few sites that are in similar industries, but obviously not in competition, creating links to each other to generate additional traffic. This was working for me. I used to get inquiries saying, "I saw your link on www.anotherengineeringcompany.com and I would like some information about" ... whatever. I really don't see how this can be faulted but once again the algo being an algo is not objective in this and many innocent sites suffer in the collateral damage.

Anyway, Google must have seen the potential for exploitation of page rank when they were starting out. It was a while ago but I would have thought that even then SEO must have been a fact of life of which they were aware? They created a whole new agricultural industry out of link farming - linko-culture.

Midhurst

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 22812 posted 11:56 am on Mar 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

BallochBD
You are involved in Trip-Wire Marketing (my term) - a perfectly legitimate technique in most places but not, it seems, in Google's eyes on the Net - because it is 'off theme'. The fact that, presumably, all the engineering cos subscibe to the same 'discipline' doesn't mean this is a valid theme.
I'll pick this up with you again later today perhaps in a new thread on 'theming' which I intend to start.
Lots of small towns and communities engage in Trip-Wire Marketing by building Local Networks. Google could easily set these efforts apart by using postcodes, or a mixture of location factors (ie town, region, locality name) plus postcodes, in their algo. But the effort, and cost, of doing this when they obviously have plans for local searches themselves is against their long-term financial and strategic interests. So it won't be done. The small guy is once again trodden on by the big guy.
Location search (my term) is ,of course, going to be a huge new USP for Google. Imagine you are a tourist, or someone relocating, to a new town/area. What a boon it would be to get a list of all the locally based business and ammenity websites. In a flash you could see how lively/dead the area was, what businesses were there, what lifestyles were supported and so on.

Google, I'm sure, wants to be first with this.
Don't forget to sticky me with the alleged keyword stuffer.
Regards
Midhurst

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