I've heard different opinions on this subject. I swap links with any website as long as I feel my type of customer visits those sites and if it will bring me business. Am I wrong for thinking this way? Will google penalize me in the rankings for some of these non related sites?
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I think NO if there is not a link trash website...

when i mean link trash i mean more than 60-70 external links in the same page

I think you still have to be careful about linking to bad neighborhoods since this is one aspect of a website that is totally in your control. You may not be able to control who links to you, but you can control who you link to. The non-related sites may not be bad neighborhood, however. But, why would you want to link to non-related sites anyway?

I am quite sure Google will not penalise for linking to non related websites unless they are bad neighborhood or banned websites. Although the link weight will be less so it will a fe of these link will have the same impact as one link to a related website. As link building is a time consuming i is best to get the maximum benefit form time invested.

There is also a question of what you mean by being "penalized". Do you mean dropped from the homepage SERPs to page 20 or do you mean falling a few places in the rankings because you're linking to irrelevant sites? Some people would consider losing any rankings a penalty because of the loss of traffic while others not.

Unless those sites are bad ones (porn, drugs, etc.), it won't be a problem.
Only thing is if you do it too much, then it might be.

Linking to non-related sites may be classed as spamming, so I would say don't do it just to be safe. Because you are posting useless links around the web with no importance to the surfers

If its not a link farm then chances are ' No '

I think this is a bit controversial. Matt Cutts says that the links should be related to your industry.

Hi 2bu,

It is not really controversial. It comes down to intent. Matt, Adam and the other members of the Google team have talked about this alot.

Situation 1 - Website about widgets decides to add a link to a local charity. That link is to a non widget related site. That is fine and Google has confirmed that multiple times.

Situation 2 - Website about widgets tries to rank well on Google by ONLY exchanging reciprocal links with hundreds of UNRELATED websites. Google will not really reward that link building strategy. This strategy was much more successful a few years ago.

Situation 3 - Website about widgets tries to earn extra money by selling paid links to unrelated poor quality websites. Google will penalize this behavior.

Ideally links should be related to your content but you do not need to follow that 100% of the time. Use common sense. Linking to bad neighborhoods is not a good idea and linking to unrelated sites might not be the most rewarding move.

I don't think Google will penalize you for linking to a nonrelated site but it would not be much of great help for your back links since though.

maybe it will decrease ur pagerank

Google will penalize you even if you link to related site , thinking you are buying links , off late google search results are becoming more and more spammy, I hope to see a day where people will stop google to search something.

I think google will not penalize your site unless you link to bad sites. BTW, nice eample goodroi.

You're not wrong in your thinking. If you believe the link is valuable to your visitors and they they will create business for you, then do it. Focus on your visitors first, then your search engine rank.

I dont think google will ban your site yes it might not give importance to your site for that link i mean not give you any credit for posting your link their.