Quality backlinks should always be your goal when planning your SEO strategy. We all know there are good links and bad links, but what should you do if you find a link to your site from a site that is considered to be a “bad neighbor”?
We talk a great deal about how to get high quality inbound links, but we rarely discuss what to do if you get links from sites that are considered to in bad neighborhoods. Managing your site reputation is also a factor to consider in a good SEO strategy.
As far as SEO is concerned, what are bad neighborhoods?
A site with illegal content, no original content or sites that practice banned behaviors have been labeled by Google as bad neighborhoods. These sites are typically spammer domains or sites that use techniques to attempt to manipulate search engine rankings.
Will it damage your reputation if these types of sites link to you? Technically, no. Google recognizes that you do not control who is linking to you, but you must be very, very careful not to link back to them. For this reason, you want to really monitor your trackbacks and blog comments to be sure that you do not approve a site in a bad neighborhood. Any links you have on your site are considered your own responsibility so you must be very choosy about the ones that you approve.
If you find that you have an extremely large number of inbound links that are low quality, you must double your efforts to get high quality links to balance them out. You can try to contact some of the sites and request that they remove your links from their sites, but in all honesty, you are better off spending that time increasing the right kind of links to your site.
Concentrate on getting some very powerful links such as links from .edu or .gov sites and sites that have a page rank above a PR 5. Google expects you to have some lower quality links as it would not be natural to have all PR9 links. Making steady efforts to get the best sites to link to you will negate any ill effects you may have gotten from bad neighbors linking to you.
Monitoring your progress and the source of links to your site is a good habit to get into. There are a good many tools available online that will help you do this. Link checker sites and Yahoo Site Explore will provide you with a good deal of information on where your links are coming from. If you find some that really bother you, you can then take action to contact the webmaster and request they remove the offending link.
For the most part though, you need not concern yourself overly much about things that are out of your control. Just keep your eye on the ball when it comes to the things you do control and never stop building the highest quality backlinks yourself.
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