Live.com is banning sites that take part in spammy and irrelevant link exchanges which are designed to corrupt and mislead search engines into ranking such sites highly.
Barry Schwartz looks at a thread from Search Engine Watch which published an email from Live.com to a publisher:
Your site is acquiring links through posting to or exchanging links with sites unrelated to your site content. Techniques which attempt to acquire unrelated spam links in order to increase ranking are considered spam and your site has been excluded from our index as results. Please contact us once you’ve removed these links and we will reevaluate.
Barry adds on his blog;
“So, Microsoft is making an effort on spam. But I believe, not 100% sure, the way Google handles unrelated links to your site, is by not banning your site, but not counting those links. Unless, of course, it is a clear and transparent attempt for you to hurt the search results.”
I don’t know Barry, Microsoft is sending a powerful message to these spammers via the ban, because if sites continue to use these link farms and spammy techniques, they are going to hurt search as a whole being that another engine is going to be effected.
Furthermore, given Google’s stance towards link farming, it can also be assumed that if a business has participated in such questionable tactics, the motivation was either miseducation OR to spam Microsoft.
Perhaps a linking and SEO educational program from Live.com to publishers is in order, and once a site passes the program (think in the same fashion as a driver’s safety course), they are then allowed for reinclusion. Thoughts?