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Linking to bad neighborhood

What exactly is currently considered a bad neighborhood?

     
2:47 pm on Sep 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I know that linking to spammy sites or sites that do unauthorized downloads is bad, but what other type of outgoing links can hurt your site?

If you link to a URL that has gone 404 is that considered bad enough to hurt you?

What about a domain that has changed its name and URL, and is doing a redirect to the new URL? If you are still linking to the old URL with the old name in the anchor text, will that trip some Google filters?

Is linking to a domain that expired, and was subsequently turned into a directory-type page considered linking to a bad neighborhood?

I just went through all outbound links on my site, and found all of these situations. I try to check outbound links regularly, but I honestly can't say when the last time I checked was.

I have so many pages in supplemental that I'd like to restore to the regular index, and I'm wondering if this is contributing to the issue.

6:37 pm on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Hi Andy,

It's unlikely that your outbound linking is causing your pages to be listed in the supplemental, rather than main index.

Also, be assured that we're not looking to penalize folks for a "bad" link here and there. Rather, our algorithms are tuned to look for patterns of "egregious" linking behavior... both on individual sites and in the aggregate.

With that said, it's certainly in your users' interest that you regularly audit outgoing links on your site (especially prominent ones) to ensure that you're not losing folks' trust by sending them to inappropriate places or 404 pages. Sure, it's great to keep Google happy, but it's usually more important (long term) to have your users be return visitors.

6:49 pm on Sept 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, Adam. I agree that the responsibility first and foremost is to the site visitor, but if they can't find my site by searching for it, it doesn't really matter. This is just a part of my attempts now to determine what the heck I've done wrong.

I have provided a form and/or E-mail address on all pages with outgoing links so people can report bad or inappropriate links. I'm just going to have to start checking on the first of every month to make sure everything is still as it should be.

[edited by: AndyA at 6:50 pm (utc) on Sep. 29, 2006]

12:55 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Xenu Linksleuth is a wonderful tool to check your entire site on broken and old links.

[edited by: NedProf at 12:55 pm (utc) on Oct. 2, 2006]

3:14 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I use Xenu as well. But it doesn't distinguish when a domain has just changed to something else, a scraper site, link directory, etc. In that case, a mother inlaw or such can be useful to sit and click links to actually look at the final destination site.
3:25 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Xenu LinkSleuth is useful for some things, and Copyscape for others....
3:39 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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according to Adam_Lasnik it doesn't matter wether we link to bad webites , so I don't see why we should still talk about it...
Honestly it's really unbelivalbe....
3:48 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I didn't get that from Adam's post. I thought he meant that they aren't going to over react to an occaisional bad link but are looking for larger patterns of behavior.
3:50 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Here's a post that was made recently on here by Scotia_King in another thread, quoting Google as saying:

"Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links."

Source:
[google.com...]
(under "quality guidelines", "basic principles")

6:04 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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We should get paid by google for making it working.

the problem here is that google is relaying on bookmarks, links from autorithative websites, wikypedia and so on, just because it isn't working properly. No matter how accurate your website is, just let social bookmarks, dot/edu do the job for you.
The "virtual content" is not discovered by an algo anymore, it is discovered by people.

9:56 pm on Oct 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I didn't get that from Adam's post. I thought he meant that they aren't going to over react to an occaisional bad link but are looking for larger patterns of behavior.

That's how I understood it, like having a bad overall linking profile.

define: egregious [google.com]

It's unlikely that your outbound linking is causing your pages to be listed in the supplemental, rather than main index.

Adam, it may not be the outbound linking in itself that would cause Supplemental pages, but in addition to being considerate of the user experience, I'm thinking that it could possibly be contributing a little bit, but in a different way. Or to put it better, causing some lost opportunity with regard to PR distribution within the site.

I just went through all outbound links on my site, and found all of these situations. I try to check outbound links regularly, but I honestly can't say when the last time I checked was.

I have so many pages in supplemental that I'd like to restore to the regular index, and I'm wondering if this is contributing to the issue.


Andy, if not the links themselves, it might be having some effect by wasting PR on bad links that could be better used to pass more PR on to the pages of your own site.

The value of the PR passed on to pages linked to from a page with 5 outbound links is worth more than from a page with 15 outbound links. So aside from getting quality inbound links to increase "votes" and PR for your site (which is always a good thing to do) and improving the quality of user experience, if you go through and eliminate all the bad links you'll be giving more of those pages' PR linking power back to the homepage of the site, which in turn can then give a bit more PR to the pages linked to from the homepage.

Don't know if that makes sense, but why waste good "link votes?" Getting rid of the bad links can only improve the overall quality of the site, so IMHO it's worth spending the time.

[edited by: Marcia at 10:00 pm (utc) on Oct. 2, 2006]

12:47 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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So do we have experience from a Member that has linked to a banned site and seen the impact in Google, Y and MSN?

Personally I know one particular Member here that thinks it has little impact if any to continue to link to a banned site. I can't say whether this is still the case, but he was adamant that Google had no real beef with whatever he linked to (and he'd know as the banned sites were his).

But getting a site banned for ranking too well using various loopholes IS a little different to scumware and pop up junk.

I'd be interested to hear opinion from someone who regularly gets scum sites banned (not that I'd expect anyone to out themselves). But I think there are different types of 'bad neighborhoods'.

- Ben

[edited by: Bennie at 12:48 am (utc) on Oct. 3, 2006]

1:53 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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according to Adam_Lasnik it doesn't matter wether we link to bad webites , so I don't see why we should still talk about it...

He didn't say that, he said the occasional bad link won't get your site flipped to supplemental or affect you being indexed in the main cache.

define egregrious

I would suggest he is referring to this meaning - conspicuously bad : FLAGRANT (again open to interpretation)

My take is that Google looks at sites in terms of a ratio of inbounds and outbounds as well as possibly the theme. I believe that the weight of too many links leaving the site ratio has a bigger impact than the relevance of the links, but do not have evidence.

Removing unrelated and poor links (links on FFA, bannable topics, more than 50 links per page, etc) simply increases your chance of having the BEST quality links to your website, which is always good.

2:23 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Marcia,

Thanks for your suggestions, and I do understand your point. I've looked my site over closely, and I do see some missed opportunities for internal linking. One in particular could improve the functionality of the site for the end user.

It will take some time to complete, but I'm going to make some changes to my internal links. I'm also going to see if I can identify anything else along these lines that might be helpful.

Thanks again!

2:24 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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if you link to enough bad sites, you lose trust and maybe that can cause pages to go into supplemental land
9:21 am on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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*I know one particular Member here that thinks it has little impact if any to continue to link to a banned site.*

Could depend on the reason for the ban, the results of linking to a site that's been part of a links scheme and one that's using hidden links to Pharma sites may well be different...

10:39 pm on Oct 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I wrote this about a year ago, and I still think it is true:

Another cache date indicator is if you ever link to a bad neighbourhood, you will see your cache date for the page with the dodgy link on it freeze for two days and then revert to a date about 2 or 3 weeks back in time - and will stay there until you remove the dodgy link. If you leave the link there for more than about 10 days you'll see your page turn URL-only or supplemental and you are really in the crapper by that point.

I have tested this on a throwaway domain many times over the last 18 months. Stuck cache dates can be an indicator of several things. I do keep an eye on them.

10:25 am on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have previously reported that we carried out an experiment on a link network which made the error of publishing "non-themed" links onto the test site. [ We intended to make sure that all links were theme related ].

e.g. the site was about Boats and lingerie links were mistakedly published on it.

All pages with these links on them were stripped of their page rank. The pages they pointed to were unaffected.

All pages without these links on them retained their page rank.

I guess the only way to restore a site or pages that did this, is to submit a reinclusion request and ask for forgiveness.

This may provide a practical testimony to Adam's statement above which suggests/says that Google can detect link networks, patterns and "strange" unrelated links on sites in conflict with their themes.

[edited by: Whitey at 10:40 am (utc) on Oct. 10, 2006]

11:56 am on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Same here as Whitey

Bad neighborhoods, expired domains, links unrelated to the page they're on, all have a negative impact on a site's rankings. Checked and proven, I've dumped most outbound links and the site is slowly and steadily recovering (was #6/7 on the first page and tanked to page 7, now gradually moving up - page 4 today #34) - I would NOT ask for a re-inclusion request if I were you unless your domain is banned forever (doesn't come first on a request for its domain name). The algo will normally do the job without having you to beg for forgiveness.

What's more difficult nowadays is to find out whether a site is indeed a bad neighborhood or not.. Apart from the obvious, I found sites that looked nice and cool but discovered they were heavily penalized for dupe content. There, only a site: search can help imo.

What Adam means is if for example you are linking to 100 sites and 2 are broken links or bad neighborhoods it won't really matter. But if most of your links are bad, then it WILL matter.

If you make a CAREFUL examination of all your outbounds, you will be amazed - most of them are junk

12:10 pm on Oct 10, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maria44

We had the same story - 2 of our sites dropped from first positions to page 3 on aug 17 and now are gradually recovering by itself. One site had only select quality outbound links, another had more links but did not clean up anything after the drop and still both sites are climbing up in the SERPS.
This situation has got NOTHING to do with your outbound links.