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What if we could tell google to ignore certain backlinks?



4:55 am on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I was just thinking that since google can let us remove entire sites through webmaster tools, that they should be able to allow us to mark certain inbound links to our sites as "don't count", meaning... I don't want this link to count as an inbound link to my website.

With some of us paranoid that our link quality profile is hurting us on account of scraper sites etc. I can't see a downside to doing it. It would require an implicit acknowledgment on google's end that a large volume of poor quality inbounds can hurt you in some cases, but it would be a useful tool. Even if they won't admit that poor links can hurt you, they do admit that poor quality links don't help, so let us just remove them to clean things up.

It would also allow them to actually factor spammy links as a negative factor into the algo even more. Whereas before the worry was that if they let bad inbounds hurt a site, then competitors could point a ton of bad links at a site to hurt rankings. But if the site owner could just remove the bad links there wouldn't be any point in it. Thus, they could actually openly start counting poor inbounds against you.


7:13 am on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If google does indeed penalize sites for having a large amount of 'bad' inlinks, they probably do so for a reason. And they probably would'nt want the webmaster to have control over that process.

Maybe I'm buying a few links to get me 'over the top', then their site or my site gets penalized, and I say ooops, lets forget that ever happened!

I think they realize that people dont always have control over who links to their sites.


7:52 am on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Slightly off topic, but, Yahoo allow you to flag backlinks as spam. Seems like a good idea. There's no immediate effect, spam links are recorded and I guess that if enough people register the same domain as 'spammy' then Y! removed them from your InLink list. Maybe Google should provide a similar facility?


12:15 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

If google does indeed penalize sites for having a large amount of 'bad' inlinks, they probably do so for a reason. And they probably would'nt want the webmaster to have control over that process.

And once again there is a way that you can mess with your competition. Just find a "bad neighborhood" and link to your competition all over the place... simple as that.

If we cannot control who links to us or how those links are viewed then what is a webmaster supposed to do?


12:57 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Which is exactly my point. Only two things are fair... 1. Google in NO WAY uses poor quality links against you, or 2. Google allows you to eliminate poor quality links from your link profile since you have no control over them.

We just need to clearly be on one side of this fence or the other.


1:09 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Straight to the point! Great thread!

Let me give you an example:

1. Two of our sites have received a great amount of very low quality backlinks: adult, mortgages and the like - over the past 9 months. The number of spam backlinks is about 50% of the total number of backlinks accoding to site explorer and some other tools.

*We never exchanged with these guys ever
*We never entered any link scheme or bought textlinks

Here are the results: Lost all rankings, gradually on all anchor text these guys use to link our website to. Our sites were on page 1 before.

We kept all other rankings, although fluctuating but I can't tell if the flux is because of the above.

I would love to know if ANYTHING is possible to have these sites not linking to our sites anymore. Not only it works too well with Google, but also our brand images are at stake and my CEO hates it.

It is WAY too easy for almost any competitor with a few sites/buddies or small budget to demote websites - strip them from ranking where Google would place them otherwise.

From where I stand I see this spreading over the last few months.
And it prooves again that backlinks CAN hurt, and can even hurt well established sites, especially niche leaders (maybe not major industry authorities though, that would require lots of low end backlinks).
Some GG guy said backlinks can't hurt, only bad outgoing links if I recall correctly, bs!

Punishment should go to the sites carrying over these links, just as Google "said". These sites should not penalize, they should just carry no juice and evrybody would be happy, case closed.

[edited by: followgreg at 1:17 pm (utc) on Sep. 12, 2007]


1:15 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

What if you have tens of thousands of spammy links pointing to you? How are you going to deal with the volume especially if you do not know what most of them are and where they come from? I do not think manually sifting thru links is practical.


1:59 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Maybe my site is different because it has been online a long while but it has THOUSANDS of backlinks due to scraper sites, etc.

The nefarious backlinks don't seem to have had a deleterious effect on serps (PPG terms, highly competitive words).

There must be something else that offsets unwanted backlinks.

IE - If CNN or DMOZ links to your site, perhaps that over-rules this stuff.


2:02 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Google in NO WAY uses poor quality links against you.

I'm going to step out on a limb and say that Google does use poor quality links against you. If you fit a certain link profile, have been engaged in link exchange, blatant link buying, etc., you're going to have your hands full.

Representatives from Google claim that there is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your site. Well, that is for public consumption. There are all sorts of things a competitor could do but probably wouldn't. But, its that probably part that I'm concerned about.

Let's say a competitor just noticed you went on a link buying campaign. It gets reported and for some reason Google investigates. It notices all these new bought links that you have and then it notices all these other junk links that you've also acquired at the same time (via your competitor). I'd say you just got profiled with the help of a competitor.


3:45 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I think you can black hat your competitors but not as easily as just buying some bad links.... you have to go a little further - say start a spam link request campaign for them and make sure Matt Cutts is on the list - did I say that?


4:46 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Regarding the volume of bad links... I presently sit in a -950 penalty that I think is on account of some recent crappy links I have gotten from some scraper sites that are throwing a TON of my links to google in an attempt to make their spam pages look like they have quality backlinks. Over the last few weeks my link count has increased by thousands with no effort on my part to do so. I don't care if I had to manually delete 5,000 links one at a time and if it took a month. I would do it in order to get rid of them. It's better than not being able to do anything at all.

Think of it in a political context. We are like candidates out trying to raise money for our campaign. Rather than give us money, others give us links. We want as many as possible and don't have much control over who decides to give. But every now and then the political candidate realizes that they had someone give them money that did something wrong or illegal. The candidate is able to simply give it back and say "no thank you, but I'm afraid a contribution from you will cause more harm than good." Let me do the same with my link contributions.


8:47 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

kdobson99, Google does not tell you about all the links pointing to you. Not even in their Webmaster Tools. I quote what it says in the Webmaster Tools Links section: "Click the number in the External links column to see a sample list of links to the page"

In my case for example they show 6800 links but I have over 30K according to Yahoo. How would you deal with the ones they don't tell you about?


9:01 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Simple answer... Start telling us about them.

But even if they didn't, I'd still like to be able to remove some that they do tell me about.


9:46 pm on Sep 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Then why not to go a step further and ask Google simply not to count crappy links against us! I'm sure everyone would appreciate such a shortcut. :)


6:10 am on Sep 13, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Let's be honest: the two statements widely assumed to be expressing Google's policies (1: "There's almost nothing a competitor can do to hurt you" and 2:"Don't buy links or get linked from crappy sites or else...") are contradictory.

If 2 is true, it follows that 1 is not true. A competitor buying a bad link "for" you (or, say, some 10,000 bad links) can and will hurt you.

In my opinion, they should just admit to the fact that there's a massive amount of "black PR" (in the form of people setting deliberately bad links) happening on the web. So, admit it and remove link penalties. Sure, the fact that link penalties exist is not proven, but empirically it seems that they do.

I know the counter-argument against the 0-penalty proposal ("if people knew the maximum penalty for buying links was 0, they'd buy them like crazy"), but I'd argue it's a relatively small price to pay and, frankly, if Google puts the value of 0 on those links, the people in question are wasting their money, anyway. At some point, they'll simply run out of money.

In any case, I think it's far better to allow some sites to game the system rather than kill a few innocent ones. At least in my system of values. Perhaps Google has a different view.


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