Andy_Langton - 3:23 pm on Mar 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't think this is new, but it certainly deserves discussion.
There is a "con" of simply discounting or ignoring bad links, and for Google it is a serious one.
They simply cannot identify bad links very well, so if all questionable links were simply discounted, it would be a free for all.
The people currently jumping from link network to link network would simply just keep buying and buying - it would cause an explosion in paid links and the types of links Google wish were simply not there. The extent to which Google can genuinely and accurately give credit for links would be revealed, and I don't think it would be pretty.
Sites buying the most links would rapidly rise to the top, and sites acquiring links "naturally" would never be able to keep up.
I believe the reason this issue is rising to prominence again is that Google have dialled it too far. I launched a site fairly recently which happens to have obtained quite a few links quite quickly, and Google have dropped it entirely for certain keywords, including the site name (which is obviously most frequently used in anchor text).
In this particular instance, I know that I can just wait it out and Google will put it back - but others might not have time on their side, or might panic and start messing with a perfectly healthy link profile because Google is, frankly, getting it wrong.
Similarly, I know exactly how to get Google to put the site mentioned back - by changing external anchor text. But it would be a crazy situation for me to have to start manipulating external links in this way!