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Should I ... to look more "natural"?
Should I put some nofollow links to "authority sites" to look more "natural"?
But the athlete knows not to use drugs.
What if you got retroactively arrested for selling cucumbers and carrots because the government suddenly made them illegal substances?
Would that make you a criminal?
Over optimization is not really wrong,
you can hand out as many business cards and shake as many hands as you want,
as long as what you are offering is what you are selling.
Google is confusing spam with genuine promotion.Or you are confusing as to what google wants and expects ;)
parts of our system encourage links to good sites.
Honest answer? Nobody can answer that because nobody knows.
It's just ONE THING, and by itself it means nothing. My sites link out like a mofo, and my rankings never go anywhere but up. I have a couple B2B ecommerce sites under my watch that don't link out at all, and they do fine too. It's just *one thing*.
It's 2012. People need to start looking at forests instead of concentrating on trees.
And now the tangent is complete.
When you start loosing 80% of your income because Google suddenly decided that they didn't like the way you ran things...and beleive me it could happen.
[edited by: netmeg at 3:44 pm (utc) on Jul 10, 2012]
Is it the answer to any given ranking fall? Almost certainly no.