Msg#: 3145943 posted 11:32 pm on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)
Ok first off lets get something clear.
Asking how many links can be place from one site to another without penalties or asking if one link is better than several, is not a valid question. It is kinda like asking "how much is my insurance going to cost?" (in other words it totally depends on what we are talking about). Another thing is to understand google views links as votes from one site to another. However, google does not like paid voting, so they look to discount suspicious votes. The idea is to get "votes" that look natural.
A better question is what factors influence in a link-related search engine penalty.
Is it a good idea to have multiple inbound links from the same site and, if so, should they all point to my homepage or to a variety of different pages on the site?
It is generally better to have multiple inbound links then a single one from a particular site. The exeptions to this are new sites that purchase site-wide navigation links from large sites. Google will generally view this as either a paid ad (no reason to count that as a vote) or an attempt to manipulate their index (a definite no-no).
About the links, I give a definite vote for links to a variety of different pages on your site. Ok, I think that needs to be reiterated, DON'T USE THE EXACT SAME ANCHOR DIRECTED TO THE SAME PAGE ON ALL YOUR LINKS. Make sure your links are to different pages and with different anchor text. Think of it, that would be the natural link growth pattern. THINK NATURAL, even if you aren't getting your links naturally, try to make it look that way.
Also, do four links carry more or less weight than a single link?
Depends on the site and the placement of the link. Generally yes, but make sure not to get site-wide links in the navigation bars.