ken_b - 3:43 am on Nov 8, 2012 (gmt 0)
The short take-away is, don't link to just anyone - choose quality sites for your outbound links.
That sounds great on the surface. But here's where I have trouble with the whole idea.
In my niche, many of the websites I link to would probably be considered low quality by WW members and Google, probably Bing too. But these sites provide real value for the user often providing very hard to find info.
BUT.... a HUGE number of them are put together and put online by people who are doing so as part of their contribution and involvement/affinity with a hobby.
Even a good many of the related ecom sites are put together by mom & pop outfits that are simply trying to do their best without any real input from web pros.
In either case, "most" of these folks probably are not hanging out at WW, and most likely have never even heard of any search engines "webmaster guidelines".
Generally I link out to many these sites. But all too often I find one that is so stuffed with keywords, frequently on every page, that even I won't link to them. (Those are almost always sites built by some level of "web pro".)
My overall point is that these kinds off patents and policies are written by and for web pros with a much higher level of web awareness and skills.
Built by web pros or "affinity/hobby webmasters" these sites are often buried so deep in the serps that the casual surfer will seldom if ever find them.
So what do the users of these sites think of them? On the affinity/hobby sites the comments from users very often are extremely positive.
On the related mom & pop and ecom sites, comments are also positive, but occasionally include real helpful useability hints/tips. That holds true for the ecom sites apparently built by "web pros" too, but those comments more often appear on related forums, etc, rather than on the target site itself.
Aside from the keyword stuffing the next most common "low quality" signal on these sites (most often on the "pro built" ecom sites) are small links sections with some off topic links. Even when they have an actual links directory software package installed there's usually very few links.
The crazier their links section is, the less likely I'd link to them.
In any case these sites provide real value for the user often providing very hard to find info.
But should I be punished with lower ranking because of policies and patents written by and for highly informed web pros because I link to these sites?
I can live with it, but I'm not sure of the wisdom of such policies.