When building links to a site for SEO purposes, it’s easy to simply look at the number of backlinks, content relevance, Linkscape rating, search term rankings and other valuable criteria for measuring the importance and value of a site before acquiring a link on that site to your own.
In terms of checking bad SEO neighborhoods which would link to your site, it’s always good to monitor the inbound links to your potential linking partner’s site, and see what kind of sites those links are coming from and whether or not they belong to obvious link swapping or reciprocal linking schemes. But do you check to see if a site has been flagged for distributing malware?
Google routinely tells webmasters that links pointing to your site may not devalue the ranking of your own site, mostly because a webmaster cannot police the sites which link to them. On the otherhand, a good amount of SEO’s who practice negative SEO on websites of competitors or sites which complain about a product will tell you that building bad links to a site they wish to target will lead to lowered Google rankings.
So, in an effort to not only protect your site from linking out to bad neighborhoods, but also to protect bad neighborhoods from linking to you, I suggest that before you link out or build an incoming links, make sure that site has not been flagged by Google for distributing malware. How can you do this? I highly suggest taking the time to view this video from StewArtMedia.biz on how to check if a site is distributing malware (compliments of IMBroadcast.com and also covered by Dave Harry)
Key take away : Use Google’s Safe Browsing Diagnostic Checker which alerts you if a site is suspicious of distributing malware. For an example, let’s look at the results from News.com.au :
- What is the current listing status for news.com.au?
- This site is not currently listed as suspicious.
Part of this site was listed for suspicious activity 2 time(s) over the past 90 days.
What happened when Google visited this site?
- Of the 1708 pages we tested on the site over the past 90 days, 31 page(s) resulted in malicious software being downloaded and installed without user consent. The last time Google visited this site was on 2008-11-10, and the last time suspicious content was found on this site was on 2008-11-02.
Malicious software includes 336 scripting exploit(s), 4 exploit(s). Successful infection resulted in an average of 3 new processes on the target machine.
Malicious software is hosted on 10 domain(s), including p060523.info, douhunqn.cn, imrworldwide.com.
4 domain(s) appear to be functioning as intermediaries for distributing malware to visitors of this site, including douhunqn.cn, letusearch.com, kkexe.com.
So, before linking to a site, or building a link to your site from another, I highly suggest checking out the malware distribution history of a site, especially in the eyes of Google, if Google feels that the site is malicious, chances are linking to these bad sites, or building links from them, can hurt your rankings which in the long run, can damage your business.