The effect of bad neighborhood links on your
web site rankings
Linking to other web sites can hurt your rankings if you
link to the wrong web sites. Links to web spammers or "bad
neighborhoods" on the web can have a negative effect on your
rankings on Google and other search engines.
A Google official has recently commented on bad neighborhood
links and how they affect your web site rankings on Google.
What are bad neighborhood links?
It seems that Google doesn't like the following type of
- free for all links pages (FFA)
- link farms (automated linking schemes with lots of unrelated
- known web spammers
Linking to that type of site can have a negative effect
on your Google rankings.
Is there an official Google statement about bad
In a discussion in
a webmaster forum, Google's Adam Lasnik has recently clarified
what Google looks for in regards to bad neighborhood penalties:
- There is no relation between outbound links and Google's
"It’s unlikely that your outbound linking is
causing your pages to be listed in the supplemental, rather
than main index."
- Google looks for bad neighborhood linking patterns
"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."
- You should check the links on your web site
"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
What does this mean to your web site?
Google looks for linking patterns. That means that it probably
won't hurt your site if you link to a bad web site by mistake.
Use a tool like ARELIS to
find good related web sites with which you can exchange links.
Many links to 404 error pages might cause ranking problems.
For that reason, it's a good idea to check the links on your
web site every now and then.