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Chapter 4: Vetting External Links > Avoiding Poor-Quality Links

Avoiding Poor-Quality Links

Inbound linking is generally a good thing — it tells the search engines that you have a vote of confidence in your “expertness” level — but some inbound links out there only hurt you in the long run. There are several kinds you should be on the lookout for: from non-harmful reciprocal links to the riskier incestuous links, web rings, link farms, and bad neighborhoods.

remember.eps Google can detect when you have bad links. They can take away the link’s PageRank (part of their link algorithm that measures the value of the link to you) as well as the link and domain equity/authority and won’t pass on any link value to your page. Google won’t count the bad incoming link, and if they suspect you’re doing something sneaky and devious with it, they even penalize you for it. The penalty could be as simple as removing all of the link equity of your site, or they could punish you by reducing your rankings on the results page. They may even remove your page or your entire site from their index. Ouch! We’ve stated this before, but dishonesty (like crime) never pays.


  

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