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probably aren't doing you any good. If sites like that make up the majority of your backlinks they may actually be harming you. However if the majority of your links are from more trusted and reliable sources then you really don't have to be concerned about bad domains linking to you.
Are all incoming links good?
Some incoming links are better than others. If you're running a car parts site, a link from Molly's Beauty Shop probably won't hurt you, but it might not do you as much good as a link from the best auto dealership in town.
And some links probably won't do you any good at all. Get into some random link exchange programs and you might find that the links from the other sites in the program are simply ignored by the SEs.
Since you'd then be in the random link exchange program, I suppose it's reasonable to think your site might then be at risk for having your outbound links ignored as well. Probably not a good outcome.
Incoming links from scrapers and "made for Adsense" type sites may not help you much, but I doubt they would hurt you as long as you don't link back to them.
If you're out looking for links, try to get them from the most relevant sites possible.
In that regard, not all links are good - because some of them could link you to a bad neighborhood.
In general, though, most link juice is good. To achieve optimum results and maximize relevance, the link should be from a site that is similar in topic to yours.
The Google Webmaster guidelines say that links from "bad neighborhoods" could be bad as they could cause your site to be considered to be part of that "bad neighborhood".
Scotia_King - Could you find that reference and post it? (I'm sure a live link to the relevant Google page would not violate WebmasterWorld TOS.)
"From," at least as acknowledged by Google, simply does not sound right.
(under "quality guidelines", "basic principles")
Sorry about any confusion.
[edited by: Scotia_King at 2:08 pm (utc) on Sep. 25, 2006]
Imagine this scenario.
Joe and Buck are competitors selling widgets on their websites. Buck is a sneaky competitor who used to use all sorts of spam techniques to raise his PR, causing Joe to lose many sales. We've all heard this story.
Google starts to catch on, and Buck's spam techniques are no longer helping him as much, but he keeps trying them here and there and keeps spamming up Google's index.
Eventually, (in what I would call "retaliation"), Google creates the notion of "bad neighborhoods" and actually starts to penalize Buck for all these incoming spam links he's creating.
So, good is rewarded and evil is punished and the story ends there, right?
Buck, being sneaky and clever (and having a bunch of tools at his disposal for easily creating spam links) starts posting a mass of spammy, "bad neighborhood" links that point to *Joe's* website.
Joe gets penalized for links that Buck created, and Buck again passes Joe in the results and takes Joe's sales.
So it brings me to the moral of the story. We can obviously control outbound links but not inbound links. It makes sense for Google to penalize us for bad outbound links, but if they penalize us for bad inbound links, then we open the door for serious abuse.
Fortunately I don't sell widgets, but I've envisioned this scenario ever since I heard about Google's notion of "bad neighborhoods"..
Anyone have this happen to them?
While it did get me thoroughly indexed and the spider's all camp on the site all day, I think it is causing problems in Google. The links are all one way with good anchor text, and point to the homepage. Other parts of the site have PR 4 and such, but the homepage has always had a 2, that recently slipped to a 1. I was careful to not insert any spammy techniques, the homepage updates daily with new on topic info so the only thing I can figure is the mass amount of off topic links. They far outweight the 50 or so good on topic links I've obtained, so I'm thinking that I'm actually getting penalized.
I'll most likely just remove those links and go 100% white hat, and I know all those links are not what Google wants (though MSN and Yahoo seem to slurp them up and give me huge boosts because of them), but it begs the question, couldn't a competitor just do the same to someone and sink them? I'd rather Google just ignore them and cast a blind eye at inbound links they don't like.
It seems a little like profiling to me, looking at patterns and labelling a site as spammy, which is fine until it becomes an easy matter to "frame" a site as spam, which it looks like this would be the case if Google is bringing the hammer down because of inbound links.
The test here is for me to shed those links and see the results, which I'm reluctant to do because it's helping so much in Yahoo and MSN.
The problem I have with this, if this does prove to be the albatross around my neck is that it seems silly for Google to actually penalize you for who is one way linking to you. And even if they are not links out of your control, where does Google draw their line of giving you huge benefit from having a mass amount of links from an on topic source and giving you a big penalty from having a lot of links from an off topic source? I mean, doesn't that mean Google is making a judgement call about what is on topic and off topic via an imperfect automated algorithm that could not possibly have the cognitive human ability to determine the intricate finer points of subject relativity, and then determining whether you sink or swim? I'd just as soon they ignore links they decide are not worthy and pretend they didn't exist rather than penalize you, if that IS what they are doing.
Google creates the notion of "bad neighborhoods" and actually starts to penalize Buck for all these incoming spam links he's creating.
Your scenario is flawed. While losing ranks because of bad inbound links (let's HYPOTHESIZE for the sake of example and say that it's blog spam), it might feel like you're being penalized because you lost your formerly high rankings, but it's not a penalty. It is not a penalty.
What you are seeing is the loss of effectiveness- the links simply don't count anymore, so there is no boost.
Similarly if you point a bunch of blog spam at someone what may happen is either the site will rank better or else it will rank the same (because the links are dampened and won't count). No penalty.
So are all non-reciprocated links good? Yes and No. Imo, some are good and some are neutral.
The contest used a two-word phrase that never previously existed. All the domains competing in the contest had to have been created after the contest announcement (no use of 10-year old domains), so all the domains were created after the start date. When I did an allinanchor:keyterm comparison to the actual SERPs, to the 50th place, let me add emphasis here, TO THE 50TH PLACE, the allinanchor results were identical to the actual SERPS for that keyterm.
Some of the results were seperated by in place and by links by only ONE LINK. To the place, the sites with the most links beat sites with less links. You can put whatever spin you want on this, but what it told me in large bold type is that he with the most links for a particular term wins, if you set aside such things as age of domain and related criteria.
I took a sampling of sites and their backlinks and averaged their PR scores and found that PR scores of backlinks would have dramatically altered the results from what I found, the exact same ranking in allinanchor and actual SERPs. The number of links (from unique domains) is what counted the most.
Please note that in this contest a lot of the links obtained were pretty spammy blog links. Still, he with the most links ranked ahead of everyone with less links all the way to the 50 place, exactly in that order. No variation in ranking other than the number of links.