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Everyone knows that other sites that link to your site helps in the SEO process. Everyone should also know that reputable sites will help you while some other sites will actually hurt you. How do know differentiate between these two types of site though???

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Last Post by stymiee
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There is no such thing as a bad incoming link. The worst that can a link can do is nothing at all. It only gets better from there. If this wasn't true your competitors could ruin you by linking to you with crappy sites.

And it should be very easy to tell if a link is good or bad. Look at the site/page it is on. Is the site any good? Or does it suck? Does it rank well? Or not? It really is easy to tell.

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Using seo tools will help you get which the best backlinks to your web site.
there are many free tools but the best way is to get a software that will manage your building links campaigns.
high quality link is determined by the page rank and the number of the outbound links.

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high quality link is determined by the page rank and the number of the outbound links.

That's not correct. You limited your definition to cover exclusively PageRank which is a mistake. PR is just one of hundreds of factors in determining a page's rank and has virtually no influence on link quality. If a page has high PR but is offtopic that link is virtually worthless.

A high quality link is from a page that has content related to yours, uses the anchor text you hope to rank well for, ranks well for the terms you hope to rank well for, and has a high PageRank.

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The page rank affect the quality of the backlinks. and there are many difference to get a link from a web page with PR=7 than a web page that have PR=0.
page rank is the first thing for people to determine the quality because we have not the exact formula used by google and we have not tools to do this job.
- anchor text is not related to backlinks quality when you will link to another web site.

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The page rank affect the quality of the backlinks. and there are many difference to get a link from a web page with PR=7 than a web page that have PR=0.
page rank is the first thing for people to determine the quality because we have not the exact formula used by google and we have not tools to do this job.
- anchor text is not related to backlinks quality when you will link to another web site.

Completely untrue. PageRank only indicates a page's link popularity. It does not indicate the quality of the page or the quality of the links on the page. Relevancy plays a much larger factor then PageRank as does anchor text. A link from a PR7 page that is off-topic is worth less then a link from a PR1 page that is on topic every time.

The reason why people consider PageRank the most important is because they don't know any better. That's why those same people start threads here saying, "My PageRank is so high but I don't rank well for my search terms". It's because they were after the wrong thing. They clearly don't understand PageRank and what it really means.

And anchor text matters a lot for inbound links. It's effect is huge. And it plays a role in your outbound linking as well. That anchor text is on your page and affects how your pages are viewed by Google. If your anchor text contains words you want to rank well for it is better then if it contains terms that are unrelated to your website. That's one reason why linking to unrelated sites is bad for SEO.

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I believe you're contradicting yourself stymiee. First you say links don't matter and now you're saying they do?

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I've never said links don't matter. They very clearly do. I just said PR is not an indicator of link quality.

Not all links are created equal. Using PR to determine link quality is an inaccurate system to do so. The other factors I mentioned above is what someone should be using instead.

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There is no such thing as a bad incoming link. The worst that can a link can do is nothing at all...

Better let Google know this ...

Google : ... Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links ...

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Better let Google know this ...

Google : ... Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank. In particular, avoid links to web spammers or "bad neighborhoods" on the web, as your own ranking may be affected adversely by those links ...

Linking to other sites is an outgoing link. When someone links to you then it is an incoming link. When you link to a bad neighborhood your are implicitly a part of it and will suffer its fate. But if one links to you and you don't link back the worst that can happen to you is nothing at all.

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Linking to other sites is an outgoing link. When someone links to you then it is an incoming link. When you link to a bad neighborhood your are implicitly a part of it and will suffer its fate. But if one links to you and you don't link back the worst that can happen to you is nothing at all.

You just don't get it, do you.

If a web site has incoming links from spammy sources, it will suffer from losing authenticity and credibility with the major search engines, whether it is the SEO's fault or not.

One of the responsibilities an ethical SEO has when working on a web site is to extract the web site from the clutches of an unsavoury linking past and to avoid the temptation of gaining inbound links using a haphazardly approach or with a careless attitude. The obsession to gain incoming links is driven by a common SEO misunderstanding. Any attempt to artificially increase a web site's importance by acquiring unearned links to the web site is an attempt at search engine manipulation.

Search engine optimizers, web site designers and website developers should concentrate on crafting the highest caliber, uniquely important content possible rather than chasing links. There is a huge difference in skill needed between being and SEO and being a linking strategist. Most link strategists think they are performing SEO when they chase links, but they are not.

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My personal belief is that a site will not suffer if every so often a bad neighborhood links to them, especially if the number of "bad" links is far outweighed by the number of high quality backlinks. As a site becomes more well known and mainstream, it can only be expected that a wide array of quality and non-quality sites link to them.

However, if only bad neighborhoods link to a particular site, or the majority of backlinks a site has are from hundreds of free-for-all link pages, then it could be assumed by the SEs that this site travels in the wrong circles.

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You just don't get it, do you.

If a web site has incoming links from spammy sources, it will suffer from losing authenticity and credibility with the major search engines, whether it is the SEO's fault or not.

You don't understand how the Internet works, huh? That statement is 100% incorrect and it is easy to understand why.

1) You can't stop people from linking to you. It's impossible.

2) Why would Google penalize a site for what someone else does? That the site owner has absolutely no control over? Seriously. Have you even thought about that for a minute? If Google did that then everyone would be out to sabotage their competitors and they would all succeed. The search results would be a mess and irrelevant (and only showing people who haven't yet been attacked). That's why the worst thing an incoming link can do is nothing. That's why all links are not created equal.

3) That's why outbound linking can be harmful because the webmaster controls that. By linking to a bad site (the reason why the site is "bad" is irrelevant) the website owner is acknowledging their participation in it and thus is is fair and right to punish them.

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Linking to other sites is an outgoing link. When someone links to you then it is an incoming link. When you link to a bad neighborhood your are implicitly a part of it and will suffer its fate. But if one links to you and you don't link back the worst that can happen to you is nothing at all.

I certainly would not test that theory on any web project that I am working on.

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You don't have to. It's been proven over and over again. The only people who need to worry are those who actively participate in such schemes. But they never succeed anyway.

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I still believe that if the vast majority of sites that link to you are just bad neighborhoods, it could have an ill effect on your rankings. One reason: Because if the site was legitimate, there would at least be SOME real backlinks in the mix, or enough to make the site known to competitors who want to sabotage it. If all backlinks are spammy, that means that the site has no real backlinks at all, and no content worthy of backlinks (and competitors probably don't know about the site to care to sabotage it), meaning it was most likely the site owner who got their own site involved in bad neighborhoods. Just my take on it.

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Even then it wouldn't matter. If you only have crappy sites linking back to your site you won't rank well for anything anyway. So there is no need to apply a penalty. Plus if that were true then a competitor can bring down a website simply through sheer quantity of bad links. Once, again, that is completely beyond the control of the webmaster and cannot be held against them.

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... Once, again, that is completely beyond the control of the webmaster and cannot be held against them.

... cannot be held against them ...

Man, you are living in a fairy tale world. I don't care how wonderfully optimized a web site is, if it has a significant amount of incoming links from unreliable or pre-determined bad linking neighbourhoods, it will suffer. It doesn't matter whose fault it is.

One of the first things to do when removing penalties from a web site is to shake off as many of these bad incoming links as possible. Ever try that? Not fun but well worth the rewards.

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Sorry, forgot to mention this.

Google :

" Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query. "

www google com/technology/index html

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... cannot be held against them ...

Man, you are living in a fairy tale world. I don't care how wonderfully optimized a web site is, if it has a significant amount of incoming links from unreliable or pre-determined bad linking neighbourhoods, it will suffer. It doesn't matter whose fault it is.

One of the first things to do when removing penalties from a web site is to shake off as many of these bad incoming links as possible. Ever try that? Not fun but well worth the rewards.

You're not using common sense and that is all you need to grasp the concept. If this was true what would stop people from using this to sabotage their competition? I expect an answer.

Sorry, forgot to mention this.

Google :

" Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query. "

www google com/technology/index html

Congratulations. You just figured out that Google uses incoming links and other off site factors to rank web pages. Now you're not 10 years behind every one else.

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Well what he's saying is that Google has confirmed that they consider the content of pages that link to a page in determining it's ranking in the serps. Which I guess means bad content on backlink pages = lower in serps. Good content on backlink pages = higher in serps.

But then this stems back to Google's premise that the whole point of pagerank is that if a lot of pages all link to a particular page, that page must have some pretty quality information on it. So in Google's eyes, a page with "good content" might be equivalent to a page with a high PR (since a lot of pages are linking to it because it does have quality linkable content). So they might just be saying that a high PR backlink is worth more than a low or 0-PR backlink.

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But then this stems back to Google's premise that the whole point of pagerank is that if a lot of pages all link to a particular page, that page must have some pretty quality information on it. So in Google's eyes, a page with "good content" might be equivalent to a page with a high PR (since a lot of pages are linking to it because it does have quality linkable content). So they might just be saying that a high PR backlink is worth more than a low or 0-PR backlink.

That's pretty much how it works. PR, relevancy, and "trust/authority" determine how valuable a link is. A link on a Wikipedia page that is on-topic is worth a lot. A link on a link farm is worth nothing. And of course there is everything in between. There is no reason to have a link hurt a site. Simply making them worthless has the desired effect.

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canadafred and stymiee, I don't think that your two theories are that far off, actually. canadafred is saying that a high-quality backlink has a positive effect and a low-quality backlink has a negative effect. stymiee is saying that a high-quality backlink has a positive effect and a low-quality backlink has no effect at all. Whichever theory you believe, just having low-quality backlinks or having a majority of low-quality backlinks will result in being virtually invisible in the serps.

After all, if your internal pagerank is nil, lowering it will still be nil, and keeping it the same will still be nil.

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We definitely both agree on two important points:

1) As you mentioned, high quality links are good

2) High quality content is what people need to focus on as that gets high quality links

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... You're not using common sense and that is all you need to grasp the concept. If this was true what would stop people from using this to sabotage their competition? I expect an answer ...

... not much

... Congratulations. You just figured out that Google uses incoming links and other off site factors to rank web pages ...

... both positively and negatively. That's the point of this whole discussion. Google uses incoming links as a factor in ranking web pages. Depending on the keyphrase competition, this could be an important factor.

Great links = could have a positive effect on rankings
Shitty Links = could have a negative effect on rankings

Now let me say this then. In general keyphrase competitions, nothing, and I mean nothing affects a web page in rankings more than the web page itself. There are exceptions but these are glitches and not the norm.

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... both positively and negatively. That's the point of this whole discussion. Google uses incoming links as a factor in ranking web pages. Depending on the keyphrase competition, this could be an important factor.

Great links = could have a positive effect on rankings
Shitty Links = could have a negative effect on rankings

Now let me say this then. In general keyphrase competitions, nothing, and I mean nothing affects a web page in rankings more than the web page itself. There are exceptions but these are glitches and not the norm.

Bad links will never have a negative affect on rankings and I have shown why. Unfortunately you haven't shown why they would hurt rankings.

And, with Google, links are far more powerful then page content. That's why Googlebombs succeed. It's very clear evidence of the power of incoming links in Google's algorithm.

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... Bad links will never have a negative affect on rankings and I have shown why. Unfortunately you haven't shown why they would hurt rankings ...

Alright John, I'll bite. Here is a real world example of mine.

** Warning **

Moose Hunting Pictures ( sorry folks I work in the Canadian tourism industry ).

This web page is graphic in nature. It shows pictures of harvested moose during the fall hunt so all you animal lovers out there try and control yourselves as I show this example.

Take a look at the Google Backlinks for : www polarbearoutfitters com/fishing-hunting/moose-hunting-pictures htm

There are two Backlinks that Google acknowledges are significant. One is mine the other is spam. Therefore, half of the recognized important linking pages to my page are spam, and not just regular spam. No. No. No. No. No. This is spam of the worse sort. This spam link comes complete with hidden and covered up text, hidden and covered up images, one single solitary URL amongst this cloud of crap which points to my web page and it is using irrelevant anchor text to do so, hidden dirty words, etc. etc.

Although my web page is a simple page, it used to bring in its own search engine traffic to the web site. Now it brings none. It brings none now John. Four months ago it was #4 at google com for moose hunting pictures, now all of a sudden this link appears and it is dropped to #19.

I've sent email requesting removal of the link of course. No movement yet.

Tell me man, am I really missing something here or has this link caused my web page some problems.

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This is a poor example.

1) Google rankings fluctuate all of the time. Every day in fact. If you look throughout this forum, or any forum, you'll see threads started virtually every day about how someone's site has dropped. You'll also see reports of they they recovered. You'll see reports of everything. Google's algorithm is constantly in flux and thus so are their results.

2) Google doesn't report all backlinks when you do a backlink search. They also only update their link: search results every three months or so. This means the information you see is stale. This means you can't correlate what you see in their link: searches with anything you see in the SERPs because not only do you not have all of the information but that information is stale. Even better, they update their rankings daily which means as soon as they find a link it would affect your rankings. So that link couldn't suddenly appear and hurt your rankings. It would have happened the moment they found it although you wouldn't have seen that link for weeks or months doing a link: search.

3) Did you take into account other factors in how sites are ranked? How do you know the sites ahead of yours didn't acquire quality links or do other things to improve their position? Maybe you had a quality link to your site removed and never knew about it? There are lots of reasons why a site moves around in the SERPs. And this search term is so uncompetitive that a site can move up in the SERPs quickly with one good link. Losing a good link can have an equal affect.

4) This wasn't a controlled experiment. Not even close actually. You literally made a declaration that link hurt your rankings based on a simple incorrect observation.

5) This still doesn't address why links would hurt a site. There is no logic to it and I haven't seen any logic given. Again, if this was true everyone could take out their competitors with poor links.

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1) [more indicators for ya]None of the other web pages on the website were negatively affected recently[/more indicators for ya]

2) "Google doesn't report all backlinks ..." [sarcasm]no kidding eh, where have I been?[/sarcasm]

3) I watch the keyphrase competitors closely and they aren't doing anything particularly different than normal. That's SEO 101, watching the keyphrase challengers that is.

4) [polite response]Your opinion is noted.[/polite response]

5) [Cutts]... Reciprocal links by themselves aren’t automatically bad, but we’ve communicated before that there is such a thing as excessive reciprocal linking ...

and

... Now I didn’t click through to check out that site; it could be the best SEO site in the world. But the entry doesn’t give great experience for users; heck, it’s not even a complete sentence. And it didn’t look really relevant for users for a diamond ring site to exchange links like this in potentially up to 329 different categories. As Google changes algorithms over time, excessive reciprocal links will probably carry less weight. That could also account for a site having more pages in supplemental results if excessive reciprocal links (or other link-building techniques) begin to be counted less. As I said in January: “The approach I’d recommend in that case is to use solid white-hat SEO to get high-quality links (e.g. editorially given by other sites on the basis of merit).” ...[/Cutts]

counted less ... think about that John. Is not being less awarded the same as being penalized. If you can't have the reward, that sucks doesn't it?

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1) [more indicators for ya]None of the other web pages on the website were negatively affected recently[/more indicators for ya]

That's because each page is judged on its own merits and factors. What affects one does not gave to affect another. Especially for different terms.

3) I watch the keyphrase competitors closely and they aren't doing anything particularly different than normal. That's SEO 101, watching the keyphrase challengers that is.

You can't watch competitors that closely because you don't have access to all of their information. Since you can't see all of their backlinks you can't tell if they got any or how good they are. So you can watch their rankings but you can't watch their links. And since links are so impritant....

Plus factors go deeper then what they are doing directly. Links to your site may have been devalued while links to the other sites may have gained in value. Those changes trickle down and benefit them and hurt you. That's SEO 201. Kinda advanced.

5) [Cutts]... Reciprocal links by themselves aren’t automatically bad, but we’ve communicated before that there is such a thing as excessive reciprocal linking ...

and

... Now I didn’t click through to check out that site; it could be the best SEO site in the world. But the entry doesn’t give great experience for users; heck, it’s not even a complete sentence. And it didn’t look really relevant for users for a diamond ring site to exchange links like this in potentially up to 329 different categories. As Google changes algorithms over time, excessive reciprocal links will probably carry less weight. That could also account for a site having more pages in supplemental results if excessive reciprocal links (or other link-building techniques) begin to be counted less. As I said in January: “The approach I’d recommend in that case is to use solid white-hat SEO to get high-quality links (e.g. editorially given by other sites on the basis of merit).” ...[/Cutts]

counted less ... think about that John. Is not being less awarded the same as being penalized. If you can't have the reward, that sucks doesn't it?

You completely misinterpreted his post. Let me explain it for you:

1) Reciprocal links are not one way bad links. So this is irrelevant to what we are talking about.

2) Reciprocal links require the webmaster actively participating in the scheme. Like I have have said already, you won't be penalized for something you can't control. Webmasters have full control over reciprocal links and thus they can be penalized for them.

3) That Matt Cutts post talked about poor content on the website that was having problems. Once again, that is in full control of the webmaster. They made a crappy site intend to manipulate the SERPs and they paid the price for it.

Once again, my argument is sound and you haven't provided a counter theory.

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